In recent years, there have been many fresh tea trends to try — kombucha, cascara tea, tea and juice blends. This year’s talk centers around cacao shells.
Cocoa tea had some chatter a couple years ago, but that was ground cocoa nibs combined with spices, and infused in hot milk or water. This new trend makes use of a part of the cacao plant that would have been considered waste.
Cacao shells are roasted and then infused into a tea. These shells are generally considered to be a byproduct of chocolate making; the cacao bean inside the fruit is used and then the shells are thrown away or occasionally used as a mulch alternative. A few companies are taking a cue from Peruvian custom to use them for a drink.
MiCacao is one such company. They believe that this new beverage could provide a new option, different from coffee and tea but with its own health benefits.
MiCacao founder JJ Sabia and discovered the possibility on a trip to Peru, where they infused the shells at the end of a chocolate making workshop. Sabia and his partner Rafael Albornoz were committed to finding organic suppliers for their product that used sustainable techniques..
MiCacao is not the only source of this product. Undone Chocolate in DC also markets cocoa shell tea. This company was started by Adam and Kristen Kavalier in December 2014, also inspired by the Peruvian experience.
Cacao contains some antioxidants, theobromine (a stimulant also found in tea), vitamins and minerals. Cacao shell tea can be purchased loose or in tea bags.