Ancient pottery reveals thatthe product we call chocolate today is almost unrecognizable when compared to the original beverage. Modern mass-market chocolate is more sugar than cacao, while chocolate's original form was the opposite. Modern chocolate has evolved from the Mesoamericans’ deified beverage, which had ingredients added for appearance and ceremony more so than taste. Even its name was the opposite of sweet.Xócoatl, the cacao beverage from which chocolate bars emerged, is best translated from the Aztec language as"bitter or acidic water." (source in Spanish).
Mesoamerican cacao beverages were prepared for both ceremonial and daily purposes, using only cacao beans, water, and spices. Some recipes may have used local honey as a sweetener. The cacao beans used were grown and processed on plantations belonging to peoples throughout the region, so the quality of early cacao was likely inconsistent. Commonly-added spices include annatto, vanilla, and chile, while poorer people also added ground corn to stretch their drink. This is similar to how modern chocolate manufacturers add sugar and cheap oils to chocolate to increase their products’ volume.