What is Cacao Brew?
The world of Cacao is a vast and beautiful place. The bean can be turned into many different delights. The Mayans started with a bitter chocolatey drink, then the Europeans created what we now know as chocolate and hot cocoa. It is in our cakes and and shakes and pretty much all kinds of desserts.
At Téo we want to dial back a thousand years or so, back to cacao's beginnings with a modern iteration of the ancient drink. This is cacao brew.
Anatomy of the Bean
A cacao pod is made of the shell, pulp, and the beans. The beans have two main parts: the husk and the bean (nibs).
After harvest the beans are slopped onto banana leaves and left to ferment for a few days. This fermentation is the beginning of how the beans get their chocolatey taste. After fermentation the beans are roasted.
Roasting kills any bacteria or organisms on the bean from fermentation. The roasting of the bean is also what brings out cacao's famous chocolatey flavor. After roasting, the beans are winnowed. Winnowing is the removal of the husk from the bean. For traditional chocolate the husks and nibs are separated and the nibs are used for making actual chocolate or cocoa powder. Brewed cacao is a bit different.
The Making of Cacao Brew
Cacao brew is produced by taking the roasted cacao beans, and grinding them down. The grounds are a combination of the husk, nibs, and gritty poweder. The consistency will vary depending on how a person grinds it, but it appears a lot like course coffee grounds.
The combination is what gives cacao brew its magical powers. You see, each part of the bean contributes in flavor. The husk has a roasted flavor, while the nibs produce the dark and bitter chocolatey flavor, and the cacao powder which is made of finely ground nibs makes for more flavor extraction during the brewing process.
Cacao brew can be brewed like coffee or tea in a french press or tea strainer. We have found, cacao brew steeps more like tea, and is not as instant as coffee.
It makes for a wonderful caffeine alternative, offering a gentle boost of energy, focus, and enhancement of mood without jitters or spikes.