I mean, everyone loves chocolate, almost everyone. And then some can’t tolerate or are allergic to the bioactive compounds found in cacao. While I can tell you all the great stuff that cacao has to offer, and then all the contraindications why you should not consume cacao and its derivatives, let’s talk about cocoa tea.
What is cocoa tea (chocolate tea, cacao tea, or caco tea (in Dominican dialect))?
Roasted cacao bean shells are either rolled into sticks or balls, they are also available pre-flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg. All over the Caribbean the recipes of this creamy, chocolatey goodness can slightly vary from island to island. The grated cacao stick is usually melted in boiling water and then boiled with cinnamon bark, grated nutmeg, dried orange peel + bay leaf. Whole milk or condensed milk is added and simmered down into this silky blend that tastes like heaven, served hot with sugar. Some add thickeners and star anise, some use honey and omit milk altogether. And some use roasted and crushed cacao nibs instead of rolled sticks or balls.
Benefits of drinking Caribbean cocoa tea:
Muscle and nerve function
Iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, E
I’ve drank tons of this stuff and first learned about it from my Caribbean in-laws. I traveled the globe while working on cruise ships, and then I basically lived in the Caribbean community for the past twenty years, explored their colorful and beautiful culture, and appreciated the delicious soul foods that you cannot get enough of.
Cocoa tea is also medicine but not as strong as the ceremonial grade cacao.
*Ceremonial cacao is "labeled" ceremonial if it comes from ancestral lands and wild heritage trees. Usually made by hand, with minimal to no mechanical processing involved. No chemical treatment to the land, to the trees, nor after harvest. *(source Google)
The paste is made from fermented and roasted cacao beans, then stone ground. The potency and the taste of the cacao varies depending on the variety and soil it comes from. Not all cacao tastes the same.
Something I’ve learned at the Mayan Wisdom Project Community is that the cacao should never be boiled, and 100 C° boiling water should never be poured into your grated cacao. It “kills” the medicine and nutrients in the cacao, so using 70 C° temperature of your water is best. No kind of milk is added to the ceremonial cacao. If using honey, it should never be added to boiling hot liquid, as bioactive compounds in honey can become toxic because of heat.
Ceremonial cacao is plant medicine and as powerful as ayahuasca, yet it is gentler to the system and it is non-hallucinogenic. It is a potent medicine and should never be mixed with other medicines, nor medications if you are taking any.
It is not a breakfast drink and should be consumed first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, then 30 min to 1 hour later you can have your breakfast.
Before drinking the cacao, we give it first to the land for the provision, this is part of the ceremony. Honoring the land, the spirit of the cacao, and the ancestors. Treating the cacao with love and reverence as it is sacred.
Benefits of drinking Ceremonial cacao:
Bioactive compounds and essential minerals for your immune system, cognitive function, mental health, mood, cardiovascular health, inflammation, oxidative stress, fatigue, bone health, hormones, and whole nutrition.
It is a heart opener, the cacao works in such a way, that it will bring anything that needs healing to the surface. The more emotional you may feel while consuming your cacao, the more of it you'll need to purge your system and heal.
*Do not consume cacao, especially ceremonial grade if you are under chemotherapy treatment, have caffeine sensitivity or allergy, IBS, bleeding disorder, epilepsy, heart conditions, taking blood thinning medication, blood pressure medication, or antipsychotic drugs. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their GP first.*
Last but not least:
Respect the ceremonial cacao dose per person, start off with less and increase it with time. 17g per 100 ml of water approx. to start with, the highest dose recommended should not exceed 30-40 g per 100-150 ml of water.
I’ve noticed many cacao ceremonies sold online and in-person gatherings. I see that the recipes + preparation processes are nearly identical to the cocoa tea. Just because the ceremonial grade powder or paste is being used doesn’t make it into a sacred cacao ceremony.
Kindly do your research before purchasing your cacao, or subscribing to a promising cacao ceremony.
I suggest you support indigenous communities, and learn from them instead. It will be worth every penny you spend!
Food for thought:
Did you ever think about how your chocolate ended up at the grocery store, and eventually on your table? From beans, tobacco, and white sage to cacao, these are highly revered ancestral medicines of indigenous nations.
Practice giving back and purchasing from indigenous communities instead of your local grocery store.
Thank you for reading me.
With all my love,