Warming Cocoa Tea Drink Recipe

Popular all over the Caribbean, cocoa tea is a hot drink made by brewing 100% cocoa and spices like cinnamon, bay leaf and nutmeg with milk.

The tea has closer flavors to hot chocolate, but because 100% cocoa is used, more of the cocoa butter and its helpful benefits are retained in the drink. Try warming ginger tea too.

authentic caribbean cocoa tea in tea cup on saucer with a silver teaspoon and cocoa ball on the site

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Ingredients for this cocoa tea drink

For this recipe, I used:

  • raw cocoa: Here in the Caribbean, cocoa beans are fermented, cleaned, roasted and deshelled before being ground with spices and shaped into balls or sticks. Here, I’m using a cocoa ball that I purchased in the farmer’s market but you can find them on Amazon too. You can also use organic cocoa nibs as a substitute for making the tea or try grinding the raw cocoa beans at home to make the balls.
  • cinnamon: this spice add wonderful flavor to the tea. Feel free to add your favorite spices here like cardamom, clove, and more.
  • bay leaf
  • star anise
  • nutmeg
  • milk: I used regular dairy milk here but any plant based milk like almond, cashew and coconut milk can be used.
  • water
  • sweetener: I prefer adding some Demerara brown sugar to my cocoa tea but try any of your preferred sweetener here. Although the drink is pleasant without added sweetness, it tastes so much better with it – like hot chocolate.
cocoa tea drink ingredients

How to make Caribbean cocoa tea

Step 1: Grate the cocoa ball to form fine, cocoa shavings. With the shavings, the chocolate flavor and the oils are released when making the tea. If you are using coarse cocoa nibs or cocoa beans here, you can add them to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to get them fine.

grate cocoa ball

Step 2: Place a saucepan on medium heat and pour in the water.

Step 3: Add the cinnamon, bay leaf, star anise and nutmeg. If you want more spice flavor, try adding an entire cinnamon stick or more bay leaves and star anise. Make this recipe your own with the spices you enjoy.

add spices to cocoa tea

Step 4: Allow the spices to brew for 5 minutes.

Step 5: Add the grated cocoa to the pot. Leave to boil for 10 minutes.

add grated cocoa to pot

Step 6: Pour in the milk. Stir.

add milk to cocoa tea

Step 7: Turn off the heat.

Step 8: Strain the tea, sweeten with your choice of sweetener and serve warm.

cocoa tea with cocoa ball and sugar

Benefits of brewed cocoa

Cocoa beans contain important compounds like flavanols, procyanidins, flavanoids and theobromine. These may have positive benefits on blood pressure, inflammation, the cardiovascular system and on reducing platelets (Source: 2022 study).

Cocoa tea recipe

Cocoa tea drink

For an authentic Caribbean cocoa tea that tastes like a wonderful, spiced hot chocolate, try this brew with 100% cocoa, spices like cinnamon, bay leaf and nutmeg, and milk.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Caribbean
Keyword: cocoa tea
Servings: 2
Calories: 248kcal
Author: Ros Singh


  • 50 grams raw cocoa (approx. 1/2 cup grated cocoa ball or cocoa nibs)
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick (2 grams)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp sugar (or sweetener of choice)


  • grater


  • Grate the cocoa ball (or grind the cocoa nibs).
  • Place a small saucepan on medium heat.
  • Add water, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, star anise and nutmeg.
  • Brew for 5 minutes.
  • Add grated cocoa.
  • Allow to boil for 10 minutes.
  • Pour in milk.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Strain.
  • Add sweetener of choice. Taste test and add more if desired.
  • Serve warm.

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