When you think of tea ingredients, chocolate probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. That being said though, chocolate and cocoa are found in a handful of decedent tea blends like our Chocolate Orange Pu-erh or our Raspberry Romance. Rich flavor and surprising health benefits make these ingredients a must-try!
Chocolate and cocoa both come from the cacao plant. Cocoa is the pure form of the cacao seed while chocolate is a fermented mixture of cocoa and other ingredients such as sugar and cream. Many chocolatey teas just have cocoa nibs in them, but some actually have dark chocolate chips too. Three of our teas that take our love for chocolate that extra step include our Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Chocolate Chip Chai Pu-erh, and Hot Chocolate Soufflé.
We weren't the first people to discover this secret ingredient though, cacao tea was first enjoyed by the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations in the 14th and 16th centuries. The Mayan and Aztec people found that drinking cacao tea boosted their mood, and it wasn’t just because of its delicious flavor. The cacao plant has an array of surprising health benefits which have been more recently proven by modern science.
Cacao is naturally packed with antioxidants, flavonoids, theobromine, epicatechin, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, calcium, copper, fiber, iron, and zinc. Flavonoids support the ancient Mayan and Aztec claims that cacao tea boosts your mood, as modern scientists have found that this compound does have mood-enhancing properties. Studies have also found that flavonoids improve brain functions such as reaction time, visual-space awareness, and memory. Theobromine is another prominent compound that is known for providing a “gentle energy boost.” This energy boost is more mellow than that of caffeine and is accompanied by lower blood pressure and improved circulation, respiration, and digestion. Theobromine has also been known to enhance brain function and memory, similar to flavonoids. While some of these benefits can be lost during the process of turning cocoa powder into chocolate, cacao in tea tends to preserve them a bit better. Higher cocoa content will result in higher amounts of each of these compounds, and most chocolate products will include cocoa content as a percentage in the nutritional facts label to help you navigate this.
Cacao tea also allows you to experience the heavenly taste and aroma of chocolate, while avoiding the added sugar and dairy from chocolate’s fermentation process. Some are even caffeine free, although it depends on what kind of tea the cacao is blended with.
Written by Kourtney Camm