Xocolātl: Coffee Meets Chocolate

Chances are, you wouldn’t much like xocolātl as it was originally served by the Mayans. The word, which would later become better known as ‘chocolate,’ translates literally into ‘bitter water’ — and that’s how the Mayans, and later the Aztecs drank it.

The age of contact with the Europeans brought the sugar trade, but also the conquistadors — so by the time the Mesoamericans might have had a sweetener for the bitter cocoa beans, their invention was already being reinvented in Europe. 

The Mayans and Aztecs drank their prototypical hot chocolate (mixed with chili peppers, no less) as if it were nectar of the gods. Indeed, the belief that cocoa beans were a gift from on high informed its high value in ancient Mesoamerican culture, which held that chocolate could cure everything from headaches and stomach aches to heart disease and cancer. The legendary Aztec king Montezuma even made xocolātl a part of the social hierarchy, only allowing those who served in the military to drink it.

Perhaps most surprising, the Mayans and Aztecs invented frothing, by passing the hot chocolate from goblet to goblet until a foam developed. When Cortes’ army encountered the Aztecs, they described a beverage “all frothed up” — which they would take back to Europe, where the cocoa bean met the coffee bean.

That union of cocoa and coffee bean is what’s going on with Sakrid’s Xocolātl offering, which comes from a part of the world where coffee and chocolate started a long, storied history together.

Try it — you’ll be glad you did.

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