Cold or Sun brewed Cacao Coffee

Overhead shot of iced cold brewed cacao coffee and creamer. The coffee is sitting on a wooden bench

In the summertime cold drinks are the way to go, and making a jar of iced coffee with the addition of cacao is a simple, easy way to get your caffeine kick in the most delicious way. Cacao Coffee, a combination of your favorite coffee beans with the addition of cacao nibs (raw dried fermented chocolate seeds, although they are usually referred to as “beans”) brewed overnight in your refrigerator, or with the heat of the sun.

So, what does it taste like? This is not the stuff of mochas. Cacao nibs have a bitter, slightly astringent and fruity chocolate-y flavor, and the flavor they add to our Cacao Coffee concoction is light and almost wine-like. We love to pair coffee beans from Ethiopia or other African countries where the flavor profile tends toward fruity and wine-like to bump up these flavor notes, and have equally enjoyed a nutty, caramel-y South American sourced bean that bumps up the chocolate flavor. And bonus, both coffee and chocolate are fermented foods, packed with antioxidants.

You can also brew a straight-up concoction of cacao nibs for a tea-like, light and cocoa-y sip, just double the amount of nibs.

Check out our recipe below and start sipping!

Mason jar filled with coffee and cocoa nibs outside


1/2 cup coffee, ground for French Press

1/2 cup cacao nibs

2 cups filtered or spring water

ice cubes

to sweeten or lighten your brew: milk or plant-based mylk, raw cane sugar, agave syrup, stevia leaf, honey or maple syrup, all optional

add a cinnamon stick, a star anise pod or two, or a few whole allspice berries or cardamom pods for extra flavor, optional as well

Cold or sun brewed cacao coffee iced


Place the ground coffee and cacao nibs in a clean, dry jar or glass container that has a tight-fitting lid. A canning jar makes it super simple since it has measurements on the side. Add 2 cups of fresh water, screw the lid on tight, and gently shake to mix in the nibs and ground beans (some will float back up to the top, no worries, it doesn’t affect the brew!)

For sun brewing put the jar out in a sunny spot outdoors and leave it to brew for 2 hours. I gave mine a gentle shake one hour in.*

For cold brewing place the jar in your refrigerator and let it set overnight.

Cold or sun brewed cacao coffee iced

When your Cacao Coffee has finished brewing, strain the mixture into a fresh jar, or use your coffee press to strain out the grounds. Pour over ice and if you wish stir in your preferred sweetener and/or creamer to taste. The mixture is concentrated, so you should get a couple of cups of rich, tasty iced Cacao Coffee to enjoy!

More serving ideas:

•Pour your Cacao Coffee brew over a scoop of ice cream or gelato to make a decadent Affogato di Cioccolato

•Add a bit of hot water to a couple of tablespoons of our Drinking Chocolate or flavored Sipping Cocoa Mixes to make a paste and stir into your Cacao Coffee to bump up the chocolate flavor and make a refreshing iced mocha. Oh yes.

•Substitute brewed Cacao Coffee for coffee in recipes for a flavorful spin

* I have been sun brewing for years with no ill effects. To ensure no harmful bacteria grow during the sun brewing process make sure your jar and the lid are thoroughly clean and dry before starting, always use the freshest coffee beans and cacao nibs, use cool spring water or filtered water for the brew, keep your brew in the sun for no more than 2 hours, store your brew in the refrigerator and enjoy within a couple of days.