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SACRED CACAO FAQs

What are the benefits of ceremonial grade cacao?

Ceremonial-grade cacao is 100% cacao, and is brimming with spiritual, physical + emotional benefits.

It's full of fiber (great for digestion!); protein (great for feeling full + muscle-building!) , and trace minerals (potassium + magnesium, which support us neurologically + our metabolic function). 

Now for the sciency-stuff - why does it make us feel so good?
 
Well, cacao includes / stimulates the following:

  • Methylxanthines: Theobromine + natural Caffeine. These aid in bringing mental clarity, stimulating the heart, boosting mood + helping energy.

  • Neurotransmitters / neuro-modulators such as Tryptophan (which boosts Serotonin + Melatonin), Endorphins + Dopamine. These aid with regulation of energy, appetite, sleep, mood + pain.

  • Anandamide, a natural euphoric compound; also known as the "bliss chemical". This increases our feelings of happiness, our mood, decreases anxiety + helps us cope with stress, bringing mental balance.

How do I make sacred cacao at home?

Creating Cacao at home is super easy!

  • Firstly, take your Cacao Love or your 8 Within cacao + measure out either 10g (great for microdosing every day), or 35g (if you're sitting in ceremony).

  • Carefully chop or grate the cacao into small pieces (note, you won't need to do this with the 8 Within Cacao)

  • Next up, heat your water or milk in a pan on the hob. Remember to keep the heat under 60 degrees or the heat may destroy some of the benefits of the cacao. 

  • Gently + slowly add your cacao to the water + stir intentionally.

  • Pour into you favourite ceremonial cup + enjoy!

When should Sacred Cacao be avoided?

Cacao is not a good plant-medicine option for everyone as it has some contra-indications:

  • If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, undergoing fertility treatment, taking heart or anti-depressant medication (the l-theobromine cacao contains may increase heart rate); 

  • Or have had a bi-polar or psychosis diagnosis (cacao increases anandamide which can affect mood + level of happiness);

  • Have high or low blood pressure or diabetes; we suggest giving cacao a swerve.

If you are in any way unsure if you should take Cacao, please consult your medical professional first.

What is the difference between "sacred" and "non-sacred" cacao?

Apart from getting cacao from bean to bag, "Sacred" or "ceremonial-grade" cacao is unprocessed so is 100% cacao. No additives or processing happens to the cacao.

 

Non-Sacred Cacao is processed in some way: Types of processing, which transmutes cacao into what we would know as modern day chocolate, include fermenting, roasting, extracting nibs, adding sugar or milk or preservatives, amongst many others.

Where is cacao from?

Cocoa beans are harvested from Theobroma cacao trees. These trees flourish in a hot + humid environment, so do particularly well around the Equator. Traces of cacao can usually be found around it, and in the tropical regions of Latin America, Africa, + Asia.

It is said that the Northwest part of the Amazon rainforest in South America, is the origin of the Theobroma cacao tree.

The name Theobroma means “food of the gods” in Greek. The Theobroma cacao tree measures from 12 to 16 feet high + produces leaves, flowers + fruit all year round but the best time to gather the fruit is twice a year.

How old is cacao?

Cacao is endemic to the rainforests of South America, specifically of Peru, Ecuador + Colombia. It has been cultivated for more than 3,900 in Central America, + some people say over 5,000 years by local indigenous communities of the Amazon Rainforest.

How did cacao find its way to Europe?

When the Aztecs were conquered by Hernán Cortés in the 1500s, leading to the fall of the Aztec Empire,  Hernán was given some cacao from the-then Aztec-Emperor, Montezuma Xocoyotzín. Some years later, cacao, or "chocolate" was introduced to Spain, who added sugar + milk, eventually spreading across Europe + to England by the 1650's.

Do the different varieties of cacao taste different?

Yes. There are three "varieties" of cacao - 

  • Criollo is globally the most popular cacao across the globe. The beans themselves contain a high-fat content, and a finer quality of taste + aroma. Criollo often has flavour notes of caramel, nuts, vanilla + tobacco. This is a rarer bean + accounts for only five percent of cacao production worldwide. 

  • Forastero is from the Amazon is the most common cacao worldwide + accounts for approx 80% of global chocolate production. It has an acidic, bitter + chocolatey flavour.

  • Trinitario is a mix of criollo + forastero cacao. This type grew originally in Trinidad + accounts for 12% of global chocolate. The taste is variable but with a strong cocoa taste with less bitterness.

How do you give back to local communities where you source the cacao?

Central to our ethos is a commitment to ethical sourcing, sustainability + fair trade practices. We honour the sacred lineage of our organic ceremonial-grade cacao by supporting indigenous farmers and preserving the ecosystems that sustain the use of cacao.

 

The co-operative that Cacao Love (the base cacao that F+A uses for our cacao) partners with is the only co-op in Peru that is fully managed by the local indigenous community, + works alongside small farmers, generating employment for the local community, offering training + financial support to encourage indigenous entrepreneurship, raising the living standards of small farmers and sustainably increasing crop yields.

Tell me more about the 8 Within brand?

Tell me more about the brand Cacao Love?

8 Within is the brand who supply F+A with Happiness, Intuition, Grounding and Intuition cacao elixirs. 8 Within take advantage of cacao’s natural vasodilatory (blood vessel opening) action by combining it with medicinal plants that make you feel calmer, happier, and more focused. 

When paired with cacao, the active compounds in these plants quickly spread around the body + get to work faster.

The 8 Within elixirs are made from ancient strains of single-source Criollo cacao beans (the rarest + best type) grown on organic farms in the Peruvian Andes. 

The cacao is hand-blended with a mix of medicinal herbs to create a rich + potent mind-elevating cacao blend. Finally, it’s shaved into small chunks so all you have to do is scoop, mix with hot water or milk, blend + drink.

Head to the  @8within account on instagram to see some great content on cacao + medicinal plant extracts.

Cacao Love's ancient strain criollo cacao is sourced from organic farmer's co-operatives in the Peruvian Andes. 

 

From "seed to ceremony" Cacao Love only work with co-operatives and family-run businesses, supporting indigenous entrepreneurship with our exchanges.

 

The co-op Cacao Love have worked with over the last decade was founded in 1998 with the intentions of working with small farmers to preserve traditional methods of cultivating, processing and harvesting cacao.

 

Their founding principles are:

1) Prioritising quality over quantity

2) Supporting Andean mega-biodiversity, not homogenisation

3) Promoting organic methods of production

4) Fair income distribution amongst the people participating as suppliers, transformers and traders

5) Social responsibility, following the principles of Fair Trade

 

The co-op works alongside the small farmers, generating employment for the local community and offering training and financial support to encourage indigenous entrepreneurship, raising the living standards of small farmers and sustainably increasing crop yields.

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