Ceremonial Cacao - What Is It?
Learn about ceremonial grade cacao and what sets it apart from store-bought chocolate & cocoa.
In this short article you’ll learn:
- What is ceremonial grade cacao
- The bean-to-bar process that produces the highest quality cacao
- Why it can be totally affordable and not overpriced
- Does cacao contain caffeine?
- Next steps on making your ceremonial cacao drink & doing cacao ceremony
An Introduction to Ceremonial Cacao
Also known as Sacred Cacao, this plant medicine has many benefits for our physical & spiritual well-being. However, to experience the effects & power of cacao, there are 4 main criteria that must be followed in the creation of ceremonial cacao. It must be:
- 100% Pure Cacao
- Intentionally Produced With Love & Respect
- Grown, Harvested & Processed Properly
- Single-Origin Sourced
100% Pure Cacao, Nothing Added or Removed
- Cocoa powder has been defatted & industrially processed
- Chocolate has sugar, additives (like soy lecithin) and is most commonly made by re-combining cacao in different forms
- Many products labeled 'cacao' still have the cacao butter removed. You can tell if the nutrition profile has fats at far less than 50% by weight
It's fine to add other ingredients to your cacao at home, but it's important to start with the pure stuff first.
The Power of Intention
The intention we hold is the foundation to everything we do. It is the underlying values & beliefs that inform our actions. For ceremonial cacao, it's vital that the intention behind it is one of love & respect.
For the Earth, the Farmers & Our Communities
Ceremonial Cacao: From Bean to Bar
To produce consistent quality ceremonial cacao, each step must rely on best practices in farming, fermentation & finished processing. This creates a system of transparent steps that we can benchmark to understand quality, instead of simply relying on the term "ceremonial cacao". Anyone can say they have high quality cacao, but the details of each step reveal whether the art & science of bean to bar processing is being optimized.
On the Farm
- Climate & Weather
- Adequate ground mulch
- Rain & Irrigation
Like any high-quality product, it's essential to start with the best of the best!
In the shop
Beyond Fair Trade
At embue, instead of relying on vast multi-national fair-trade companies that take part of the cut, we have direct relationships with our source and still pay over 25% higher than fair trade minimums prices.
The Importance of Sourcing Single-Origin Cacao
The vast majority of cacao products out there are produced by combining cacao from large regions and processing it all together until all the unique nuances are lost. That's how we get generic chocolate flavor. In contrast, single-origin cacao has as much nuance as fine wine.
Unique Taste & Energetics
Why Ceremonial Cacao Can Be Affordable
Understanding everything that goes into producing this premium product, it can be tempting to think it must be extremely expensive. While this can be the case with some providers, it's important to know that this medicine can be affordable to all. While industrially produced chocolate will always be cheaper (and inferior!), ceremonial cacao doesn't have to break the bank.
Medicine For The People
For this reason, embue cacao has always been one of the most affordable ceremonial cacao products available. We are often 40% less expensive that comparable competitors, and sometimes up to 85% or more! Not only is this something that is essential to our mission, it's also how we built our business. We have focused on organic growth instead of paid ads and a direct relationship with our source, so that allows us to keep our overhead low and prices reasonable.
Does Cacao Contain Caffeine?
There is often confusion about whether or not ceremonial cacao contains caffeine. This is because cacao is a naturally stimulating food, but that energy source comes primarily from Theobromine, a bitter alkaloid.
While theobromine & caffeine have some things in common, cacao compared to coffee is:
- More focused on the heart (compared to the central nervous system)
- More grounded and less jittery feeling
- A superfood source of nutrients & essential minerals
- Around 50% by weight healthy fats, which helps the body integrate the stimulating effects
Cacao does contain both caffeine & theobromine. However, the amount of theobromine is 5-10 higher than the caffeine, making it the primary psychoactive compound in cacao.
- The caffeine content in cacao ranges from about 0.1 - 0.3 % by weight
- A cacao drink containing 1-ounce of pure cacao has around 60mg of caffeine, which is close to a strong cup of black tea (avg. 47 mg caffeine), and only about 2/3's the amount in an 8-ounce cup of coffee (95mg caffeine)
- The theobromine content in cacao ranges from about 1-2% by weight, so a cacao drink with 1-ounce of pure cacao has around 450mg theobromine.
Using Ceremonial Cacao
Now that you understand what ceremonial cacao is, the next step is figuring out what to do with it!
Ceremonial Cacao Recipe
- 1.5 ounces cacao (4-5 tablespoons)
- 7 ounces of water
- Pinch of cayenne
- Sweetener to taste
Click here for the full Ceremonial Cacao Recipe
Have Your Own Cacao Ceremony
If we're busy, distracted, or waiting for cacao to do something to us, that's the energy it will reflect back to us. If we're present, receptive, and showing up with reverence for the cacao, it will open doors for us that can be profound.
Click here to read the full article on How To Have A Cacao Ceremony
Now here are your next steps:
- If you don’t already have ceremonial grade cacao (or if you want to upgrade to the world’s best), purchase yours here: Ceremonial Grade Cacao
- Read our post on How to Have Your Own Cacao Ceremony
- Once you’ve experienced cacao ceremony for yourself, if you want to learn more about this amazing practice and what it can do for you and others, learn more about our signature cacao ceremony training, Into the Heart