Friday, December 06, 2013

Brewed Cacao

I was swayed by a new package in the coffee "alternatives" shelf at Rainbow Grocery.  I could not resist a product touting a bevy of health claims such as "Support your heart, brain and bones with magnesium" or "Maintain healthy blood sugar levels with chromium and zinc". Who doesn't want to support their vital organs for a mere ten dollars? Actually the other month, I had read from the Amano Chocolate's facebook page about brewing tea from the cacao bean's husks. So when I spied this bag, I was reeled in even though this was the actual bean itself and not the throwaway husk.  Years ago I used to buy giant bags of cacao husks as a garden mulch;  the husks smell marvelous but molds way too quickly.  I had never thought to brew a portion since it was meant to be spread on the ground. Who knows what magic brew hides in a waste product but I'll be on the lookout.

This Crio Bru bag contains ground roasted beans which you can brew like coffee or add it to coffee for a mocha flavor.  You could also cook with it and make cacao pesto.  When I brewed it like coffee, there definitely is a raw bitterness which rounds out with milk. Nonetheless I felt ho hum all around.  When brewed with coffee, you do get a mild cocoa taste.  Also with the leftover grounds which are perfectly edible, I added chipotle sauce to make a dip for blue corn chips. 
I am simply unmoved by this product- of course there is the bean quality to consider. This company offers two varieties- one from the Ivory Coast and the other from Ecuador which probably is the more interesting Nacional beans.  I want to like it but feel underwhelmed tasteswise. So in such cases as these, I fobbed it off to my willing husband. He says it gives him a nice alertness without jitteryness. 

The Maya used cacao beans for currency and I was trying to figure out the conversion rates for my bag of 12 oz. beans.  Accounts seem to vary but most often it's repeated that four beans buy a rabbit, 10 are needed for the services of a prostitute and a 100 for a slave.  I would have to have snared quite a few bunnies for this bag alone.

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