What is ceremonial cacao?
What is Ceremonial Cacao?
All cacao comes from Theobroma Cacao, a small evergreen tree in the family Malvaceae, native to the deep tropical regions of Mesoamerica. However not all cacao is equal as there are many different varieties of cacao, different qualities and different therapeutic properties. Just like wine cacao also has different grades and calibers that differentiate normal cacao to ceremonial cacao. To be considered ceremonial grade cacao it must tick all the boxes outlined below:
1. It is pure full cacao-bean paste – the cacao paste block (or drops) must be prepared from only 100% pure organic cacao beans that have been naturally sun-dried, hand-peeled and milled to form the paste. Nothing added, nothing removed. It is cacao is it’s purest form beautifully blended in its own full-fat to produce a creamy 100% pure block. Once it has added flavours, fats, other ingredients, it is no longer considered ceremonial.
Versus non ceremonial cacao - The cacao powder in the supermarket has been processed to remove the fat component and can often also contain additives, fillers or sweeteners. Chocolate and bars of cacao paste often have additives, emulsifiers, additives, flavours, other ingredients, milk solids, sugars.
Our 100% pure ceremonial cacao paste
2. It has an indigenous tribal origin and is made from premium hand-selected single-origin Criollo (native) cacao beans from Central or South America - All cacao originated in the Amazon of Peru and spread through the Americas as far north as Mexico where it was used as a sacred medicine by indigenous tribes of this region for spiritual practice. This specific cacao has a spiritual origin, intended use and long 7500+ year history. It is known as ancestral cacao and considered a gift from the gods to the indigenous people of these lands known as Abya Yala (meaning the blood of the earth). As it was gifted to these people of the land it is considered sacred and must be of indigenous origin from this region to be classified as ceremonial. This type of Criollo or ancestral cacao is the most premium cacao famous for its incredibly aromatic flavour and aroma as well as containing the highest levels of medicinal components. It is however very delicate, low yielding and requires careful attention and support from the jungle canopy to thrive. This variety is not used for mass production as it cannot produce on a large scale. For authentic ceremonial cacao the pods are individually hand-picked with permission from the tree, blessed before harvest and inspected for imperfections and beans are graded to select only the finest.
Versus non ceremonial cacao - Most commercially produced cacao is made from different varieties of cacao that are more resistant, higher yielding but not as aromatic and medicinal, with lower levels of bio-active compounds. All cacao outside of South and Central America was selected only for mass production of chocolate for the chocolate industry. It therefore shouldn't be used in spiritual practice and ceremony.
Our farmer Rolando carefully hand-selecting pods
3. It is 100% organic shade-grown under a natural agroforestry canopy – Cacao pods are porous and they absorb the aromas and energies of the plants that surround them. Neighbouring trees containing fruits like banana or papaya have the ability to infuse the flavour of the cacao and enhance the profile and sensory experience when using it in ceremony. True ceremonial cacao comes from this agroforestry environment and the cacao produced not only contains the flavours of the jungle that surround it but also the energy and vibration of the environment, further enhancing the spiritual connection of the user to the Amazonian spirit.
Versus non ceremonial cacao - Most cacao is now produced from mono-cropped trees at the expense of the jungle by farmers who burn out areas to mass cultivate for bigger yields. Often using immature or damaged pods, weak or wounded cacao and pooling all beans from all sources together into a blend. To hide imperfections in flavour these beans are often roasted to create a more chocolate flavour.
Agroforestry promotes biodiversity, protects the jungle and makes better quality cacao
4. It is blessed by the indigenous owners of the land and produced with respect to their traditional customs : All cacao comes from indigenous communities where the people have used it ceremonially for thousands of years as a sacred plant medicine. It is essential that the ancestral owners of the cacao are involved in the production process including blessing the soil, trees, pods and paste throughout the process and that reverence is upheld towards the culturally sensitive aspects of the people from the farming community. We are honoured to be given access to their sacred plant medicines and require their blessings in order for us to use it energetically clean. The cacao ceremony starts when the seeds are planted. Happy trees, happy farmers and a happy community provides clean pure happy, high-vibrational cacao. Ensuring we are culturally sensitive with the way the cacao is produced and exported is essential and one big differences between ceremonial grade cacao and simple cacao paste. The intentions of the producer will determine the energetics of the final product.
Versus non ceremonial cacao – most cacao now days is produced through farmer exploitation, child-slave labour, comes from unhappy trees, forced production against the laws of nature or from Western companies profiting off the backs of indigenous people.
Cacao has 5000 years of ceremonial history in the Americas with the indigenous people
5. It is packed with health enhancing bio actives to awaken your heart chakra and heal your body : Biochemical analysis of our ceremonial cacao paste showed significantly higher levels of several key medicinal components compared to normal cacao paste or other cacao based products and powders. The reality is that ceremonial grade cacao is far more powerful as a plant medicine due to all the reasons outlined above. The result is more bliss, more energy, more happiness, more joy, more satisfaction, more awakening and more uplifting occurs when you take ceremonial cacao vs other cacao products. It is pure and transformative as a plant medicine, very different from just cacao powder or supermarket chocolate.
Cacao is at powerful superfood, packed with nutrients and health enhancing bio-actives