The origin of Chocolate dates back 4000 years to the time when the Mayas undertook a massive migration from Central America to the Amazon or Orinoco basin of South America. While the Mayas may have been familiar with the cacao tree for a couple of centuries, the first known Cacao plantations were found in the Yucatan Peninsula in A.D. 600. Coco beans were highly valued and used as currency and as a bitter frothy cold drink enjoyed by the wealthy. The Mayas called it the “drink of the gods”. The Aztecs believed that wisdom and power came from eating the fruit of the cocoa tree, and that it had nourishing and fortifying qualities.
It was not until 1502 that Europeans first learned about these wonderful beans. In the early 1700s, chocolate houses began opening in Europe to rival the many coffee houses. In 1848 the Dutch chemist Conrad, Van Houten, added cocoa butter and sugar to chocolate liquor to produce the first eating chocolate. And we’ve been eating it ever since.
Ecuador: Flavor Capital of the World
Unlike the forastero chocolate beans that go into the majority of mass produced chocolate, the chocolate beans grown in Ecuador produce a fruity, floral chocolate full of old world flavor. These beans are called criollo or flavor beans. While criollo beans are more expensive to produce, they yield an exceptional fruity chocolate that is very unique. Ecuador is the flavor bean capital of the world producing over 70 tons of criollo flavor beans each year.
We would love to sit down with you over a cup of hot chocolate, hear what is going on in your life and share the vision God has given us for ministry in Loja, Ecuador. To get in touch with us, see our Contact Us page.
Jeff & Terri