Generally, chocolate and hot things don't mix very well unless you're intentionally making a cup of hot cocoa. Dip a chocolate bar in a steaming hot cup of tea and you'll end up with chocolate-tea soup. But what about putting hot tea inside chocolate? Nestle chocolate scientists put their skills to the test by crafting a teapot from chocolate and then brewing up a cuppa in it.
BBC's The One Show inspired the effort by challenging Nestle to test the saying that there's nothing more useless than a chocolate teapot. The experiment took place at Nestle's Product Technology Centre in York in the UK. You might be wondering what happens at a chocolate technology center. It's a research facility focused on developing new confectionery products, reformulating existing products, and developing new candy technologies.
Master chocolatier John Costello spent six weeks contemplating the project and developing a way to make a chocolate teapot work. He chose dark chocolate made with 65 percent cocoa solids, since the low fat content would help it hold its shape better. A series of experiments using balloons covered in multiple layers of chocolate helped Costello and his team determine how thick the chocolate needed to be to hold hot water.
The teapot Nestle developed included a large hole in the top to allow plenty of stream to escape. It was formed using a mold that produced a pot with a solid spout and handle. The mold required pouring in multiple thin layers of chocolate, a process that took over two hours. The spout was then bored out to allow a thin passage for the tea to come out.
The teapot was a success, surviving having boiling water poured into it. One of the key steps involved not stirring the water, but rather allowing it to just settle and brew the tea. The tea was steeped for two minutes. The resulting cuppa had a minimal amount of chocolate residue in it, leaving it with a strong tea flavor and just a hint of chocolate, proving that a chocolate teapot is quite useful after all.