I was introduced to cacao tea several years back at the World Tea Expo, an annual trade show where tea companies unveil their latest offerings and tea geeks like me get drunk on tea.
At the time, the chocolate company debuting cacao as tea explained that the locals on their South American cacao farm would clean the cacao husks (the outer shell of the cocoa bean) leftover from the chocolate making process and steep them in hot water for an energizing tea-like beverage.
Sipping cacao tea (a tisane, really, since it contains no actual tea leaves) is like drinking the essence of chocolate—bittersweet, without the creaminess and sugariness in a chocolate bar or hot cocoa drink.
Fast forward several years when the most delicious cacao tea I’ve had yet shows up in my mailbox. What strikes me about the tea from Cacao Tea Co. is how fresh, clean, pure, and chocolaty it is compared to others. Some cacao teas I’ve tried have the underlying essence of chocolate, but often behind a dusty, dull flavor that’s entirely too earthy for my taste…like eating the husk of something you just picked off the jungle floor.
Why this recipe works with tea: Cacao Tea Co.’s fresh flavor is perfect for steeping in your favorite milky beverage and using as a base to infuse bittersweet chocolaty flavor into easy overnight oats. I love coconut and chocolate, so coconut milk is my beverage of choice, with added coconut flakes for texture. It’s equally delicious if you use almond milk and slivered almonds for a slightly different flavor profile.
In addition to unique flavor, you’re also infusing a whole lot of health benefits from cacao tea into your overnight oats. According to Cacao Tea Co., cacao contains a greater concentration of flavonoids (what keeps our cardiovascular system healthy, among other things) than even tea or wine. Cacao husks are caffeine free but contain a naturally occurring stimulant called theobromine, which releases a more gentle stimulating effect than caffeine over a longer period of time.
While modern-day cacao tea may seem like the next “new thing” in tea, it’s actually been around for thousands of years. According to Cacao Tea Co., ancient Mayans and Aztecs were known to drink cacao tea and even use it as treatment for more than 150 medical conditions. As “recently” as hundreds of years ago, U.S. First Lady Martha Washington preferred sipping on tea made from cacao husks.
While I do like sipping modern-day cacao tea, I like cooking with it even more. For another cacao-infused recipe, check out my Raspberry-Cacao Frozen Yogurt. For more tea-infused breakfast ideas, try my Chai Spiced Trail Mix Granola, Chai Latte Oatmeal Mix, or Java Tea Baked Oatmeal.
Happy cooking & sipping!
P.S. Thanks to Cacao Tea Co. for sending me a sample of their delectable cacao tea to play around with in my Tea Foodie kitchen. Cacao Tea Co. not only makes tea from the highest quality cacao husks, they also operate as a social enterprise donating 15% of their profit to help provide healthy meals to malnourished families in impoverished communities in developing countries.
Cacao Coconut Overnight Oats
By Suzanne Klein, Tea Foodie
Makes 2 servings
1 (13.5 oz.) can coconut milk (or 1 1/2 cups almond milk)
2 tablespoons loose leaf cacao tea (I used tea from Cacao Tea Co.)
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
2/3 cup regular rolled oats (or hot cereal mix like Trader Joe’s Multigrain Hot Cereal Mix with rye, oats, barley, and wheat)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons coconut flakes (or slivered almonds)
2 tablespoons dried cherries (or dried cranberries or raisins)
Note: Be sure and prep this the night before you plan to eat the overnight oats.
1. In a small saucepan, stir loose leaf cacao tea into coconut milk. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. As soon as the mixture boils, remove from heat, cover, and steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Use a fine mesh sieve to strain tea into a glass measuring cup. Stir in maple syrup. Discard cacao tea husks.
2. Toss remaining ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. Add brewed cacao milk-tea and stir until everything is coated. Divide mixture into two small serving bowls, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
3. Serve cold the next morning, sprinkled with coconut flakes, dried cherries, and/or shaved chocolate. If the mixture is too thick for your liking (which can happen if using a very rich, full-fat coconut milk) thin by stirring in a bit more milk of choice.