When, in the 18th century, scientists like Pascal and others laid the basis of modern science, the medical potential of chocolate faded into the background while its nutritious and delicious values gained ground. The recipe for the chocolate drink at the same time became simpler and more purified: cocoa, sugar, vanilla and milk or water became the major players, while musk, amber and medical ingredients were left out.
Enjoying the taste of good chocolate became more important than its potential for curing ailments of all sorts. Many chocolate museums today show beautiful collections of 18th century chocolate china. A logical conclusion from this would lead us to say that drinking chocolate must have been very popular then. The reality was quite the opposite: its consumption stayed far below that of the already popular coffee and tea and was limited to rare occasions and – because of its very high price – it could only be enjoyed in the highest ranks of society
1725: Botanist Henry Sloane dedicates the first complete monograph to the cocoa tree.
1726: King George I raises taxes on chocolate sales and consumption.
1728: The family Fry sets up the first chocolate factory in Bristol, UK, using hydraulic machinery and equipment to process and grind the cocoa beans.
1732: The French artisan Debuisson invents a table to grind cocoa. It still needs manpower but it makes the processing more efficient and the hard work a little more comfortable.
1737: The cocoa tree gets an official Latin botanical name from Linnaeus: Theobroma cacao. The name refers to the mythical background of the tree and means literally: “cocoa, food of the gods”.
Although cocoa originates from the Americas, the United States only got to know chocolate in 1765. It was John Hannon – an English state commissioner – who first introduced it there. Together with Dr. James Baker, they built the first chocolate factory in Massachusetts.
1778: In France, Doret built the first machine that automatically ground cocoa beans.