A Chocolate Drink from Cocoa Beans
On our recent trip to Costa Rica, I took a chocolate tour at Tirimbina and at the end of the chocolate tour the guide, Sergio, gave me a small bag of cocoa beans.
Last night I decided I needed to do something with them before too much time passed, and I remembered that on the tour they had roasted some beans in a cast iron pan and given me one of the beans to eat.
So that’s how I started. I started heating the beans over a medium-high heat.
I went back and forth and decided to lower it to medium, and pretty soon steam started coming off the beans.
I was pretty much doing this by smell, and knew I wanted to take the beans off the heat when it started smelling chocolaty. I waited slightly too long so that a few of them were more towards the burnt end of the scale 🙁
Now I needed to peel off the ‘skins’ from the beans, and this did not go particularly smoothly. For a lot of them I had to essentially break the bean before I could start to remove that outer covering. Only a few beans made it through whole.
I ate a couple of the beans and they were good, but then I thought I would take another step and turn it into a chocolate drink.
So, I got out a mortar and pestle and ground down the beans.
And the result did taste chocolaty, but I remembered that on the chocolate tour they had added some sugar at that point. They probably added raw sugar, but I don’t know for sure. I added a bit of brown sugar and ground it some more.
It really tasted good at this point, and it is possible I should have stopped tasting it in order to leave a little more for the next step.
If I recall correctly, at Tirimbina the metate in which they did the grinding was warmed in some manner, so that the cocoa nibs sort of melted into butterfat. I didn’t have a way to do this, of course. They had also put it through basically a meat grinder to produce a paste. And I couldn’t do that either.
Instead, I put the powder into a bowl and slowly started adding boiling water.
Naturally I kept taste testing, and when it was just right, I poured it into one of the chocolate cups I had brought back from Costa Rica, added a little vanilla, and it was delicious!
It was a little gritty, and might have been a bit better poured over ice cream, but it really was good.
I’m not going to rush out and buy cocoa beans and start making my own chocolate, but it was fun to play with the cocoa beans that Sergio at Tirimbina had given to me.