We make our Artisanal Cacao Paste inspired by Mesoamerica's traditional beverages, using only Specialty Cacao Beans grown in small farms across:
EL SALVADOR · GUATEMALA · COSTA RICA
How we do it
Our rustic and minimally processed Cacao Paste is made using slow, meticulous artisanal methods with extra care and love. We start by hand sorting the raw cacao beans before gently roasting them to create a unique profile for each cacao origin. Next, we "crack" and "winnow" the beans until they become "cacao nibs" (beans without the husk). We then pour the nibs into our small stone mill, which transforms them into a rustic cacao paste.
Our "ceremonial" cacao is inspired by traditional Mesoamerican beverages. We exclusively choose sustainable and traceable rare cacaos from Mesoamerica, with no added sugar or aromas, and nothing removed. The cacao butter/fat remains in the cacao paste. Our artisanal processes are unique and make our ceremonial cacaos special.
We work directly with specialty cacao beans from our family farm, Finca Cuyancùa, located in El Salvador, as well as other farms in El Salvador such as Finca S.Fernando (Atehuàn), La Carrera (Lenca), Parras Lempa (Tlaloc), and cooperatives across Central America such as Fedecovera - Guatemala (Q'eqchi') and Nahua in Costa Rica (Nahua).
Each of our cacao's has its own specific flavor profile, ranging from earthy to spicy, fruity to floral.
We are vertically integrated and buy cacao directly from the farms for Salvadorean cacaos, and from a trusted partner for those cacaos from Guatemala and Costa Rica.
How to prepare the perfect Cacao Cup?
Once chopped finely, the paste is easy to dissolve in hot water or vegetable "milk", and you can whisk it by hand into a frothy drink or use a blender. You can add from 20 g to 25 g of cacao.
When chopping the cacao, you will see the white spots of cacao butter, which naturally make up around half of the bean’s paste, and create the creamy rich texture of the drink.
There are so many ancient recipes, but for sure, the ancient Mesoamerica cacao drink was made using water and not cow milk. Some ancient recipes recalls the use of achiote, corn, vanilla, honey and chili.
But if you wish to enhance the cacao, you can add any botanicals you want, like ashwagandha, mushrooms (Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps...), maca, ginseng, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cardamom, star anise, cloves, rose petals, lavender, natural vanilla or any other spice or herb you like. You can drink it bitter, but some also like to sweeten the drink with honey, dates and also consider to use dried prunes as an alternative to processed sugars.
Our Cacao is the product of a collaboration of intentions
Why is Cacao called ‘Ceremonial’?
This is still an open debate. "Ceremonial" for us its a very nice form to differentiate this "rustic pure cacao paste and traditional Mesoamerican beverage", from the industrial cacao mass/paste, cacao powder or commercial hot chocolate preparations we usually find in supermarkets, stores and pastry shops, which are mostly unethical, ultra-refined and ultra-processed.
Ceremonial Cacao should be made with the intention to be used as a plant medicine, possibly produced in small scale and with traceable, sustainable ethical cacaos, in order to keep all the nutrients of the cacao itself and to preserve its natural aromas, which are usually lost during high processed industrial processes. This way you will also support the farmers and rural communities, so they won't change their cacaos for other crops, and together, we will preserve the knowledge and wisdom around this beautiful tropical tree.
Cacao in its purest form has been re-discovered as a "planta de poder", a real "superfood" rich in minerals, fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and neurotransmitters these days.
Native civilisations along Mesoamerica, considered cacao part of the sacred, especially the Ancient Mayas , and have known pretty well the multiple benefits and properties it has, but many traditions and cultures were sadly lost during the Spanish invasion and the subsequent colonial period.
The interesting part with the new ceremonial cacao movement these days, is that people are probably discovering this incredible plant and natural drink, which is very different from commercial treats such as industrial chocolates, appreciating also the bitterness and natural new flavours and textures.
Mesoamerica is a historically and culturally defined geographic area comprising current central and south Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, and border regions of Honduras, western Nicaragua, and northwestern Costa Rica. In this region, for millennia, cacao was considered sacred and divine. It was consumed as a natural remedy mostly mixed with water and corn, but also was used as a currency. The last Aztec Emperor, Moctezuma II, used to drink 50 cups of cacao a day.
The entire Yucatán Peninsula together with the Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas, the rest of Guatemala and Belize, as well as the border regions of Honduras and El Salvador, were the home to the Maya civilisation, one of the most advanced and highly developed societies in ancient Mesoamerica.
