Hot Brewed Cacao (+ how to roast cacao nibs!)

Hot brewed cacao in a mug

If you’re trying to avoid coffee, either because of health issues or caffeine jitters, chances are, you’re looking for another hot beverage. One that lets you start your day on a great note and gives you the same feeling as coffee, but without the side effects. Well, have we got the perfect morning fix for you! Hot brewed cacao is a great alternative if you’re trying to cut down on coffee or completely, or even if you just want a healthy hot beverage. It’s made in a french press. The brew has a taste reminiscent of chocolate, yet with a distinct flavor of its own.

Where Does Cacao Come From?

All cacao products come from the same plant (Theobroma cacao). For hot brewed cacao, you need roasted cacao beans, or more accurately, roasted cacao nibs. These are basically crushed cacao beans and are easier to incorporate into beverages, snacks, desserts, and so on. You’ll often find pre-roasted cacao nibs marketed as coffee alternatives. However — and here’s a pro tip for you — you can buy organic cacao nibs and roast them yourself, all at a fraction of the price! If you roast the nibs ahead of time, you can make hot brewed cacao in just a few minutes.

Do Cacao Nibs Have Caffeine?

The cacao bean does contain a little bit of caffeine. Cacao powder contains 6.6mg of caffeine per teaspoon. Cacao nibs contain even less at 4.6mg per teaspoon. This is far less caffeine than you’d find in other traditional hot beverages. For perspective, a cup of brewed coffee can contain anywhere between 80-135mg of caffeine.

How to Roast Cacao Nibs?


  1. Preheat your oven to 350℉
  2. Spread the crushed cacao nibs in a single layer on a baking tray.
  3. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes. When they begin to smell like brownies, they’re ready.
  4. Once they’re roasted, remove the nibs from the oven and let them cool completely.

Pulse the roasted cacao bean nibs in a coffee or spice grinder. It’s important you pulse, not grind continuously, to get the right texture. You want them to look similar to coffee grounds, coarse and even for a french press.

The flavor of a brewed cacao beverage depends on roasting the cacao nibs. We suggest roasting more cacao nibs than you need for one serving of hot brewed cacao so that you have more on hand to use for other recipes. For instance, roasted cacao beans, or nibs, are great as ice cream toppings, mixed in smoothies, and incorporated in your oatmeal and granola.

Try Hot Brewed Cacao

You can drink this cacao beverage as it is, just like black coffee. If you like, you can add your favorite creamer or sweetener to it. Try this dairy-free white chocolate coffee creamer for a deliciously decadent brew. Or if you prefer something sugar-free, you can use stevia or Wildly Organic’s Coco Monkey.

If you’re trying to reduce your coffee consumption, try mixing in a small amount of hot cacao with your regular coffee. Over time, you can reduce the amount of coffee and increase the amount of cacao each day until you’ve made the switch. While cacao nibs do have a little caffeine, it’s a small fraction of what you’d get from coffee or tea.

Recipe: Hot Brewed Cacao

Cut out coffee but not your morning fix. Try this hot cacao beverage. Roasting the cacao nibs yourself makes all the difference!

Serving: 2 mugs



  1. Place the ground cacao nibs in a french press. Pour boiling water over them and allow them to steep for five minutes, then press the plunger down slowly.
  2. Pour into a mug and sweeten as desired.


When making brewed cacao, it might take you a bit of time to find the perfect ratio of cacao nibs to water to suit your taste. This recipe uses four tablespoons of roasted cacao bean nibs in an 8-cup french press. You can experiment with this ratio until you hit on the perfect combination.

We love feedback on our recipes! Write to us and tell us how your hot brewed cacao turned out. Make sure to follow our blog for lip-smacking, healthful recipes just like this. If you’re into cacao, check out our range of organic cacao products as well.

Hot Brewed Cacao
If you're trying to cut out coffee but miss a hot drink in the morning, try hot brewed cacao. Roasting the cacao nibs yourself makes all the difference!
    Servings:2 mugs
    1. Place ground cacao nibs in a french press and pour boiling water over them. Allow to steep for five minutes, then press the plunger down slowly.
    2. Pour into a mug and sweeten as desired.

    When brewing cacao, it may take some time to find the perfect ratio of water to cacao nibs for your taste. I use four tablespoons of roasted cacao nibs in an 8-cup french press. Experiment with the water/cacao ratio until you brew your perfect cup.

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