Is there a love affair between Jamaicans and a cup of Hot Chaklit Tea? I think so. Home-made Jamaican hot chocolate tea is unlike other hot chocolate mixtures on the shelves. Ask any true Jamaican about this beloved beverage and you will get a story involving enjoyment and caution.
Hot chocolate has traditionally been a favourite of Jamaicans, and the trend continues. Popular during ‘nine nights’, throughout the Christmas season and on Sunday mornings, this beverage is always a plus. This generational recipe ensures that the tradition remains preserved. While many enjoy the smell and rich taste of this beverage, only some know about the manufacturing process.
The Making of Chocolate
Chocolate derives from cacao beans which come from pods on the Theobroma Cacao tree. Chop the pods open to remove the beans. Dry the beans for about a week. After removing the moisture, parch the beans, then roast them.
The final step is grinding. Grind the beans into a manageable form to make chocolate balls. The best way to accomplish this is by using a mortar & pestle to beat the parched seeds to a pulp state. After that, the persons preparing the chocolate use their bare hands to form table-tennis sized amazing chocolate balls or diamond-shaped chocolate goodness.
A time-consuming task I must admit, but who cares when delicious chocolate is the end result?
The Chocolate Tea
*Disclaimer: Cocoa powder does not give you the same result as the chocolate balls.
To make our famous chocolate tea start by grating the chocolate balls on a medium grain grater. Subsquently, boil the chocolate with an ample amount of water. To “spice up” the flavour, add dried cinnamon sticks or leaves during the boiling process.
To further enhance the Jamaican hot chocolate recipe add the desired amount of condensed milk, sugar, and even salt. Strain the liquid life into each family member’s enamel mug or teacup and have them cautiously sip to their enjoyment.
You might be wondering why I said: “cautiously sipped”. Well, let me share a secret with you. Between me and you, and you can’t tell anyone. Chocolate is naturally oily. When made into tea, the oil rises to the top of the liquid and I’ve seen grown men cry because they’ve forgotten that fact. That hot oil settles there and will “bun up yuh whats-it-nots-it” if you try to take a sip as soon as it comes off the fire.
- 1 Jamaican chocolate ball
- 3 Teaspoon sugar or Sweetened condensed milk
- 1-quart water
- Pinch of salt
- 3 cinnamon leaves or 2 cinnamon sticks
- Come to Jamaica to get the authentic chocolate ball
- Grate the chocolate in a plate.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Add chocolate and cinnamon leaves or sticks.
- Allow mixture to boil for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Sweeten to taste. (add a pinch of salt)
- Remove cinnamon before serving.
Hot Chaklit Chronicles
In Jamaica, there’s no one way to prepare a dish, or in this case – a beverage. Listen below for another version of the recipe:
“Monkey never know the use of him tail till him lose it”. This storyteller explains that she didn’t like chocolate tea growing up but now wishes she could “go back to those days”:
The love for chocolate tea can never fade. No matter how many burns one sustains, they keep going back for more:
The recent weather has provided the perfect excuse to get warm. Go ahead and craft this Jamaican Hot Chocolate Recipe to the best of your ability and let us know what your outcome was!
Come share, celebrate, boast and debate our Jamaican culture with us.