It wasn’t always hot and most definitely anything but sweet:
The Mayans were the first ones to start grinding up the cacao seeds and consume the paste as a cold beverage after mixing it with water and spices. The mix couldn’t have been sweetened in any way, as there was no sugar growing in the Americas at the time. Even the word chocolate is believed to have been derived from the Mayan word ‘xocolatl’, which means ‘bitter water’. Although the beverage wasn’t sweet, it still had a kick to it with the traditional addition of ground up chilli peppers. The Mayans used to pour it back and forth from one vessel to another, as to achieve the appearance of foam, which would deem the mixture drinkable
Both the Mayans and the Aztects used the cacao seeds as currency under their own barter economy system:
They weren’t exactly the most prized currency, as precious metals and ‘luxury items’ presented more value in the exchange rate, but important enough to be able to trade freely at any marketplace. Virtually anything could be purchased from the local vendors using only cacao beans – foods such as meat, fruits and spices, and various household items (200 cacao beans were the equivalent of 1/8th of a peso or 1 Tomin.
Raw cacao has a myriad of great health benefits in store for our bodies:
It’s extremely rich in flavonoids or natural antioxidants. That means raw cacao is very efficient in protecting our cells from free radicals and our bodies from ageing. It’s also full of useful elements such as iron, magnesium, chromium and calcium. Furthermore, cacao can be used as a natural antidepressant, as it contains serotonin, dopamine, anandamide and phenylethylamine – the four neurotransmitters that play a big role in improving one’s mood, promote the feeling of happiness, and improve mental state.