My first trip to Peru was my introduction with chocolate tea. Prior to this trip, I have never seen or heard of such as thing. I learned about chocolate tea on my visit to Cusco.
My introduction to chocolate tea was when I took a chocolate making class at a place called Choco Museo, a popular chain of chocolate shops in Peru. There are several branches of Choco Museo in Peru and there is actually more than one location in Lima alone. But for my first chocolate experience in Peru, I chose to go to their branch in Cusco.
South America is one of the biggest suppliers of chocolate in the world. In fact, almost 90% of the chocolate harvested from Peru are actually exported to countries such as Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, the United States and France. The remainder stays in Peru and are made into various chocolate-based products.
At Choco Museo in Cusco, we were shown what cacao pods looks like. Our instructor, Gil, showed us step by step how chocolate is made from pod to bar. Part of the process was roasting the beans removed of their fussy cottony shell, in a traditional clay pot especially made for this process. Once the beans have some color on them, remove the pot from the heat and allow the beans to cool. Once it’s cool enough to handle, remove the outer shell to reveal the actual cacao bean inside. Reserve the shells and use about a tablespoon of it for a cup or so of chocolate tea. The roasted cacao beans will then be grinded for chocolate production. The cacao shells were seeped like loose tea in hot water for about 2-3 minutes. It was not placed in bags however a substitute would be to use a metal tea mesh ball. The shells are inedible and best to discard them after using it in a single use.
The end result after seeping the cacao shells for a few minutes would be a pale brown, translucent tea. The chocolate fragrance is obvious and strong so as its taste. They served us the chocolate tea in small 2oz. porcelain cups similar to those used in Chinese restaurants for green tea. After a long day of touring, one could not help rest and relax sipping on a cup of chocolate tea. Who knew there is another way to enjoy chocolate in the form of tea.