Cocoa tea is a delightful departure from traditional hot chocolate. My host mom on St. Lucia introduced me to this Caribbean staple, but it is also very popular on Dominica. Cacao trees are quite common on these islands, and I've mentioned this in previous blog stories. These trees produce large pods, which turn yellow when ripe, as shown below.
Don't expect cocoa tea to taste like hot chocolate or like tea—it has its own unique flavor. In some ways, it is similar to coffee, except with roasted cocoa beans instead of roasted coffee beans (it also has the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee). Some tout it as a health food (especially if it is not overly sweetened), because it has lots of anti-oxidants. I enjoy it! Just like the sprats at the top of this story, it is another wonderful food experience that I never would have had if I had not joined the Peace Corps!
P.S. A friend from America, who visited me and took some cocoa tea sticks back home with her, made a funny request to me. If she unexpectedly dies, and her brothers come to clear out her home, I'm supposed to inform them that the plastic bag in the refrigerator containing what might appear to be dog turds is really cocoa tea sticks!