Kid-friendly Creamy Trinidadian Cocoa Tea Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Creamy Trinidadian Cocoa Tea

Recipe: Creamy Trinidadian Cocoa Tea

Creamy Trinidadian Cocoa Tea

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by DigiContent/Shutterstock.com
prep time
5 minutes
cook time
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Creamy Trinidadian Cocoa Tea

Cocoa Tea, while delicious, is about much more than just taste. It's about culture, community, and connection, and it’s a celebration of locally sourced cocoa!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • steep :

    to soak a food, like tea, in water or other liquid so as to bring out its flavor.

Equipment Checklist

  • Pitcher
  • Measuring spoons
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Whisk
scale
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Ingredients

Creamy Trinidadian Cocoa Tea

  • 3 T dark cocoa powder **(for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY sub carob powder)**
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 2 C ice

Food Allergen Substitutions

Creamy Trinidadian Cocoa Tea

  • Chocolate: Substitute carob powder for cocoa powder.
  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free milk.

Instructions

Creamy Trinidadian Cocoa Tea

1.
intro

This "tea" is actually quite unique! In this recipe, you treat cocoa powder like you would tea leaves in typical tea. The mixture will steep and then be whisked together to remove all the lumps. It makes for a tasty, ice-cold refreshment.

2.
measure + whisk

Measure and combine 3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 pinch of salt, and 1 pinch of cinnamon in a large pitcher. Slowly whisk in 1 1/2 cups water and 1 1/2 cups milk. Allow the ingredients to sit together for a few minutes. Then whisk this recipe as much as possible; otherwise, your "tea" will be lumpy.

3.
ice + pour

Divide 2 cups of ice between all of your cups. Then, pour the Trinidadian Tea over the ice. Make sure to say "Cheers!" before sipping your chocolate tea.

Surprise Ingredient: Chocolate + Cocoa!

back to recipe
Photo by New Africa/Shutterstock.com

Hi! I'm Chocolate!

"Hello! Let me introduce myself! I can be dark brown, light brown, or even white. I'm sometimes bitter, sometimes a little sweet, and often very sweet. I add flavor and excitement to many other foods! Have you guessed yet? I'm Chocolate! You may be familiar with me from candy bars or chocolate sundaes, but I can liven up many other foods, too, including chili, butter, and milk!"

History

  • The cacao (kahKOW) tree is native to equatorial South America and the rainforests of Mesoamerica. It was first used 5,300 years ago by indigenous people in South America. Mesoamericans who lived in the rainforests of Mexico and Central America domesticated the tree about 1,500 years later. They drank chocolate as a bitter beverage—far from the sweet treat most of us are familiar with today. 
  • The Mayan people of Central and South America used cocoa as currency and as medicine: it was very valuable, just like vanilla! In fact, it was so precious that they made counterfeit cocoa beans out of clay and avocado seeds!
  • The Aztec people are a nomadic tribe in Northern Mexico. When the Aztec empire began to expand, they demanded that the Mayan people pay tribute to them through gifts of cacao. 
  • The Aztec people ruled until Spaniards arrived and conquered the land and its people. The Spanish explorers took cacao beans back to Europe, where they experimented by adding cinnamon and sugar to sweeten it. For a long time, only aristocratic people enjoyed chocolate.
  • Princess Maria Theresa married Louis the 16th from France and gave him chocolate as a wedding present! Demand for chocolate soon grew very fast, and as a result, people were enslaved on plantations to grow cacao to meet the high demand.
  • In 1847, Joseph Fry invented the first chocolate bar. By 1907, Hershey was manufacturing millions of chocolate kisses each day.  
  • Cacao trees grow best in the rainforest underneath the branches of taller trees. However, they won't bear fruit until they are at least three to five years old. 
  • Most early Spanish sources refer to chocolate as "cacahuatl" (cah-cah-Hwat), which translates to "cacao water."
  • The word chocolate comes from a combination of a Mayan word for hot, "chocol," and an Aztec word for water, "atl."

How Chocolate is Made

  • All chocolate comes from the beans of the cacao tree. Cacao trees produce pods containing pulp-covered seeds. Before cacao is processed, it would be hard for most of us to recognize it as chocolate! This is because the pulp-covered seeds taste bitter and raw and look nothing like the chocolate products we see in stores.
  • The seeds go through a process called fermentation, and then they are dried and made into nibs before being turned into chocolate. 
  • A cacao pod contains about 30 to 50 almond-sized seeds—enough to make about seven milk chocolate candy bars! 
  • After roasting and grinding cocoa beans, chocolate liquor is left, which is about equal parts cocoa solids and cocoa butter. After the cocoa butter is mostly extracted, the result is dry cocoa solids. Cocoa powder is the powdered form. Natural cocoa is a light brown color and tastes bitter. 

