Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Cocoa brew in history

Scholars in the field of genetics investigating the origins of cocoa beans have suggested that the origins of wild cocoa trees are found to be at multiple locations, probably within the Oronico and Amazon River basins (present-day Colombia and Venezuela) prior to 1900 BC.

The earliest evidence showed that cocoa was first consumed by the people of Mokaya, one of the earliest Mesoamerican cultural groups, from 1900 to 1500 BC

The distinctive Mesoamerican style of cacao preparation involved fermenting cacao beans, drying them, optionally toasting them, grinding them, and mixing them with water in a thick bitter suspension. Invading Europeans came to appreciate this beverage, giving rise to the modern chocolate industry.

Recently researchers from University of Pennsylvania discovered high-necked jar in the shape of a cacao pod, corresponding to a type produced and probably used for serving an alcoholic beverage made from cacao pulp. Chemical analysis demonstrates that cacao beverages were consumed at Puerto Escondido (Honduras) at least as early as 1100 B.C., some 500 years earlier than previously documented. This jar was likely filled with a fermented chocolate beverage made from ripe chocolate fruit.

The evidence indicates that, long before the flavor of the cacao seed (or bean) became popular, it was the sweet pulp of the chocolate fruit, used in making a fermented (5% alcohol) beverage, which first drew attention to the plant in the Americas.

Like grape wine, rice wine, and barley beer in the Old World, chocolate “wine” went on to become the prerogative of royalty and the elite generally, and a focus of religion in the New World.
Cocoa brew in history