A Brief History of Hot Cocoa

Posted by Southwest Beverages on 12/26/2014

A Brief History of Hot CocoaAs I’ve mentioned before, hot cocoa is different than hot chocolate. Many people confuse the two. Hot chocolate is melted baker’s chocolate in melted in milk, cream and sugar; hot cocoa is prepared from cocoa powder. Cocoa powder is pressed from chocolate so as to remove the fat.

Hot cocoa is an ancient drink. Archaeologists discovered cocoa beans in ancient burial chambers dated as far back as 1500 BC. The Olmecs (the first civilization in the Mexico region) were the first to use cocoa as a beverage, but the Mayans were the ones to truly make it a large part of their culture. They believed the cocoa beans to be magical because after consuming them they would feel a general sense of well-being. They considered it a drink of the gods!

In fact, the beans were so sought after that they were often used as currency. The drink was mainly consumed by kings and the high-ranking nobility of the time. They added various spices and herbs to each drink to create their own personalized recipes, just like we do. Families had recipes they kept to themselves for generations. Often they added wine and even peppers.

The Mayans would use cocoa as part of their marriage rituals. It was served at betrothal and marriage ceremonies. This is considered one of the earliest instances of chocolate being linked to romance, relationships and love.

When the Spaniards came to North America, they discovered cocoa, fell in love with it and brought it back to Europe. Cocoa beans shortly thereafter became the hottest new item for bakers and dessert makers to include in their recipes.

By the 1600s, the drink had spread throughout Europe with it being most popular in France. Still, it was a drink enjoyed mostly by the wealthy due to its high import cost. In the 1700s, the first chocolate shops began opening in France.

These days, we’re becoming more aware of the health benefits hot cocoa provides. Research shows that cocoa is packed full of flavonoids (also known as phenolic phytochemicals), which prevent the lipids circulating in our body from oxidation. Cocoa has nearly twice the number of antioxidants of red wine and three times the amount of green tea! The Harvard School of Public Health discovered that people who eat sweets up to three times per month live about a year longer than people who abstain from sweets entirely.

Today, the world consumes more than three million tons of cocoa beans annually, much of it pressed into the cocoa powder that makes the main ingredient of hot cocoa, which is consumed in every country of the world

Our two brands of hot cocoa mix, Sippity® and Sippity Lite®, are proud to be part of this great history.

dry mix beveragesWritten by Bob Jenkins, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Beverages®

Bob has had the privilege of working for some of America’s largest and well run public and private companies, including Philip Morris, Canada Dry, Dr Pepper, Cadbury Schweppes, Snapple Beverage Corporation, Tasker Capital Corp. and The Water Club and River Cafe – two of New York’s finest fine dining restaurants. He has worked in various capacities as Finance Manager, Controller, Director of Finance, Vice President Finance & Administration, Chief Financial Officer, Secretary, and Treasurer.

Bob holds a Masters of Business Administration degree in accounting from the University of Tennessee and a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Arizona.

Southwest Beverages® is a manufacturer and marketer of two brands of premium quality dry mix beverages: Sippity® hot cocoa mixand Kemosabe® gourmet flavored coffee. All Southwest Beverages® products are uniquely blended flavors that contain all the ingredients necessary for you to enjoy the ultimate hot beverage experience. Simply add water and stir-then sip, savor and enjoy.

For more information, please visit www.southwestbeverages.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Southwest Beverages®?Send your topic idea to [email protected].

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