  • Dutch chemist Coenraad van Houten created the "Dutch process" method in the early 19th century to reduce the acidity in natural cocoa powder by treating the beans with alkaline salts. As a result, Dutch process cocoa is less bitter and has a dark brown color.

How to Enjoy Cocoa & Chocolate

  • You can add unsweetened cocoa to milk with sugar, honey, or stevia for a delicious and warming beverage. You can also add it to smoothies for a delicious chocolaty taste and an extra hit of magnesium and polyphenols. 
  • Chocolate comes in many forms: bars, kisses, chips, powder, shavings, puddings, syrups, and sauces.
  • Unconventional chocolate flavor pairings: cardamom, lavender, wasabi, chili, chipotle, sea salt, lime, matcha, curry, ginger, mint, figs, fennel, sesame, parmesan, and Earl Grey tea. Seriously, what doesn't go well with chocolate?! Can you think of any other fun and delicious pairings?

Nutrition

  • Dark chocolate helps protect your heart, blood, and brain! To get the full health benefits of chocolate, choose at least 85% cocoa content or higher. The higher percentage makes the chocolate more bitter, but those bitter compounds, called polyphenols, are antioxidants that provide several health benefits. Many people prefer very dark chocolate!
  • Polyphenols help prevent heart disease by maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, keeping vessels flexible and allowing the blood in our body to flow easier (good circulation), and reducing inflammation. In addition, they help control blood sugar levels, lower cancer risk, and boost immunity. Polyphenols also promote good digestion.  
  • Cocoa is a great source of magnesium. We need magnesium for good health! For strong bones, healthy teeth, and as a building block for proteins within the body.
  • Cocoa can protect our teeth?! Cacao contains antibacterial elements that fight tooth decay. However, this is true with unsweetened cocoa only, as most mass-produced chocolate has a lot of sugar. We know what sugar does to our teeth—it causes decay! 
  • One study has shown that the smell of chocolate may actually relax you by increasing theta waves in the brain!

History of Hot Chocolate!

Photo by vasanty/Shutterstock.com
  • Hot chocolate originated with the chocolate drink made by the Mayans around 500 BCE. They mixed chocolate seeds, ground into a paste, with water, cornmeal, and chili peppers. They would usually have the bitter beverage cold. Later, the Aztecs in Mesoamerica drank both cold and hot chocolate mixed with vanilla.
  • Cortés brought chocolate and the method for making hot chocolate back to Spain from Mexico when he returned in 1528. Initially, only wealthy Spaniards could afford to consume chocolate and drinks made from it. Eventually, chocolate spread across Europe, and sugar was added to make the chocolate less bitter. Then, sometime in the 17th century, milk was added to the mix, and hot chocolate became more like the version we drink today.
  • In the country of Trinidad and Tobago, they drink "cocoa tea," which is not really tea. Spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg, are added with chopped dark chocolate or cocoa powder (or both) and sweetener to hot milk and simmered for a few minutes until the chocolate is melted and everything is dissolved and blended. SFC has a cold version of the recipe called "Creamy Trinidadian Cocoa Tea."

Let's Learn About Trinidad and Tobago!

