(By Kathyrn Norwood For The Washington Post )
Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The hot chocolate at Murky Coffee is decadent and addictive. Its mystery makes it even more intriguing. The $5 price tag and lack of description of the drink's size or even the type of chocolate used prompt most first-time customers to ask for details.

Owner Nicholas Cho calls it a social experiment. At his behest, baristas do not answer questions about the drink. By refusing to justify the drink's price with an explanation of its pedigree, he says, the dynamic "changes from 'Is it good enough for you?' to 'Are you good enough for it?' "

Ultimately, Cho hopes people will discover the beverage's thick richness, which brings to mind European drinking chocolate rather than American hot cocoa. "If you were forced to jump once, it sticks with you, and you're part of the club," he says. The 12-ounce portion is more than enough for two.

Murky Coffee, 3211 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, 703-312-7001, and 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, 202-546-5228.

-- Erin Hartigan

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