The history of cocoa is very old. Evidence of the first consumption of cocoa are dates back to 1900 BC, when cocoa pulp was used in Mexico as a source of fermentable sugar. In 400 AD, it was a hot and bitter beverage for the Maya in ceremonial purposes, and a cold beverage for the Aztecs in the 15th century. The Aztecs called their power potion, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue, Xocolatl, the word from which chocolate is extracted.
Cocoa is famous for its health benefits. The list is long, reaching from lower blood pressure to the prevention of heart diseases and diabetes. This is because cocoa contains several important nutrients, such as magnesium, iron, antioxidants, calcium, unsaturated fats and neurotransmitters, such as endorphin, which supports happiness and motivation. However, in order to really benefit from the power of cocoa it is advised to consume cocoa in its raw form, where nothing is added.
Cocoa is also found in a number of other products, such as beauty products, liqueur, and animal feed. Nonetheless, the most popular one is chocolate.
Due to a growing taste for chocolate, there is anxiety that consumers will be facing a cocoa bean shortage of 1 million tons by 2020, unless production can be increased to meet the growing demand. To tackle this issue, agriculture and, in particular, cocoa farming needs to be more attractive as an occupation and the industry has to be better organized. This is one of the challenges that must be solved in order to benefit from cocoa production and satisfy future international demand.
Did you know?
The name of the cocoa tree is theobroma, which means “food of the gods.” The melting point for good chocolate is the temperature within the human mouth.