What Ancient Civilization Drank Hot Chocolate?

Hot chocolate is a beloved drink enjoyed by millions around the world. But did you know that its origins can be traced back to an ancient civilization? In this article, we will explore the history of hot chocolate and discover which ancient civilization first indulged in this delicious beverage.

The Origins of Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate, also known as cocoa, is made from cocoa beans which are native to Central and South America. These beans were first cultivated by the Mayans over 2000 years ago. The Mayans believed that cocoa was a gift from their gods and used it in religious ceremonies and as a form of currency.

Mayan Hot Chocolate

The Mayans made hot chocolate by roasting cocoa beans and then grinding them into a paste. This paste was mixed with water, chili peppers, and other spices to create a bitter and spicy drink. The hot chocolate was then frothed using a special tool called a molinillo which created a thick foam on top.

Aztec Hot Chocolate

The Aztecs also enjoyed hot chocolate but prepared it differently than the Mayans. They ground the cocoa beans into a fine powder before mixing it with water, vanilla, and other spices like cinnamon and honey. The Aztecs believed that hot chocolate had medicinal properties and used it to treat ailments such as fatigue and fever.

European Arrival

Hot chocolate remained in Central and South America until the arrival of European explorers in the 16th century. The Spanish conquistadors were introduced to hot chocolate by the Aztecs who served it to them during their travels through Mexico.

The Spaniards were so taken with this new beverage that they brought cocoa beans back to Europe where they quickly became popular among royalty. The Spanish added sugar to sweeten the bitter taste of cocoa and soon began adding milk to create a creamier drink.

Which Ancient Civilization Drank Hot Chocolate?

So, which ancient civilization first indulged in hot chocolate? The answer is both the Mayans and the Aztecs. Hot chocolate was an important part of both civilizations and played a significant role in their society and culture.

Today, hot chocolate is enjoyed all over the world and has become a beloved treat during the colder months. Whether you prefer it spicy like the Mayans or sweet like the Europeans, there is no denying that hot chocolate has a rich and delicious history.

  • Mayans made hot chocolate with water, chili peppers, and other spices
  • Aztecs used cocoa powder mixed with water, vanilla, cinnamon, and honey
  • Spaniards added sugar to sweeten and milk to make it creamier


In conclusion, hot chocolate has been enjoyed by various civilizations throughout history. Its origins can be traced back to Central and South America where the Mayans and Aztecs first cultivated cocoa beans.

Today, we can enjoy this delicious beverage in different variations all over the world. So next time you indulge in a cup of hot chocolate, remember its rich history!