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.
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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
- milk: I used regular dairy milk here but any plant based milk like almond, cashew and coconut milk can be used.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Step 6: Pour in the milk. Stir.
Step 7: Turn off the heat.
Step 8: Strain the tea, sweeten with your choice of sweetener and serve warm.
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
- 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)
- 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.
- Add sweetener of choice. Taste test and add more if desired.
- Serve warm.