Tableya: The Best Chocolate Drink You Might Not Have Heard Of

Tableya, also known as Tablea or Tsokolate, is a traditional Filipino beverage that Shawn Askinosie was introduced to on his first trip to the Philippines to source cocoa beans, way back in 2008. A beverage that became popular during Spanish colonization when cocoa was brought to the Philippines, Tableya is a hot chocolate made of home-made discs of ground cocoa beans. It is often served at breakfast, and is made by dissolving tablets of cocoa in water and whisking vigorously. Where we source cocoa, in Davao on the island of Mindanao, Shawn encounters this special drink often, typically on every farm visit. Usually during farm visits at every origin there is some kind of very simple welcome ceremony, it is a beautiful gesture and thoughtful acknowledgement of visitors. (This is not something most Americans do, by the way--greet guests to our home or business with a simple but formal ceremony; we’re here to advocate for this practice!) What is special about the Philippines, other than the kind people and outstanding cocoa, is the Tableya.

On Shawn’s first trip, he was greeted at the farm with a warm cup of Tableya--and thus began our company’s long history with this storied drink, starting with our sustainable lunch program at a local school which was funded completely by our sale of Tableya in the US, made by the PTA at the school and shipped to us on our container of cocoa beans. Collectively with the teachers, principal and parents, Shawn decided to partner together to address malnutrition which affected nearly 100% of the school population, and everyone wanted to fund the meals with no donations. The PTA suggested they make Tableya for us to sell because they’d been making it since they were kids, it represented their community and they could use the cocoa beans we were purchasing since many of the parents were our farmer partners. You can read more about this program here. We did this with two other nearby schools for nearly a decade until ultimately all lunch programs became self-sustaining. And now, we make Tableya ourselves at our factory, inspired by our farmer partners in Davao, and donate all of the proceeds to our Chocolate University program to help fund several of the community development initiatives for students we have both locally and at origin.

There are many ways to make Tableya, and we don’t pretend to be experts at making this drink which has many cultural variations throughout the Philippines. On farm visits with farmers, it was always served to Shawn with just hot water and the ground cocoa discs--no sugar and no milk. However, there are many alternatives to the traditional recipe that do include adding milk, sugar, or even a splash of cream.

Our favorite way to make Tableya is simple, and we like to enjoy it in the morning with a slice of bread as can be customary in the Philippines or many other cultures where chocolate is enjoyed for breakfast.

Here’s our favorite quick & easy recipe to make one single 8oz. serving, checkout the step-by-step videos below for the entire process:

  • Boil 1 cup of filtered water (stove or electric kettle both work great!)
  • Place 1-2 Tableya discs, depending on your desired chocolatey-ness, in a coffee mug & pour boiling water over the discs. Traditionally, Tableya might be served in a small cup like a demitasse, cortado or small tea cup all of which work great for a smaller serving!
  • Let discs melt slowly for 2-3 minutes, and whisk until incorporated. Using a whisk is most traditional, but an immersion blender works well too.
  • Add milk & sugar to taste, if desired. We like whole milk, but you can also use a splash of heavy cream or even plant-based milk.

Be sure to tag us in your recipes and happy Tableya-making!