Caribbean Cocoa Tea Recipe
For day 13 of the Tropical Christmas Advent Calendar I’m sharing a Caribbean cocoa tea recipe! Although its traditionally made on the tropical Caribbean islands, it’s also the perfect warming hot drink for cold winter days and nights. The delicious spices infused in the drink also make it a perfect Christmas drink too!
Cocoa tea is made on various Caribbean islands and is a traditional breakfast treat on the island on St Lucia. It is made from the locally grown cocoa, and infused with delicious local spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and bay leaves. Cocoa tea is not the same as hot chocolate. To make cocoa tea, you start with a cocoa stick or ball which is made from freshly picked beans from the cocoa tree. The beans are then roasted, shelled, crushed and shaped into sticks (or balls) and left to dry. So the cocoa used to make cocoa tea is 100% pure cocoa.
The history of the Caribbean islands is closely linked with the beans of the cocoa tree. The islands have the ideal climate to grow some of the best quality cocoa, which is one of the reasons why the islands were colonised and used by European powers during the 17th and 18th century to build a plantation economy, mainly based on sugar, but also rum, cotton, coffee and cocoa. You can read more about the history of Chocolate in the Caribbean in this blog post.
WHERE TO BUY COCOA STICKS?
If you live outside of the Caribbean, you may be wondering where you can buy cocoa sticks to make your own coca tea. Over here in the UK, it’s not stocked in mainstream supermarkets, but you may be able to find them in West Indian or afro-Caribbean supermarkets. I’ve also come across this online store that sells St Lucian cocoa sticks. Another way to get your hands on some cocoa (which is a lot less practical for most!) is to get some straight from the islands, if you go on holiday to the Caribbean, you can buy it from local markets and they often sell it in the airport in duty free along with spices and rum.
COCOA TEA RECIPE
Here is a simple cocoa tea recipe without any measurements. This can be used as a guide to make your cocoa tea as it depends on how many cups you want to make, and your taste for sugar and spices. Every person makes their cocoa tea slightly differently - it all depends on personal preference. You might like to add more spices to your tea, or you may want your cocoa tea really sweet so add extra sugar. You have the opportunity to make your own perfect cocoa tea recipe!
Over the past few years, creating my graduate collection and starting this business, I have had to opportunity to learn so much more about my Caribbean heritage and Caribbean food. The images in this post are from one of my first times making cocoa tea myself after looking up recipes, and talking to my grandparents about it, so I am by no means an expert! If you’re looking for a more detailed recipe, or even a video to follow along with, you can try this recipe from Terri-Ann’s Kitchen, this quick video from Travel Saint Lucia or this recipe from Tropical Isle Living.
Below are some simple steps on how to make cocoa tea:
Cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon
Vanilla pod or vanilla extract
Milk or non-dairy milk or condensed milk
Sugar or honey
Step 1 - Pour an adequate amount of water into a pot or saucepan. You can use the cups you are planning on serving the cocoa tea in to measure how much water you need. Put the water to boil.
Step 2 - Add your preferred spices to the water including a bay leaf, cinnamon stick/ground cinnamon or star anise. Allow them to boil in the water to infuse.
Step 3 - Whilst the water is boiling, grate your cocoa stick and nutmeg and add the desired amount to the water.
Step 4 - Add in a vanilla pod or vanilla extract and stir everything together. Allow to boil for a further 5 minutes, or longer if you want the spices to infuse further.
Step 5 - Add in your preferred milk. I used almond milk, but if you want a sweeter tea you could use condensed milk. Then sweeten to taste with sugar or honey - my preference is honey.
Step 6 - Finally strain your tea and serve!
I hope this inspired you to try cocoa tea if you haven’t already, or if you already appreciate a good cup of cocoa tea, I hope it reminded you to make some more soon! If you’re looking for a good accompaniment, why not have your cocoa tea with the Caribbean Sugar Cookies, Rum & Raisin Cookies or Caribbean Rum Cake? If you do get a chance to make some cocoa tea, be sure to snap some pictures and email them to me or share on Instagram - I’d love to see them! That’s it for today, but be sure to be following along on Instagram to find out what will be revealed tomorrow.