A Tasty History
As we were saying.... The Mayans cultivated cacao all the way back in 900 A.D., great year ;) It was also cultivated in Central South America across the northern regions. But lets go way back to the beginning ....
It is believed that the cacao tree was first discovered and people began utilizing its fruit in Ecuador's southern amazon region. Archeologists found traces of what is believed to be cacao bean in ceramics of the Mayo-Chinchipe culture dating back to 3,300 B.C.! The cultivation then would've spread through northern South America and Central America.
The Olmecs called cacao 'kakawa'. They believed the feathered serpent god Kukulkan gave cacao to humans.
The Olmec word for Cacao was diffused into the Mayan language later still as 'kakawa'. After the Aztecs took over they called it 'xocolatl' meaning 'bitter water'. It was later called Theobroma Cacao by a Swedish naturalist, which in Greek means 'food of the Gods.' This makes sense as you will see how important cacao was to the Mesoamerican Societies!
First off, in the creation story Popol Vuh of the Maya cacao plays an integral role in various stories. The Maya believed humans were created out of corn, but also that cacao was an essential ingredient for stability and balance. So our relationship with cacao stretches all the way back to the beginning, of the beginning. Cacao was a gift from the Gods.
In the Mayan society people drank kakawa everyday, and it was also a big part of important rituals. They would add chili as well for a spicy bitter drink!
The Mayans eventually traded cacao beans like money. They bought and sold goods with cacao beans. When the Aztecs took over the Mayans were taxed in the form of cacao. The Aztecs even had a cacao festival as well.
Cacao has multiple health benefits the Mayans and Aztecs enjoyed. They believed it would increase the speed of recovery, increase stamina and strength, had medicinal properties, and take away the want of food. No wonder it was believed to be a gift from the Gods! It is so Godlike!
It wasn't until the Spanish conquered and took cacao back to Europe where chocolate was developed. With the creation of chocolate, we got a new treat but the health benefits of cacao were mostly lost in the processing of cacao into chocolate.
SOOOOO.... here at Téo we are bringing ancient goodness back in the form of tea infused blends to add flavor and variety to a lost delicacy!
Our name Téo is short for teobromina which is Spanish for theobromine. Enjoy the delicious and bold flavors of our blends and enjoy the food of the Gods with all their super human health benefits ;)
It's Téo time!