Ceremonial cacao is a beautiful plant to incorporate into your daily life and practice. My husband and I have held a cacao ceremony for ourselves every morning over the past two and a half years, and it’s changed our lives! Not only is ceremonial cacao healthy for you, but it also elicits a particularly potent heart-opening sensation that is ideal for embodiment, mindfulness, and spiritual work.
Now that I’ve been on the ceremonial cacao journey for a few years I’ve noticed that most people who are just starting out tend to have similar questions when it comes to finding the right ceremonial cacao. What is the best ceremonial cacao out there? Which brands offer the most potent products? How do you differentiate between one brand and another? Where to source it online? I was once in this place too and for the past three years have been on a path of discovery. Because of that, I decided to take a delicious deep dive into some of the best cacao brands on the market to both answer these questions for myself and hopefully, help guide you in the journey to connect with the spirit of cacao in the way that’s most enjoyable for you.
The Taste Test
To standardize the differences between the ceremonial cacao offerings out there, I assessed each brand through the lens of four main criteria: flavor, texture, the energetic experience, and price (from low $ to high $$$ in terms of what’s on the market currently). I also used a standard unflavored product from each brand and made sure each serving was prepared in the same way — a ceremonial dose (40g) blended with a tiny amount of cinnamon powder, raw honey and 1 cup of hot water.
Here’s what I found:
Flavor: Firefly has several different cacao beans and blends to choose from, so I went with the traditional Glowing Guatemala. I found it had a slight tanginess, which to me tasted of the fermentation process all cacao beans undergo to create high-quality ceremonial cacao. Firefly’s website has a handy reference for the feel, taste and use of each blend, and for the Guatemalan they have compared it to the tastes of Fig, Tobacco and Leather. There are three primary taste receptors that commonly apply to cacao: bitter, astringent and sour (thanks for the insight, Sena!). Using this flavor profile, the Guatemala blend is slightly higher in astringency and sourness than some of their other origins.
Texture: Blending the buttons created a really nice, frothy cacao, with a smooth and silky mouthfeel. I recently listened to a podcast with the founder Jonas where he explained how Firefly used to make their cacao into a traditional block, but changed it up to create chocolate buttons (or discs) for ease of use and time efficiency. I think this also contributes to the smooth, luscious texture.
Energy: I found this a lovely, light energy and felt like I could easily have a big mug and not get upset tummy (I like to drink cacao in the morning on an empty stomach, but often a ceremonial dose can be very rich and sometimes make you a little nauseous, though this isn’t intrinsically a bad thing — in ceremony it’s a part of the detoxification and cleansing process.) In any case, the Glowing Guatemala felt uplifting and refreshing.
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Flavor: Bitter — not in a bad way, but in a medicinal way (bitters work on detoxifying our liver and aid digestion). Taking a sip is just like biting into a cacao bean — it tastes less processed, very pure, and earthy. Doesn’t taste at all like the “chocolate” that we’ve grown accustomed to. Not very strong in scent.
Texture: Blended as a drink, this cacao has a more grainy, earthy texture in your mouth. That doesn’t bother me though and this is still a cacao I’d love to drink, as it lends to a feeling of being minimally processed — straight from the stone grinder.
Energy: I felt it instantly in my body as a rising, upward moving energy. I think Keith’s could be a great cacao to use for larger ceremonies and spiritual work, as it feels tangibly activating and powerful.
Flavor: Rich and chocolatey. Smells like there’s a sweetness and bitterness to it. Feels completely different again to the first two.
Texture: Personally, this has the perfect texture — rich and creamy, with a luscious feel. In my opinion, this is most alike to the idea that many people have of how high-quality, pure chocolate tastes, and for that reason I feel like it could be accessible to those people who may not typically be called to try cacao.
Energy: Sensual, made to be enjoyed, feels indulgent, brings me into my body.
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Flavor: Instantly I can smell the coconut oil that has been added to this artisanally-made cacao — very pleasantly fragrant. Amongst the warming spices like cinnamon and cayenne pepper, coconut sugar and coconut oil has already added, so you don’t need to add anything but hot water for a delicious tonic.
Texture: Definitely the frothiest and looks very visually pleasing — a bubbly, warm color. Super smooth and indulgent mouthfeel, like a silky, healthy hot chocolate.
Energy: Feels light of heart. Triggers the sensations of chocolate (this would take care of any afternoon chocolate cravings, no doubt!) An indulgence of earthly pleasure and delight.
Price: $$$ / As this is an artisanally-crafted, handmade chocolate, infused with high-quality organic herbs, it’s a real treat for to buy this for yourself or a special friend.
Special offer for readers — use code CACAOCOMMUNITY for 10% off.
Other notable Ceremonial Cacao companies:
We have been lucky enough to try out several other beautiful brands that offer amazing cacao for ceremony and daily drinking, so wanted to mention them here.
Endorphin Foods Cacao: We’ve been enjoying this finely shaved Colombian sourced cacao, which melts easily into a cacao tonic — perfect for travel, busy lifestyles and no fuss prep. Heart energizing sensations and chocolatey flavor.
Try it for 15% off with our code COUPLESCACAO.
Vai Cacao: We admire this couple-owned business from Spain and love the fragrant, crumbly little cubes of cacao that blend into a frothy drink with hot water in the blender. Buy through their site with our code COUPLESCACAO for 10% off — or if you’re in the UK, buy directly from The Cacao Club for lower shipping costs!
Keep in mind…
Everyone is going to have a different energetic experience when working with ceremonial cacao. Every body is unique. It also depends on the state of your body and mind when you drink it (whether it’s on an empty stomach, or perhaps when you’re feeling particularly sensitive emotionally, etc).
How to navigate your ceremonial cacao buying experience…
Now that you know the basic flavor, texture, energy and pricing of these ceremonial cacao options, the best thing to do is to begin trying them! If you find that you especially connect with one, keep working with it. If you don’t feel particularly touched by the first one you try, go for different one. Just like good coffee or wine, there are different notes to ceremonial cacao and it comes down to personal preference.
In my opinion, if you’re interested in the most potent ceremonial sensation, try Keith’s Cacao. If you’d prefer a more indulgent, handmade cacao for special occasions, try The Cacao Club. If you want the stable energy and open hearted feeling pure cacao offers, try Cacao Lab or Firefly — they’re great value for the premium quality you get and work wonderfully as a daily dose (i.e. 20–30g).
Above all, follow your intuition and taste as much ceremonial cacao as you can! There are a bunch of other wonderful options out there and there’s no way of knowing what’s right for you unless you try a wide spectrum of brands and recipes. You’ll likely find that some cacao feels better for you to do your deeper spiritual work and others will feel more like a tool that you can call upon any time of day or occasion. It all depends on your own unique body, mind and energy states, as well as your individual tastes and preferences.
There’s a Mayan myth that says when humans stray far enough from nature, cacao brings the humans back to nature. So I say, more cacao in everyone’s lives is a very good thing!
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you found it enjoyable and informative, and that you invite ceremonial cacao into your life! Many blessings on your journey if you decide to work with this magical bean. And as always, feel free to let me know your thoughts or ask any questions in the comments below :-)