About us

About us

Soul Lift Cacao is a social enterprise based in Portland, Oregon, that works with families and collectives in Latin America to provide some of the world’s best artisanal cacao.

Our mission is to make delicious ceremonial cacao available in the U.S. and beyond, in a way that way promotes mindfulness, supports sustainable farming, and protects indigenous traditions.

Soul Lift Cacao is inspired by people who are living ahead of the curve, who want food that’s both healthy and delicious, and who want their actions to make a positive difference in the world. These are movers and shakers who feel most alive when they’re learning and growing.

We sell pure ceremonial cacao paste and artisanal drinking chocolate mixes on our website and ship direct-to-consumer.

Unlike most cacao brands in the grocery stores or on the web, we only source from small family farms and collectives with sustainable practices and no GMOs, who create products of superior flavor and sensation.

We develop direct trade relationships with our suppliers, who incorporate indigenous wisdom as they produce the cacao on a human scale.

That means selecting beans by hand, and roasting them over a wood fire instead of in a propane oven.

This way we support safe working conditions and above-average pay that rise above general chocolate industry standards.

We acknowledge that a lot of harm has been done in the parts of the world where cacao grows, and we seek to remedy the wrongdoings of the past by having a net positive impact on the people and places that produce our cacao.

 

The seeds of Soul Lift Cacao were planted in 1996, when Nick Meador's family adopted a baby girl from Guatemala.

At the end of the Guatemalan Civil War, Nick got to visit his sister's orphanage in Antigua and felt heartbroken to see that there weren't enough hands to properly care for all the babies.

There was no way for Nick to fully understand what he had seen, and he didn't hear about cacao on that trip. But it was a major formative experience in his life. Nick immediately felt a deep connection with Guatemala that he couldn't quite explain.

Nick Meador and baby Maribel circa late 1996

Decades later in 2011, Nick began to experience an illness that was diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). It went on for years and nothing he tried really helped. The condition defied medical explanation.

Then in June 2015, Nick participated in a modern cacao ceremony featuring artisanal Guatemalan cacao, and he emerged with a new kind of focus, motivation, and steady energy without crash or cravings.

The experience launched Nick into a new period of holistic self-management. In 2015 he went from being bedridden to walking 410 miles on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage through Northern Spain.

By early 2016 Nick was in Central America visiting cacao farms and experts to learn more about this amazing superfood. He found that traditionally prepared Guatemalan cacao had a richness of flavor and depth of sensation that was unique in the world.

Nick brought home some ceremonial cacao that first time, after connecting with cacao producers at Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. 

While still living in his hometown of Detroit, Nick launched a "cottage foods" (home-based) business to share the cacao with people at yoga and meditation events he hosted.

Nick at a cacao farm in January 2017

By 2017 Nick had fully recovered from CFS! Cacao didn't "cure" Nick, but he believes that it played a huge part in helping him take control of his own holistic well-being.

Then in early 2018, Nick moved to California and launched Soul Lift Cacao as a registered, inspected food business in San Diego County. In 2019 he and the business moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and began expanding the scope to retail products.

2020 brought more winds of change with the global pandemic. More and more people started turning to ceremonial cacao for holistic support during this strange time. We surpassed our monthly sales records over and over, proud to keep cacao workers employed in Guatemala during a time when many lost work.

In January 2021, Soul Lift Cacao moved its base to Portland, Oregon, and that June we opened our first cacao cafe. It was an interesting experience.

But the pandemic continued longer than anyone hoped. And like many American cities, Portland has been experiencing a higher crime rate.

After three break-ins, we moved to another location in north Portland. Yet it still didn't feel like the right fit. So in October 2023 we closed our doors and went back to focusing on shipping online orders – just like it all began in 2018.

Nick also now leads Guatemalan cacao tours to where we go to cacao farms, visit Mayan collectives, and experience relevant cultural activities.

We're excited about the potential that lies ahead for us to make an even bigger positive impact in the world.

Head to our online shop to level up your life with ceremonial cacao!

WEBSITE PHOTO CREDITS:
Most photos by Nick Meador.
Photo of Nick in blue shirt by Maria Calderon.
Home page photos of Ruk'u'x Ulew women's collective courtesy of the collective except the top home page photo by Andrea Bakacs.



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