Header for The Collectors comparison

Drinking Chocolate and Tea

People engaged in social rituals around the drinking of chocolate in viceregal Mexico and tea in the British colonies. Each culture had its own special cups and other utensils to be used when drinking these beverages on social occasion.


Cocoa Cup Franz Mayer Collection 18th Century Mexican
Tea Pot Bayou Bend Collection 1728 - 1748 New York
Cocoa Cup
Franz Mayer Collection
Tea Pot
Bayou Bend Collection

18th Century

view large image
(59K, 22 sec on 28K)

New York

view large image
(66K, 24 sec on 28K)

A Chocolate Cup

This elaborately carved coconut cup set in a silver mount was used to drink chocolate.

A Teapot

The teapot was used to brew and serve tea.

Drinking Chocolate
The Maya and Aztec elite drank a bitter mixture of cacao beans and water which they introduced to the Spaniards. The Spanards mixed cacao beans with water, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon to create a sweeter drink that soon became popular throughout Europe. For almost 100 years, Spain kept the secret of how to make bitter chocolate sweeter to suit European tastes.

Drinking Tea
By the mid-1600s Americans were importing tea from China. When this teapot was made, only the rich could afford to drink tea. By the late 1700s the price of tea fell and tea-drinking was more widespread.

Popularity of Chocolate
These cups are often mentioned in inventories from the 1600s and 1700s and reflect the aristocratic taste for drinking chocolate daily.

Popularity of Tea
The small size of this teapot - it is only inches - indicates that tea was expensive and highly prized. Later as tea became less expensive and more popular, teapots became larger.

Learn more about the history of drinking chocolate:

[General Audience]
[For Kids]


Learn more about the history of drinking tea:

[General Audience]
[For Kids]


image of a line divider
Home | The Collectors | Franz Mayer | Ima Hogg | The Collections | The Museums | Bayou Bend | Franz Mayer Museum
Exhibition | Collectors and their Collections | For Teachers | Cultural Exchange | For Families | Timeline | About this Website | Site Map
Museum of Fine Arts Houston | College of Education, UH

Graphic links to MFAH, College of Education and University of Houston

link to museum of fine arts houston link to college of education at the university of houston link to the university of Houston website
Link to the comparison page for the collectors Link to comparison page for the museums Link to the comparison page for the collections Link to home page of The Granduer of Vice Regal Mexico