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How to Make Delicious Drinking Chocolate

In this post we’re going to explore all things related to how to make drinking chocolate. My hope is by the end of this post you’ll know everything you need to make yourself a delicious cup!

What is the difference between drinking chocolate and hot cocoa?

Drinking chocolate is made with water and cacao paste, versus a typical hot cocoa that is made with cocoa powder, sugar, and milk. European sipping chocolate is the same idea as drinking chocolate – much thicker and frothier than American hot chocolate.

What is the difference between cacao paste and cocoa powder?

The latter has been defatted – the natural cacao butter has been removed. Benefits of this are that cacao powder is easier to stir into drinks, it won’t melt during storage, and it is cheaper. It doesn’t taste good though in straight water because it has no fat – that’s why it is typically prepared with dairy. Benefits of drinking chocolate made with cacao paste are that it is good for you; it can be made without milk and without sugar and still taste quite delicious. It is actually a whole food because it still contains the natural cacao butter, which is the best carrier of cacao’s medicinal properties. To make a proper chocolate drink it must be whisked or blended in a mixer so that the fat properly emulsifies. Learn more about the health benefits of pure cacao here.

How do I prepare drinking chocolate?

My basic recipe involves heating water to 170F (I typically don’t boil the water), then pouring the water and 1oz of pure cacao paste into a blender, and serving immediately. There are many ways to make this fancier; check out the next section below for some drinking chocolate recipe ideas. All of these recipes apply equally for how to make sipping chocolate.

For an individual serving, use 1oz of cacao (about 20 discs, or 1/4 cup), with 1/2 cup of liquid.

For a group ceremony, use 1lb of cacao with 8 cups of liquid, for every 16-20 people.

Wait ... I don't need to shave the chocolate off a big block or slowly melt it in a double boiler?
Exactly 🙂 Our chocolate discs make it as easy for you as possible to enjoy cacao regularly.  

The Good Stuff ... Let's Get Creative with Some Recipe Ideas

The basic recipe is simply a starting point. Here are some of our favorite tips for making truly magical cacao drinks!

- Add a local honey, maple syrup, or other unrefined sweetener. Add this before blending. You’ll need less than you think – be cautious about over sweetening!

- Make a 50/50 blend of your favorite coffee and our drinking chocolate recipe above for a delicious bulletproof style mocha

- Brew maté or guayusa and add this to the blender rather than hot water for drinking chocolate. Be warned this is a very energizing combination!

- Add chili or cayenne when blending your hot drinking chocolate. Other ingredients that go well with a spicy chocolate are cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger – all of these are heating and will boost circulation.

- Blend in various super-foods, such as fresh bee pollen, or the Peruvian root Maca that balances hormones and give stamina.

- Use a nut milk as the base for your cacao drink. Hazelnut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, all make excellent options.

- Experiment with different single origin drinking chocolates. Chocolate is similar to wine, with each origin offering unique flavors (due to differences in weather + soil, genetics, and fermentation). You can also combine different origins …

- Creative touches for serving ... drop some pomegranite seeds into your cacao and while drinking scoop them out with a spoon as a special treat. Or drop one extra disc of cacao on top of the frothy cup of cacao you made - it will melt to the bottom of your cup!

Types of Drinking Chocolate

So where to buy the best drinking chocolate? I’ve been making 100% cacao drinking chocolate for five years now with cacao paste I make from scratch from Belizean, Ecuadorian, and Tanzanian cacao beans. It’s available on this website for sale and I’d be happy to share it with you.

In particular I recommend the Ecuadorian as the best drinking chocolate for baking, while the Belizean has been my favorite drinking chocolate for morning breakfast rituals. And the Tanzanian makes hands down one of the smoothest, creamiest, and well-balanced cacao drinks I know.

Pro Tips for Enjoying Your Creation

Now that you’ve learned how to substitute drinking chocolate for hot cocoa, there’s just one last step remaining. The enjoyment of your creation! Here are some tips on how to serve drinking chocolate:

- Consume within 12-24 hours, the drinking chocolate does not store well and will begin to go sour.

- If you’ve made a thick drinking chocolate, it will become thicker with time, so if serving time is delayed you may need to mix in more liquid. Alternatively this can be put to good use ... pour your left overs into shallow bowls, and place them in the fridge to set up, and you’ll have a delicious chocolate mousse the next day!

- Keep your eyes open for beautiful mugs and cups … a beautiful vessel to hold your lovingly crafted drinking chocolate adds the perfect finishing touch! If you’d like, tag us on Instagram @cacaoceremony to share your creations.

Thanks for reading, let me know if you have any questions, I’m more than happy to help. Warmly, Jonas