1,000 Years Ago, Caffeinated Drinks Had Native Americans Buzzing

Sep 21, 2015

Patricia Crown

By Murray Carpenter

Feeding a caffeine habit is no sweat in our day and age: Just raid the office kitchen for some tea or hit one of the coffee shops that pepper the landscape.

But 1,000 years ago, Native Americans in the American Southwest and Mexican Northwest were getting their buzz on in landscapes where no obvious sources of caffeine grew, according to new findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research shows that people in the arid region — who had no nearby sources of caffeine — not only made drinks from cacao, the seed that is used to make chocolate, but also brewed drinks from the leaves and twigs of yaupon holly. That suggests that they had developed pretty extensive networks to trade caffeinated products between 750 and 1400 AD.


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