Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cocoa Tea (Grenadian Spiced Hot Chocolate)- Mother Nature's Gift

When I first arrived to the island, Grenadian cocoa balls were one of the first items that screamed out to me to take them home.  I read the list of ingredients on the non commercial plastic wrap they were contained in:  Cocoa, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, and Bay Leaf?  That's a first, I thought, having spices infused in hot chocolate.  Me being a firm believer of the health benefits of cocoa and spices, all while having great taste, I quickly snatched these guys away and took them home with me.

Unfortunately, I prepared them the wrong way and didn't get to experience the real deal.  My mistake was dumping a ball straight into a microwaved mug of hot water.  I ended up with a mug full of lukewarm water filled with cocoa gunk, unpleasant cocoa gunk that had no sweetness to it at all.  I decided to cover up the mess with sugar and milk.  This always makes things better right?  This time, unfortunately not hahaha.  I immediately gave the failed drink to my husband Brian... that's what husbands are for right hahaha...poor guy.

The next day, I looked at the remaining 5 balls and moved them straight to the trash can.  I gave the lady who sold them to me a tisk tisk tisk because she hyped these balls up so much, only to fail.  Turned out, I was the one who failed... I didn't prepare them the right way.

During a trip with the SO group to a cocoa factory, I got to experienced these balls in a different light- a magical light.  It was heaven.  Rich in texture and taste, fragrant, complex, and just yummy... everything my chocolate was not.  I sought out to try again, but this time around, using a different technique.

The second time around, I was quite happy with the results. The cocoa came out pretty close to the one I tasted from the factory, not exact, but just as satisfying.  Instead of just dumping in a ball into microwaved water, I dissolved the cocoa balls into a pot of boiling water on the stove top.  Once dissolved, I stirred for 4 minutes longer (medium high heat), waiting for the natural fats to separate from the cocoa and surface.  Next, I added in milk, sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon and cooked for 2 minutes more on high heat, allowing for the spices and sugars to infuse.  This also helps allow for the milk to create a rich texture.  Once Cocoa is done, strain into a mug.

*make a big batch (this recipe x 4) and store it in the refrigerator.  The flavors will further infuse and you'll have chocolate milk on hand when you get random cravings.

*Try jazzing up this cocoa with your favorite flavors (add peanut butter, caramel syrup, vanilla  or banana extract, etc.) Add 1/2tsp instant coffee to one cup of cocoa to make it into a Mocha.

Drinking hot chocolate will never be the same again.  Where have you been all my life cocoa balls?

1 Serving; 5-8 min.
1 Cocoa Ball
1 Cup Water
splash vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp white sugar (or to taste)
1/2- 3/4 cups milk (I used 2% boxed milk)
(for a richer cocoa tea, shave some of your favorite chocolate right in and use evaporated milk, condensed milk, or heavy cream!)

Directions (read last paragraph above picture)

*Click HERE for a cooking dictionary.


  1. We made some last night! I always add marshmallows on top and sometimes Hersey's syrup drizzle. The banana extract is a great idea and I'll have to try that next time!

  2. MmMMMM you make me want to put marshmallows on everything.... ooo and Gushers too! hahha. I'm going to toss some leftover Thanksgiving marshmallows in my next batch!!

  3. Try adding grenadian nutmeg syrup instead of sugar. Delicious if you don't have such a sweet tooth.

    1. Oooooh Great suggestion! I will be sure to try it out. Can't have enough nutmeg flavor going on right?!? hahaha

  4. This looks yummy! I'm going to share it on my blog! also check out my recipe for a Granada Cocoa Milkshake/Smoothie, http://www.emilyclairelifestyle.com/low-calorie-chocolate-milkshake/

  5. Could you use coconut milk in this recipe rather than cow's milk?

  6. Do I have to open the cocoa ball from its shell before using??

  7. Thank you. GROWING up in the islands I had this as a child but forgot how to make it. THanks. Enjoying a cup right now after 25 years away from home.

  8. I get my cocoa balls and all my spices for this recipe here http://shopdcaribbean.com/

    Add some NUTMEG!