Travel may be a little tricky these days, but you can still traverse the globe with these delicious drink recipes to try at home. 

Today's drink hails from St Lucia – Cocoa Tea. 

What is it?

In the fertile gardens of St Lucia, plump cocoa pods can be swiped straight from the trees to make this rich chocolatey breakfast drink spiced with local nutmeg, bay leaves and cinnamon. 

Origins

Cocoa (or cacao) is a contrary bean: it only feels comfortable in a narrow slither of humid, tropical land stretching 10 degrees north and south of the equator, often called the world’s chocolate belt. St Lucia, which sits within this belt, is also blessed with an overflowing natural spice rack of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon; little surprise, then, that chocolate and spice blend so effortlessly in this Caribbean take on hot chocolate. 

You'll need (Serves 2) 

16fl oz (480ml) water 
bay leaf 
¼ tsp cinnamon 
¼ tsp nutmeg 
4oz grated Lucian cocoa stick 
8fl oz (240ml) fresh, evaporated or powdered milk (or cream) 
sugar, to sweeten 
1 tbsp cornstarch 
½ tsp vanilla 

Method

Step 1: Boil the water with the bay leaf, cinnamon and nutmeg; let it bubble for about 15 minutes. 
Step 2: Grate the cocoa stick into the boiling water and boil for another 10 minutes. 
Step 3: Add the milk (fresh, evaporated or powdered) and sweeten to taste. For a more luxurious taste, you could also try cream. 
Step 4: Mix the cornstarch with water and slowly add to the boiling mixture, stirring all the time. 
Step 5: Finally add the vanilla, then strain and serve. 

Tasting notes

Imagine the spicy aromas of a chai and then wrap a warm, velvety chocolate blanket around it. You won’t find cocoa tea on the menu at any standard five-star Caribbean resort: this drink is for comfort slurping and for comparing to how mama used to make it.

It’s for bleary-eyed early mornings and for roadside pit-stops on the way to work. At breakfast stalls, you might catch a glimpse of the cocoa being infused with spices on a rough stove. Add a greasy accra (salt fish fritter, mixed with hot pepper and spring onion) or two and your morning is set up for success.  

For additional cocktail recipes, check out our Destination Drinks page 

This article was originally published in May 2020 and updated in January 2021.

This article was first published May 2020 and updated January 2021