Cups with Handles and a Brief History of Chocolate

Chocolate came to Europe in the 1700s from colonial America. The Aztecs and Mayans had used it in religious and political ceremonies. When the Spanish were first given it, they noted the “pleasurable physiological effects of this commodity, which contains chemical agents that act like amphetamines” (Levack 568). Noting these pleasurable effects, and the fact that chocolate was grown in non-Christian lands, clerics denounced it as a vice and “the work of Satan” (Levack 568).

Cups with Handles are a direct result of changing trade patterns in the 1700s, when the Atlantic Economy developed. Why? Because this was the first time that chocolate, coffee, and tea became part of Europeans’ habits of consumption. Prior to this, Europeans did not drink hot beverages. Hot chocolate was the first hot beverage, closely followed by coffee and tea. Without international trade with the colonies, such cups would never have been invented.

The Aztecs had had the custom of scooping foam from the top of a chocolate drink; Europeans adopted this habit. Demand for sugar increased as Europeans wanted sweeter chocolate, coffee and tea. Sugar plantations, therefore, became even more important to the economy.

Eventually, by the 19th C (1800s) sweetened chocolate became a candy.

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One thought on “Cups with Handles and a Brief History of Chocolate

  1. It is very important that the spanish brought back the chocolate from the New World. If they hadn’t traded with the Aztecs and Mayans, we may have never discovered it as we know it today. One thing that is a little farfetched, though, is how chocolate is compared to amphetamines. Although chocolate does have some soothing and mood-changing effects, I don’t think it should really be compared to a drug.

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