FCIA Fine Chocolate Glossary

Chocolate, Drinking

Drinking chocolate is chocolate designed to melt in warm water, milk, or alt-milk in order to make a rich chocolate beverage. “Drinking chocolate” may refer to this beverage or the chocolate used to make it.

The chocolate is crafted with high-quality cacao and is commonly presented as shredded or powdered chocolate, or traditional Mexican tablets. It is prepared as a hot beverage and usually consumed hot, or it can also be served cold.

The difference between drinking chocolate and other chocolate-based drinks, such as hot cocoa, is that the drink is prepared with pure dark chocolate, with all of the fat intact, instead of cocoa powder, which has had the cocoa butter removed from the cocoa bean. The quality of drinking chocolate is what gives a chocolate beverage a higher-quality flavor and texture.

It was the Maya and the Aztecs who introduced drinking chocolate. The history of chocolate goes back around 4000 years and for most of this period, chocolate was consumed as a drink rather than a food.

Aztec fine chocolate, called tlaquetzalli (“precious thing”), was made with cacao and water, and was only available to the wealthy and the higher echelons of the Aztec empire. After the conquest, the Spaniards introduced it in Europe where it remained a popular luxury commodity available only for the elite. The era of bitter, medicinal beverages was gradually replaced by a sweetened, creamier drink available to the masses.

Próximamente versión en español

Drinking chocolate; photo courtesy of Mayana®

Drinking chocolate Xocolatl; photo courtesy of Mayana®

How to prepare drinking chocolate with a milk frother

Entry added: May 27, 2023
Verified on: September 14, 2023

Authored by

María Mancini Cenobio, Founder and Chocolate Maker at MAYANA®
Chocolate maker


The Ultimate Drinking Chocolate,” Cocoa Runners, Accessed on June 2, 2023.

The True History of Chocolate, Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe, Thames & Hudson, 2013.

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