Brewed Cocoa isn't hot chocolate. For most of us, the idea of drinking a coffee-like substance made from cocoa beans might sound delicious but far-fetched. The fact is that it's nothing new - Central and Southern Americans have been doing it for thousands of years (they call it ka'kao). Cocoa beans are loaded with nutrients and anti-oxidants that rival even coffee, making it a healthy drink and possible alternative to coffee.
So why isn't it more popular? The process of roasting and grinding cocoa beans is difficult to say the least. The beans must be roasted just right if they're to be consumed in a drink instead of being processed with loads of fats and sugar in a chocolate bar. The beans also don't become as brittle as coffee beans once roasted, meaning they require a special grinder to achieve a consistent size of grounds.
Like coffee beans, cocoa beans vary in taste and nutritional contents from one location to another. Not all of them are right for brewing either. Beans must be carefully selected and tested to ensure they provide enough chocolatey flavour that everyone loves.
What is Theobromine?
Theobromine is a naturally occuring compound in cocoa beans. It's effects are similar to caffeine, except that it takes longer to experience and lasts much longer. While caffeine is notorious for it's instant stimulation and subsequent crash an hour later, theobromine take 20-40 minutes to kick in and lasts about 3-4 hours.
Theobromine is generally well tolerated in those who have no existing allergies to chocolate.
Because brewed cocoa is not an overpowering flavour, it can be readily mixed with other flavours and ingredients for a delicious drinks. Some manufacturers actually go so far as to have pre-made mixes, incorporating berries or extracts of other health-oriented plants.
Combining with Coffee or Espresso
Brewed Cocoa is great when mixed with coffee or espresso, and many may actually enjoy it better that way. The cocoa adds a subtle chocolate-y hint to the coffee or espresso without substantially adding to the calories. The quantity of coffee beans are decreased when combining with cocoa beans, meaning you also get less caffeine. The combination of caffeine and theobromine creates a warming and very effective stimulant effect that avoids the "caffeine jitters" and lasts longer.
Brewed cocoa has a number of health benefits being touted by celebrities. It shares many of the same supposed benefits as chocolate, including antioxidants, detoxifying chemicals, heart-friendly stimulation, reduced blood pressure and feel-good brain stimulation.
Brewed Cocoa is sometimes known as Choffee, Choffey, Choffy or Crio Bru.
Choffy is an abbreviation for Chocolate Coffy (misspelling intentional) and boasts the same health benefits as all brewed cocoa drinks - antioxidants, theobromine and numerous vitamins and minerals. It is typically brewed in a french press, which gives it an appropriate extraction time (4-5 minutes) for all the goodness of the cocoa to brew and is already sometimes a household product. Best enjoyed with a little cream and sugar, it may even end up replacing your daily morning coffee!