Photo by Erin Fletter (Erin's cousin and family in Tobago)
  • The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is the furthest south island country in the Caribbean. It is made up of two major islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and many smaller islands. 
  • Trinidad and Tobago is almost 7 miles from the northeastern coast of Venezuela, a country in South America. The Caribbean Sea is north of the islands, and the Atlantic Ocean is east and south.
  • The capital city is Port of Spain, and the largest city is San Fernando. Both cities are on the island of Trinidad, which is 1,841 square miles. Tobago is 120 square miles. The country's total area is 1,981 square miles, slightly larger than the state of Delaware. The population is over 1.4 million. 
  • The official language is English, which became official in 1823 during British colonization. A local dialect is Trinidadian and Tobagonian English, which developed from British English. Before English, French Creole was predominant. Today, the primary spoken language is an English-based Creole, either Trinidadian Creole or Tobagonian Creole.
  • Initially, the country was made up of indigenous inhabitants, the Arawak people and the Kalinago, who are native to South America and the Caribbean. However, due to their decimation by Spanish and other European conquests and diseases, descendants of enslaved Africans and South Asian immigrants have changed the country's demographics, with settlers from India now making up the largest ethnic group. 
  • The islands are considered an extension of the physical geography of South America. They sit on its continental shelf and were connected to the South American continent thousands of years ago.
  • Trinidad is made up of mountains, plains, rainforests, and swamps. The Northern Range is the largest mountain range, running west to east along the island's north coast. El Cerro del Aripo (Mount Aripo) is the highest peak at 3,084 feet. Waterfalls can be found within the mountains, including two that are 298 feet tall, Blue Basin Falls and Maracas Falls. 
  • Tobago is known for its beaches. It is also mountainous, and its highest point is Pigeon Peak, at 1,800 feet. The island is of volcanic origin, but it does not have any volcanoes on it.
  • Trinidad and Tobago has a tropical climate with two seasons, the dry and the rainy. 
  • The islands' flora and fauna are more related to South American countries than other Caribbean islands. The national flower is the "chaconia" because it blossoms around the time of the country's independence from the United Kingdom.
  • The national birds are the "cocrico" and scarlet ibis. There are several bird sanctuaries, including a hummingbird reserve, and the country is known as the "land of the hummingbird."
  • With large reserves of petroleum and natural gas, those industries dominate the economy, followed by tourism and manufacturing.
  • Since many of the people in the country are descendants of Africans and Indians, those cultures have greatly influenced its cuisine, festivals, dance, music, and religion. Calypso, a style of Caribbean music, was born in Trinidad and Tobago. The "limbo" dance also came from there.
  • A Trinidadian writer of Indian descent, V.S. Naipaul, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001.
  • People from Trinidad and Tobago eat a lot of seafood, including crab, lobster, shrimp, flying fish, and tilapia. They also eat beef, chicken, duck, goat, and pork. Much of their seafood and meats are curried or barbecued.  
  • "Doubles" and "roti" are popular street and breakfast foods of Indian origin. "Doubles" consist of curried chickpeas between two "baras" (flat fried rounds of dough) and served with pepper sauce or various chutneys (spreads). "Roti," is a flatbread, served either plain or with "ghee" (clarified butter). Both doubles and roti can also be filled or topped with curried vegetables, seafood, or meats.
  • "Callaloo" is a national dish of African origin that is served with lunch or dinner. It is made with the green leaves of root vegetables, like "dasheen" (taro), and may include coconut milk, curried crab, onions, bell peppers, and spices. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Trinidad and Tobago?

  • Students go to school in Trinidad and Tobago between the ages of 5 and 16. They wear uniforms to class. 
  • Kids may participate in sports like football (soccer), cricket, swimming, track and field, and basketball. 
  • There are several fun activities for kids and their families to enjoy. On the island of Trinidad in Port of Spain, they can visit the Botanical Gardens, see the animals at the Emperor Valley Zoo in Queen's Park Savannah, or picnic in the park. 
  • Kids may want to explore the Gasparee Caves with its Blue Grotto, a clear tidal pool, on the island of Gaspar Grande. 
  • They can float or swim in the Nylon Pool, a clear shallow pool created by a sandbar a few miles from the west coast of the island of Tobago in the Caribbean Sea. However, a boat is needed to get to it. They may also enjoy the beaches on Tobago. 
  • Kids may eat spinach and cheese pies or macaroni pies for breakfast or lunch. For dessert, they may have "cassava pone," a pudding made with grated cassava, coconut, and pumpkin, or "paime" (pay-me), a sweet cornmeal pie rolled in a banana leaf.  
  • Ice cream is also popular, especially coconut and soursop flavors. Soursop is a sweet and sour tropical fruit with a taste described as various combinations of citrus and other tropical fruits, including strawberry, pineapple, mango, coconut, and banana.

Lettuce Joke Around

What do you call people who like to drink hot chocolate all year long? 

Cocoa-Nuts!

That's Berry Funny

What do you call a sheep covered in chocolate? 

A Candy Baa!

Lettuce Joke Around

"Knock, knock!" 

"Who’s there?" 

"Imogen."

"Imogen who?" 

"I can’t imogen life without chocolate!"

The Yolk's On You

What do you call stolen cocoa? 

Hot chocolate!

The Yolk's On You

I named my dog Cinnamon!

He's a lot of bark!

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