Cacao Water Doesn't Taste Like Chocolate, But Here's Why You Should Be Drinking It Anyway
Most of us have been eating chocolate all our lives without thinking twice about where it comes from and how it's made.
Chocolate is actually made from the beans of the cacao pod, which consists of a thick shell, containing white capsules of fleshy pulp that house the beans. So what happens to all of that stuff that doesn't get included in the chocolate? A lot of the time, it winds up in the trash.
Blue Stripes is a company dedicated to changing that. They take the rest of the cacao fruit and transform it into tasty, wholesome treats that prevent all that waste. When a rep from the brand reached out and asked if I'd be interested in sampling their new nutrient-rich Cacao Water, I jumped at the opportunity. After getting more familiar with everything cacao has to offer, here's what I thought of it.
According to the Blue Stripes website, the chocolate industry allows about 70% of each cacao pod it uses to go to waste. Most people only care about the beans, because they're what can be transformed into chocolate, despite the fact that the shell and fruit are useful superfoods that are also really good for you.
While many companies discard everything but the beans, Blue Stripes ensures that it's all used. The shell is dried and ground into cacao flour, which is both gluten-free and rich in antioxidants, while the sweet, tart fruit that surrounds each bean is transformed into everything from smoothies to jelly to ice cream and cacao water. They sell all of these products in their online store.
Their cacao water, in particular, is rich in antioxidants, electrolytes and gut-healthy dietary fibers, with no added sugar and 30% juice in every bottle. Six-packs of their 10.5 oz. bottles are available for $24 each. You can get a mixed pack, or pick from their Just Cacao, Cascara Coffee & Cinnamon or Chili, Lime & Cardamom flavors.
I had no idea what to expect when I started my Cacao Water journey, so I decided to begin with the Just Cacao flavor to get a baseline for it. The bottle was shaped a little like a grenade, with little bumps mimicking the shape of the cacao fruit.
I was pleasantly surprised by the first sip. It had a fruity and just slightly tart flavor with a very mellow finish. It reminded me a bit of lychee, but with more tang, and I found that it was very easy to drink the entire, refreshing bottle of juice. It also left me feeling nice and hydrated—as well as excited to see how I'd like the next flavor.
(via Blue Stripes)
Cascara Coffee & Cinnamon
Next up, I decided to go for the Cascara Coffee & Cinnamon flavor of Cacao Water. I wondered how the addition of cascara (the fruit that grows around the coffee bean) and cinnamon would influence the taste, and it turns out that these additions changed the flavor profile completely. The cascara gave it an almost hibiscus flower-like taste, while the cinnamon granted it a familiar spice. This time around, the drink reminded me of a chilled tea. It was just as sippable—and I also loved the idea of rescuing coffee fruit, just like the brand uses all of the cacao plant.
(via Blue Stripes)
Chili, Lime & Cardamom
Last, I cracked open the Chili, Lime & Cardamom variant of Cacao Water, and though it wasn't my favorite of the bunch, I do have to say that it was original and somehow still pleasant to drink. The citrus and chili made it like a different kind of drink altogether, with spice that burned my throat slightly as it went down. I had a little trouble picking out the cardamom flavor against the strong flavor of lime and all of the heat. Even so, I just had to finish it, and I did find myself missing all three flavors once I'd had them all.
(via Blue Stripes)
The Cacao Fruit
Along with my three flavors of Cacao Water, Blue Stripes was also generous enough to send me an entire cacao pod to see what that experience was all about. I used a knife to slice open the thick rind, and found the white, fleshy fruit inside to be a bit gooey, with a structure that reminded me a bit of corn. Each "kernel" of fruit has a slightly grape-like texture with the delicate, fruity taste of the Cacao Water, and contains a cacao bean in the center (which can be eaten, or discarded depending on your preference). It was an experience to be sure, and while I probably won't be buying another pod anytime soon, I now have a stronger understanding of what goes into every piece of chocolate I eat, and I'm not going to take that for granted anytime soon!
If you're looking for chocolate-flavored water, you're probably going to be disappointed by Cacao Water, but if you're looking for a new flavor experience that's full of good-for-you ingredients, you'll love it. It's a delicious juice without a bunch of added junk, and the antioxidants and electrolytes will keep you going on your most active days. It's also not the cheapest hydration drink around, at $4 per 10.5 oz. bottle, but if you're curious and it's in your budget, it's worth trying at least once.
Want to find out what else you can make with the rest of a cacao pod? Click HERE to find out all about CaPao's tasty cacao jerky.