Step 1Wash the beans. Place the beans in a large bowl and add enough water to cover the beans by a few inches. Set the beans aside for a couple of hours to soften.
Step 2Drain the beans and place in a heavy-bottom stock pot. Add enough water to cover the beans by a couple of inches. Place the cloves in cheesecloth (a sachet) and add to the pot. Simmer the beans, adding additional water as needed, until softened and the beans are beginning to break apart, 1 to 2 hours.
Step 3Drain the beans, discarding the sachet. Add the coconut milk to the beans and blend (this can be done in the pot using an immersion blender, or in batches using a stand blender). Stir in the sugar and heat the beans over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Step 4Reduce the heat to low and stir in the onion and garlic powders, as well as the black pepper. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, to marry the flavors, about 10 minutes.