Hankering for a cup of hot chocolate? Grab a can from the shelf and scoop out some powder and add water? Not so fast, American—like everything else here in the village, making a cup of Koko Samoa—a rich, coffee-like brew—is no simple task. Here’s how you can approximate the experience at home:
Drive to the local jungle and pick some ripe cocoa pods.
This one’s not ripe, yet; they should be banana-yellow.
Slow roast the seeds on a piece of corrugated metal, stirring continuously for 2 hours.
It helps to have someone else doing it with you so you don’t fall asleep from the tedium, heat, and smoke.
Bust out your family-heirloom mortar and pestle—made by your great-grandfather out of a tropical hardwood tree and a stone from the sea.
Pound vigorously for 20 minutes. (My arm got tired after two.)
Continue until the perfectly roasted beans turn into an oily, sticky paste.
Make a fire with coconut husks and boil a big kettle of water.
Add a few scoops of your cocoa paste and sugar.
And, voila, an easy 4 hours later and you’re ready for a taste of true hot chocolate—easy peasy, Koko Samoa!