Updated: Nov 23, 2022
Ceremonial Cacao, Raw Cacao, Cocoa, Ethical Cacao, its time to demystify these terms and the pricing and empower you!
I am so often asked this question and also how to understand the differences especially when some are over $80 for 500gs..
In essence in the ancient times there was no such thing as ceremonial Cacao. Cacao was Cacao! Honoured, loved and used as the amazing support that She is! In very early times, she was used daily by all in the village and as time progressed She became more exclusive used as a currency and only consumed mainly by the upper hierarchy, and it is even said the women and children weren’t allowed to have Cacao, but the Healers always knew of her power and how she was a true food of the people. A true balancer and heart opener.
Calling Cacao ‘Ceremonial Cacao’ is actually a modern addition, started by Keith’s Cacao in Guatemala, where Keith noticed the amazing effect of Cacao when doing workshops, 20 years ago, and so the west termed it Ceremonial Cacao. When in fact Keith was simply offering Cacao in her purest most potent form – the whole bean..
As we said Cacao was and is Cacao. And this blog I hope will simplify this for you and empower you in your choices and the possibility to have her daily.
So traditionally, the whole cacao bean was scooped from its pod with its fruit, fermented in its own fruit for several days following local tradition and variety, sun dried, gently roasted, peeled and ground by stone into a paste. Once ground into the paste, the paste would go hard and and was stored to make cacao drinks. This is 100% Cacao Paste, as it was traditionally used, as Keith started to offer it to the West.
This is ancient true cacao, used for energy, support, mental wellness, clarity and a carrier for many other medicines and psycho active drugs. She was known for her incredible varied support.
That paste was mixed with water and many other options, in many ways depending on the regions, villages, traditions and desired outcome!
And so you too can make your own Cacao Paste at home, just like the ancients, and you can have a modern day cacao ceremony by having it with presence and mindfulness. But ceremonial Cacao was never ‘a thing’. Cacao Herself, was definitely a thing and was one of the biggest traded commodities in Mesoamerica, and when the Spanish came, they brought Her to Europe where She continued as a drink, made from the whole bean with sugar added. It was only in the late 1800’s that Cacao became chocolate and cocoa when it was discovered how to separate the bean in cacao butter and cacao powder..
In cacao paste you are paying for cacao beans, and if you know what the farmer is being paid amazing, you are paying for the roasting, peeling, grinding and setting and if this is being done by hand wonderful, because people are being paid for this work, you also are paying for packaging, transport and marketing. .All of these steps can also be done by industrial machinery, even in ceremonial cacao.
And so it starts with the beans. Some of the highest priced beans in the world is actually in Samoa – where locally a farmer earns $12 per kg. However even organic fairtrade farmers for the finest beans might only receive $5.50 per kg.
If say in best case scenario a farmer earns $8 per kg for their beans. This is VERY RARE!
A cacao company will loose 25% of the weight on roasting, so the beans will cost them $10.
If you pay $80 for 500gs, this is $160per kg which is 20 times what the farmer gets above.
In NZ you can buy 1kg of Cacao beans for $28.00. Crack, roast, peel, grind in a spice grinder, keep the peel for Cacao husk tea and you have your own 1kg of paste for just over $30 plus your own cacao husk tea.
Is marketed ceremonial cacao, even with the health properties listed, better then your homemade paste? Absolutely not!
This is plant medicine – if you set an intention, if you are present then your paste will be full of Mama Cacao’s Power. If your beans have been consciously cared for, if the farmers who have grown the beans looked after, if someone who is aware of the power of Mama Cacao is working with the trees, then incredible medicine is in those beans because there is active conscious collaboration with Mama Cacao taking place.
When it comes to Mama Cacao, nothing can be put in a box, or on a box – she is plant medicine, she changes seasonally, she adapts to the farmers intention, she adapts to your intention, she is a pure Divine super Universal power in flow and on this level the biggest hug in a mug..
The purpose of this blog is to educate you so you can discern and make your own choices and know more then anything that Cacao is a daily food. This is what She wants, this gives us mental wellness, clarity and support. Just like in ancient times in the villages..
Ask of every company who makes ceremonial cacao – how much the farmer is paid, who are the farmers, how is the paste actually crafted, how much profit does the company make..
Ask questions at this level because Cacao if ceremonial should be 100% ethical, support 1000% the lives of the farmers, is 1000% transparent and you the consumer are empowered like never before to understand what is cacao and how she can help you in your life daily!!
Mama Cacao is here for us DAILY, fully, affordably, if you understand the ground..the rest is in your hands!