Pouring hot chocolate from pot to mug
The 18th Century Chocolate Drink That Preceded The Surge Of Coffee
Today chocolate is sold and enjoyed in many forms, but in the 18th century, most Europeans and American colonists only knew of the delicacy in the form of a warm, spicy drink.
This brew was quite popular before the advent of coffee. Cacao beans traveled with Spanish conquistadors from Central America to Spain to Europe and North America.
Cacao was consumed as a brewed tea, and was originally considered to be medicinal. It was used as a cure for smallpox as well as an energy drink to increase strength and libido.
Chocolate drinks were either brewed from roasted, ground cocoa beans, or made with shavings of rudimentary bars of gritty, ground beans mixed with sugar and spices.
The cacao was brewed in hot water or milk with sugar, long red pepper, cloves, anise, nuts, and orange flower water, resulting in a drink that was thin, not smooth or creamy.
The drink was simply known as "chocolate," and some recipes included thickening ingredients like bread and egg. Coffee would later usurp it in America during the Revolutionary War.
Choosing coffee over tea was seen as patriotic and anti-British, and it was easy to make. In the 19th century, Dutch chocolate processing revived hot chocolate in its modern form.