Jamaican Hot Chocolate Recipe -
"Grate" to Greatness

Jamaican hot chocolate recipe, home-made style, is not like other hot chocolates that are commonly available in supermarkets. Ask any REAL Jamaican about this beloved beverage and you will get an explanation bordering on enjoyment and caution.

That is the truth, because apart from the enjoyment, you have to be very cautious when you take a sip of our Jamaican hot chocolate tea.

However, let me digress a little and address the “manufacturing processes” that bring this popular hot Jamaican drink to the market.

Chocolate comes from the seeds of the cacao pods which are picked from the cacao tree. The pods are chopped open to remove the seeds. The seeds are then put out to dry on zinc sheets, banana leaves, or concrete lawns, for about a week. This week-long exposure of the cacao seeds is done to remove the moisture and catch that distinctive chocolate flavor we crave so much.

The seeds are then put through a process called “parching”, which is done in a pot to remove more moisture, and then it is essentially roasted.Even though the seeds are ready, they must now be grounded into a manageable form to make golf-sized chocolate balls. This is just about as much needed to make a good amount of chocolate tea Jamaican style.

A huge mortar & pestle is used to beat the parched seeds to a pulp like state. A time-consuming task I must admit, but who is checking when chocolate is being made?

Jamaica Cocoa Pod For Making Chocolate Balls

After that, the persons preparing the chocolate use their bare hands to form the ground Jamaican chocolate into golf-sized chocolate balls for sale in the open market place. The shape may not be exactly rounded nevertheless, but who cares.

Now comes the GOOD part...

...the hot chocolate “tea” is then made by grating the chocolate balls on a medium grain grater, and then boiling this grated chocolate with ample amount of water.

Dried cinnamon sticks or leaves are always added to the Jamaican hot chocolate tea during the cooking process...this enhances the tea’s flavor.

The Jamaican hot chocolate recipe is bulk sweetened with condensed milk, sugar, and salt. It is strained into each family member’s enamel mug and cautiously sipped to ones enjoyment. Well you might be wondering why I say cautiously sipped.

Well I tell you man, because chocolate is naturally oily, when it is made into tea the oil rises to the top of the liquid and that hot oil settles there  and will scorch your lips and tongue if you try to take a sip as soon as it comes off the fire.

So we all had to be careful on Sundays when we serve the big breakfast with the Jamaican hot chocolate tea.

Grated Jamaican Chocolate

Today though, the powdered form of cacao which is sold in stores was not referred to as “chocolate” at all. It was called cocoa... This powdered drink was commercially made in factories and branded with all sorts of cute names.

The city folks, who considered themselves sophisticated, liked this drink. It was light, smooth, and convenient to make with NO grating, no waiting and no scorching! And the quality was good enough, but not quite chocolate-like.

I must admit that cocoa tastes good, but it will never beat a great tasting Jamaican hot chocolate tea. This tea is not for the faint-hearted, it is very dense and rough. You get the real chocolate taste, like you have never had before!!

If you THINK you are up to it then try making this Jamaican tea:

Jamaican Hot Chocolate Recipe

Jamaican Hot Chocolate Recipe


1   Jamaican Chocolate Ball (Golf ball size)

3   tbsp. Sugar

1/4 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk

1   quart Water

A   pinch of Salt.

3   Cinnamon Leaves or 2 Cinnamon Sticks


1. Grate Jamaican chocolate ball with a fine grater in a plate.

2. Bring the quart of water to a boil and add chocolate and cinnamon to the pot of boiling water.

3. Allow these ingredients to boil for about fifteen to twenty minutes.

4. Sweeten to taste then remove cinnamon.

5. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy your Jamaican hot chocolate with a friend or relative.

***Chef's Note: A word of caution (Well 2 words of caution):

1. If you use cocoa powder, you will not get the same effect.
2. This tea retains its heat for a long time, so don’t rush drinking it or you WILL be scorched!! Be Warned.***

So go ahead and take your time to craft this Jamaican Hot Chocolate Recipe to

the best of your ability and let me know what your outcome was!!


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