A look into the story behind a favorite Caribbean fall beverage
Forget the Hurricane or Rum Runner. A cup of hot cocoa may not be the first drink you hanker for on a Caribbean vacation, but you might change your mind in St. Lucia.
St. Lucians began drinking cocoa tea, a traditional spiced breakfast treat, shortly after the British abolished slavery on Saint Lucia in 1833. The island’s west coast town of Soufriere, near the iconic pair of Piton mountains, was home of a number of small, productive sugar, coffee, and cocoa estates. Tea leaves were hard to come by, but cocoa tea, technically more like a porridge than a tea, was a cheap and accessible snack. It’s been a local delicacy ever since.
Though the drink is not steeped, it falls into the St. Lucian classification of tea as a hot drink. Cocoa pods grow rampant on the island and all-natural cocoa is found at open air markets, plantations, and hotels. The rainy season in the fall is the most popular time to enjoy the hot drink.
To learn more about the drink’s rich history on the island, we spoke with Cornelia Felix, a tour guide at Fond Doux Holiday Plantation, a 250 year-old hotel and working cocoa estate in Soufriere.