Cocoa Tea - The Caribbean drink that's neither hot chocolate nor tea

Cocoa Tea

When I was little, my dad would play a lot of reggae in the car. One of the songs was I Am Not A King, originally recorded by Delroy Wilson. But the version my dad played was by a Jamaican singer called Cocoa Tea. At first I thought it was just a Jamaican name for hot chocolate. I didn’t think much of it after that. 20 years later, it entered my life again in a Gastro Obscura article and my assumption was wrong. Cocoa tea was not a Jamaican term for hot chocolate. And it wasn’t really tea either.

Cocoa or chocolate tea is made from mixing grated cocoa balls or sticks with milk and water, before boiling. So in some ways, it’s a lot like hot chocolate. But the secret to a perfect cup is pure unsweetened cocoa. Authentic cocoa balls are best but hard to obtain outside the Caribbean. Adding traditional Caribbean spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, or ginger is the proverbial icing on the tea. The biggest difference is the lack of sugar (which is a big part of Caribbean sweet cuisine) and that’s where condensed milk comes in (which is a big part of Caribbean sweet cuisine). This can, of course, be substituted for any kind of milk and the spices can vary depending on where the drink is made.

It’s not even specific to Jamaica and Barbados. Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Dominica and Saint Lucia are some of the islands who sip on the hot beverage. So why is it even called “tea”? Think of it as a Caribbean umbrella term for a hot drink at breakfast.

Check out some recipes for the drink below.

Cocoa Tea - I Am Not A King

Copyrighted works from 1923 enter the public domain today

Public Domain

Firstly, happy new year to you all. We hope 2019 is even more prosperous than 2018. If you’re a creative or a lover of the arts, today’s events might help with that.

1st January is Public Domain Day. What does that mean? Well, works of art from 1923 become the copyright-free to the public, meaning you can quote as much as you want wherever you want without attribution. The same will be said for works from 1924 next year, 1925 the year after and so on. Naturally, works before 1923 are also public domain unless otherwise set.

This was meant to take place a lot sooner if it wasn’t for an intervention by the US government. In 1998, congress signed a bill, sponsored by Sonny Bono (yes, that Sonny Bono) allowing a 20-year extension of the copyright term. According to Open Culture, “the legislation, aimed at protecting Mickey Mouse, created a ‘bizarre 20-year hiatus between the release of works from 1922 and 1923.'” Now that’s over, certain Mickey Mouse cartoons and appearances are free to remix without fear of Disney. Well, fear of Disney is never totally extinguished.

But what was released in 1923? A lot of stuff. Mostly silent movies, artwork from the Art Deco period, works from the Harlem Renaissance, early jazz compositions. If you love modernism as I do, this will be like uncovering a treasure trove.

Below you will find a list of works from 1923 and general content free from copyrights. Always remember to check works from any years prior to 1923 to make absolutely sure you follow any licence requirements (if there are any). And happy hunting!

Lists of public domain works from 1923 and more