Caffeine has been a pretty important part of my first year in medical school. With so much information to learn, the better I could pay attention in lecture, the less time I had to spend reviewing material outside of class. Every morning I whipped up a cocoa-ccino at the coffee cart, stocked by student services with Swiss-Miss hot cocoa mix and sub-par coffee. I don’t like coffee to begin with. I do everything I can to cover over the bitter taste, and the coffee-cart coffee requires a lot of Swiss-Miss, delivering a bunch of calories that I could just do without.
I’m a week into my second year I’ve avoided the coffee cart so far. Perhaps I find neuroanatomy more stimulating that the orientation and statistics we had at the beginning of first year. It takes a lot of brain power to focus on every word that Dr. J says as he runs though his neuroanatomy lectures at hyper-drive. Or maybe I just caught up on sleep over summer break.
This summer I also took the time to delve into the food-blogging world, which has afforded me food photography lessons, a post on Tastespotting, and a jar of Brewed Chocolates won from Food Interviews. I am most excited about the Brewed Chocolate, a concentration of whole, raw brewed cocoa beans with a bit of sugar cane added, just add hot water. I inquired in a comment and was assured this Brewed Chocolate didn’t have the same bitterness of coffee and black tea. I couldn’t wait to try it.
My roommate and I tried it for the first time this morning. Because I heard it could be a stimulant or make you drowsy, I decided I would not try it on a school day lest I fall asleep in one of Dr. J’s lectures and end up behind for the rest of the course.
The first thing I did when the jar arrived was pop open the lid and smell it. It has a lovely subtle chocolate aroma. Nothing too bold like a new chocolate bar, but rather a lingering chocolate essence. A beautiful soft brown color, it rolls around in the jar like warm honey, not too viscous, but with some weight behind it. My favorite part of making the cups of brewed chocolate this morning was drizzling it into the hot water. It flowed in looking like molasses and held its shape as squiggly spaghetti in the bottom of the cup for just a moment before melding together into a little puddle of darkness. Much of the brewed chocolate clung to the spoon so I had a little taste. Chocolaty, but, much like the smell, better resembled the lingering taste of a fine dark chocolate on your palate than the first few munches on a whole chunk of the stuff.
I stirred it up and took a sip. I was expecting something bold like coffee (perhaps because I had just licked a bit off my finger) and felt a bit startled when it was nothing of the sort. My roommate commented it reminded her of tea. I took a few more sips with tea in mind and felt much less startled. It’s got a watery taste like many herbal teas with the chocolate flavor coming at the finish of each sip. The smidgen of sugar added the prefect sweetness.
As to how I felt half an hour after finishing my cup: not very different. My roommate didn’t notice much difference either. Perhaps a teaspoon of this chocolaty concentrate isn’t enough to have much effect. At least I didn’t fall asleep, so brewed chocolate is approved for morning lectures. And I plan to drink plenty of it as the months grow colder to warm me up in the morning. Thanks so much to Stef and Rob for the free taster. I’ll be back for more!