1. * Mappa Mesoamerica, Fonte: UNAM, Mexico
2. * History of Mesoamerican Civilisations
Cacao and the "bliss" molecule
Mood enhancing substances in cacao make it particularly suitable for personal creativity and inner work from an holistic perspective. It could also be a change in our life-style. Whole cacao contain the "bliss" molecule known as Anandamide, an endocannabinoid. It also contains other pleasure-related neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and phenylethylamine (PEA), along with the gentle stimulant Theobromin. When we put natural cacao in our body, it makes us feel like we are falling in love; relaxed, mindful, euphoric, nourished and energized.
What is a Cacao Ritual/Gathering/Circle?
For over a decade, spiritual and holistic practitioners have been rediscovering the use of cacao. While modern "cacao ceremonies or circles" can vary in their focus, at the heart of these practices is the consumption of cacao in its purest form. Some people claim that cacao increases creativity and helps to lower tension and stress.
Today, modern cacao circles or ceremonies aim to rebalance the energies within us and restore good health and harmony. By opening our hearts, cacao can help us work through past blocks and traumas and address repressed negative energy. Many cacao circles combine aspects of personal growth and mindfulness with other traditions and practices, such as meditation, prayer, breathwork, song, music, and dance.
In our opinion, you don't have to be a "descendant" of the Mayan or Mexica cultures to guide your own individual or public ritual. You can honor the plant and its sacredness and build your connection with it. However, it's important to avoid any form of cultural appropriation of the modern descendants of indigenous groups of Mesoamerica, such as modern mayas f.e.
There is no evidence of specific cacao ceremonies in ancient times as they are intended now. Historians and evidence suggest that cacao was certainly a drink that Mesoamericans used to have in special occasions and even in ceremonies, such as corn or harvest ceremonies, funerals, engagements, and rewards for battles. What we are seeing today is a completely new thing, and everybody has their own perspective on making it special.
"Can I use Ceremonial Cacao, without the ‘Ceremony’?
Yes! Our intentions is to bring to you new cacao experiences, flavours, strains, terroirs for a more conscious and pure use of it. Cacao is increasingly used by individuals as part of a healthy an conscious diet, integrated into their daily routine (often in place of coffee) and to support their own personal practices. It can be enjoyed as a warm beverage, or added to smoothies, muesli or other delicious treats.
The "medicinal" and mood-enhancing effects of natural cacao are proven and more and more people consume cacao for their well-being; to aid concentration, calm the nervous-system and boost their energy and creativity.
Come lo produciamo
Cosa ci ha motivato a promuovere il cacao come Olistico Cerimoniale e perchè lo si nomina in questo modo?
La definizione precisa del ceremonial cacao non è ancora stata stabilita; si tratta di una pura pasta di cacao che richiami la bevanda pre-colombiana mesoamericana (non di cioccolato, che contiene zucchero e subisce altre lavorazioni), prodotta con l'intenzione di essere usata per scopi di introspezione spirituale o come alimento funzionale.
Con la purezza del cacao vogliamo diffondere le tradizioni culinarie e culturali del Mesoamerica, portare alla luce le tradizioni millenarie intorno a questa pianta considerata preziosa dai popoli mesoamericani, per riportarla all'attenzione delle persone che cercano prodotti poco raffinati, integrali, artigianali, semplici e tracciabili e che non siano esattamente prodotti "fini" o cioccolati estremamente lavorati.
Il cacao usato per produrre la pasta deve essere tracciabile (ovvero, si deve sapere dove e come è stato coltivato con precisione, non basta solo con identificare la Nazione), etico (ovvero, deve essere ben pagato in piantagione) e lavorato con metodi artigianali gentili e lenti in piccola scala, e sostenibile, in armonia con la natura e la biodiversità del luogo in cui cresce (non grandi piantagioni e monocolture dove la biodiversità è minacciata).
Le paste di cacao industriali non sono state create con l'intenzione di essere utilizzate per scopi di introspezione spirituale o come medicina naturale, poiché le lavorazioni su grande scala richiedono processi molto più aggressivi e materie prime di scarsa e bassa qualità, spesso di dubbia provenienza e con un alto costo umano. L'energia di un cacao è alta solo quando cresce in un ambiente sano e non tossico e quando le persone che vi lavorano in tutto il processo si sentono in connessione con la pianta.
La pasta di cacao può essere prodotta nel luogo d'origine o altrove, purché ci sia trasparenza e tracciabilità e valori profondi di connessione con il territorio di provenienza del cacao facilmente visibili a chiunque. Una vera connessione con il territorio rende il ceremonial cacao ancora più potente.
Per quel che noi sappiamo, è da più di un decennio che movimenti di persone che praticano discipline olistiche e spirituali stanno scoprendo l'uso medicinale del cacao e rivalutandone il suo potere come pianta.