The New Cappuccino: Kick your coffee habit with cacao

Looking for a morning kick that doesn’t kick you back? I’ve got a good’un for ya.

It’s got all the intense, energy-giving kick of an espresso, without the bitterness. In fact, it’s made from 100% cacao liquor, giving it the creamy, chocolatey deliciousness of chocolate itself.

Now, I know what you’re thinking of: chocolate is never going to give me the same kick I get from coffee. Right? Wrong.

Don’t forget, we’re talking cacao, not cocoa – and that’s a whole different ballgame.

Not only does cacao naturally contain caffeine, but it is also full of magnesium (an energy mineral and vital electrolyte) as well as anandamide, a substance that induces euphoria, and phenylethylamine (PEA), a natural mood enhancer. That’s energy and good mood fixed, without the crash you’d get from a coffee.

And that’s not the only way in which cacao will prepare you for your day. It’s packed with flavanoids, which act as natural antioxidants. These protect the body from ageing and disease caused by free radicals, prevent fat-like substances in the bloodstream from oxidising and clogging the arteries, regulate blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and strengthen the immune system.

It’s also going to keep your diet on track all day long! Why? Cacao contains monoamine oxidase enzyme inhibitors (MAO inhibitors), which help your body tune in to its natural appetite inhibitors, regulating appetite and cravings. In fact, it is often added to weight-loss supplements for this reason.

In Colombia, cacao is in fact drunk daily first thing to kick-start the morning – how ironic, that the country most famed for its coffee exports is actually hooked on hot chocolate instead! But surely that tells us something about where our own priorities should be – I mean, when it comes to coffee and cacao, who knows what they’re talking about better than the Colombians themselves?

In Britain, too, hot choc is slowly but surely changing its image: becoming a daytime pick-me-up rather than an evening wind-down. This habit harks back to 17th century Britain, when “Chocolate Houses” were in fact the Starbucks of their day. It’s vintage, darling – and it’s the future.

So, front the trend by trying one of these two coffee-alternatives, and making it your signature drink: the Chocolate Macchiato or the Hot Cacaolate.

For both recipes I have used Hasslacher’s, my personal favourite brand of cacao, which is sold in Britain as solid-bar 100% cacao drinking chocolate – you can read my review of the product and get more cacao inspiration here.

The recipes are developments of Hasslacher’s own British Style Hot Chocolate and Hot Chocolate Espresso recipes, which you can also find in the review above.

Hot Cacaolate


  • 250ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 1-2 teaspoons xylitol (or equivalent sweetener/sugar of choice)
  • 2 squares/3 disks Hasslacher’s cacao


  • Heat the milk gently in a saucepan/microwave
  • Stir in the chocolate and sweetener until fully blended
  • For best results use a saucepan, get yourself a mini whisk and whisk the chocolate and xylitol in gradually as the milk heats, as they’ll blend best this way
  • Once the mixture is fully blended, hot and frothing, remove it from the heat and pour into a mug
  • If you want it to be even creamier, pour about 20ml double cream over the back of a teaspoon onto the top of the cacaolate
  • Sprinkle the top with grated cacao to finish (optional, but very pretty)
  • Enjoy with panache

Chocolate Macchiato


  • 1 part grated Hasslacher’s cacao
  • 3 parts hot water
  • 10-20ml double cream


  • Blast under a steamer until the cacao is dissolved and sweeten to taste
  • Sip delicately or down in one, depending on how hardcore you’re feeling

I’ve pretty much given up coffee now, I’m enjoying my cacao so much. It’s a chocolate revolution – who’s thinking of joining me?

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: