The Art of Making Molinillos: Crafting Tradition and Connecting to Cacao
Molinillos, also known as Cacao whisks, are an essential tool in traditional Cacao preparation. These intricately crafted wooden whisks can emulsify the fat of Cacao and create creamy elixirs that awaken the spirit of Cacao.
The molinillo invokes the air element during a Cacao ceremony, known as "tatya wayra." It is the masculine component that balances the feminine energy of Cacao and brings it to life.
Meet Juan Alonso: Our Molinillo Maker
The art of molinillo-making has been passed down through generations in Mexico, and Juan Alonso is a master craftsman who has spent over 56 years perfecting the craft.
Like his father and grandfather before him, he continues this ancient tradition of bringing Cacao to life by constructing molinillos. From Santa Maria del Rayon, Mexico, known as the home of the molinillo, Juan Alonso has created a family business that aims to protect and conserve the ancient Cacao traditions that date back thousands of years. He and his sons work day in and day out to craft each piece from a single block of the sustainably produced Andean alder tree. Each piece is unique and made with what he calls "hands, head, and heart."
How A Molinillo is Crafted
The production of a molinillo is a very intricate process and requires a level of skill and finesse. It is not just a tool, but a work of art that embodies the rich cultural heritage of Cacao preparation.
Each piece is carefully crafted from a single block of sustainably produced Andean alder tree. To start the process, the wood is put into a lathe, and with a set of chisels, it is expertly shaped while it spins. This intricate process takes hours to perfect, as the shape of the molinillo must be just right for it to function properly. After shaping, a colouring technique called "quemado" is applied, giving the molinillo its distinctive look. To finish, each molinillo is manually decorated by hand before being ready for use in Cacao preparation.
Different Sizes of Molinillo
Whether you're preparing Cacao for yourself or a group, there's a molinillo size that suits your needs.
For individual use or a small gathering, the 15-cm molinillo is ideal. If you're sharing Cacao with 2–5 people, the 23-cm size is perfect for mixing in a bowl. For larger groups of 5–20 people, the 35cm size can mix a large vessel of Cacao. And for practitioners serving 20 or more people, the 38cm size is the go-to choice.
Continuing A Legacy: Meet Juan Esteban
Juan Esteban is a fifth-generation artisan who chose to continue the family legacy by following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.
He is committed to preserving the authentic traditions of molinillo-making and letting more people know more about this ancient tool and the rich heritage of Cacao.
Seleno Health's Promise to Support
At Seleno Health, we are committed to supporting the preservation of an ancient tradition like molinillo-making and giving more visibility to the amazing artisans behind this craft. Our goal is to contribute to a fair trade economy that will benefit both Cacao farmers and molinillo makers by creating a marketplace for high-quality, sustainably sourced tools. We believe that by working together, we can create a more equitable and vibrant Cacao culture.
By purchasing one of our premium-quality molinillos, you are directly supporting the artisans behind this ancient craft and contributing to a fairer economy for all involved in the Cacao trade. Thank you for being part of this mission by supporting the work of Juan Alonso and his family.
You may browse our selection of molinillos here.
Together, we can make a difference in the way Cacao is traded and consumed. Thank you for joining us on this journey!