Cacao was first cultivated and consumed in Mexico. It takes 5-10 passes to create a very liquid cacao paste. What native communities like the Olmecas, Mayas, and Aztecs used to drink (dark cacao beverages spiced with chilies, flavored with flowers, or colored with seeds) has become a sugary concoction, filled with sugar and milk, more pleasing to Western palates. It helps if you are in a warm area, otherwise you can place a candle or hot ash under the metate to help warm it. After you have roasted, cracked, and separated the nibs from the husks, you place the cacao on the rock and begin to grind it. On the other hand, cocoa powder is made by pressing the cacao nibs (cacao beans without the husk) and removing the cocoa butter, thus using only cocoa powder for the Mexican chocolate drink will not result in an authentic flavor. Nowadays, the Western chocolates that use spices are novelties, whereas, in Mexican chocolate, spices are inherent to the product. The metate, molinillo, chocolatero, and molino remain the single most important tools for making cacao mixes/pastes and for preparing chocolate drinks. The foam carries oxygen into the body. Mexican chocolate refers to the round cinnamon scented chocolate flat disks and the foamy drink that is made from them. Below is an image I took in Guatemala of freshly ground cacao that we stored in banana leaves and let harden. Then they wash the seeds in water to remove pulp and the seeds are dried in the sun for six to 15 days. Example: Dick Taylor, Single Origin Drinking Chocolate Ecuador. Drinking chocolate has a history of over 4,000 years, while chocolate bars, or eating chocolate, has only about 200 years! While each variety has its often very vocal supporters, there really is no way to determine a better type, as the two are very different products. To see the top 5 cacao drinks of Mexico, visit my post here. Did I answer your question or just make things more confusing? Rustic Mexican cacao is refined and enriched in European countries, and the processes for the production of a consistent, smooth product were perfected there—which is the reason that today, when you want to impress someone with a box of chocolate bonbons, you might choose a Belgian or Swiss brand rather than a Latin American one. On the other hand, cocoa powder is made by pressing the cacao nibs (cacao beans without the husk) and removing the cocoa butter, thus using only cocoa powder for the Mexican chocolate drink will not result in an authentic flavor. So although I would never use unfermented cacao to make a high-end chocolate bar, I would use it to make my cacao-based drinks. Chocolate makers cut the fruit, remove the seeds, and put them in a pile for a day or two. They are owned by large companies and contain more sugar than cacao, added vegetable oil, artificial flavors, cocoa powder, or soy lecithin. French Chocolate, Sipping Chocolate, Drinking Chocolate: Made with cocoa powder, chocolate chips or bars, vanilla, milk, and/or heavy cream. This type of chocolate exists in close variations throughout Latin America. And they also contain the most low quality cacao available. Actually, this style of unrefined chocolate is still largely hand-processed. My least favorite would be any drink made with only cocoa powder and mixed with water. But change is happening, and small chocolatiers across Mexico and Latin America are putting their names on the map with quality and competitive products that resemble more the European style of making chocolate. Most molinillos are made entirely from one piece of wood and are considered pieces of art. Even if you purchase the Mexican chocolate in Mexico from Mexicans, you might not know if the cacao is Mexican. Molino. You can find drinking chocolates made entirely with beans from Belize, Nicaragua, Ecuador, or any cacao producing country. 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