Why The Origin Of Chocolate Milk Is So Controversial

Chocolate milk is loved by dairy drinkers of all ages. Often sipped as a treat or as a post-workout recovery fuel, chocolate milk is known to have some surprising health benefits. According to Healthline, the indulgent, creamy beverage is packed with calcium, vitamin D, potassium, protein, and riboflavin. Milk is a complete protein, providing all nine essential amino acids for growth and to keep our bones strong. And when chocolate is generously stirred in, the flavor is more enticing for little ones and those who prefer a hint of sweetness in their meals.

But, where did chocolate milk come from? Who was the first person to inquire, "You know what would make this glass of milk taste even better?" Chocolate milk has, in reality, been around a lot longer than one may believe — and it was first concocted in a perhaps unexpected place. But the drink's origins are often muddled, which has caused disputes between cultures throughout history.

Chocolate milk has been made in Jamaica for centuries

Chocolate milk's story has been up for debate for centuries. Some historians insist that an Irish physician and botanist named Sir Hans Sloane is to thank for the delightful libation. The Natural History Museum in London claims that, when visiting Jamaica in the late 17th century, the doctor was offered cocoa to drink but found the taste to be "nauseous," so he mixed it with milk. When his quest came to an end, Sloane brought the healthy, "new" recipe back with him to England, where it eventually was sold as medicine at apothecaries.

However, despite what the records show, Sloane technically cannot be given credit as the inventor of chocolate milk. The Dairy Alliance states that, way back in 1494, when Christopher Columbus arrived at the tropical islands, the people of Jamaica were whipping up beverages brewed with cocoa shavings, milk, and cinnamon. This theory has been expounded by James Delbourgo, a historian and researcher from Duke University, in a 2011 essay (via Smithsonian Magazine). In other words, Sloane borrowed the chocolate milk formula from the Jamaicans.