FAQ

FAQ

Here we provide answers to the questions that people ask us most frequently.

(This list last updated 3/22/2021)

THE ANSWER TO MANY QUESTIONS IS TO CREATE AN ACCOUNT, OR LOG IN IF YOU HAVE CREATED ONE. THAT'S HOW TO ACCESS YOUR ORDER INFO, TRACK YOUR PACKAGES, AND VIEW COURSE PAGES THAT YOU HAVE PURCHASED.

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SHIPPING & BUSINESS QUESTIONS

Q. I ordered cacao from you. Has it been shipped? When will it arrive?

A. We send shipping confirmation emails on the day that your package mails out. That email will contain your tracking link. (Make sure to check your Spam and/or Promotions folders if you haven't seen this email within a week of ordering.)

The absolute best way to track your orders is to make an account on our website using the same email address you used in your order (or log into your account if you've already created one). Then click the profile icon on laptop/desktop or the menu "sign in" link on mobile to view all your past purchase info.

In general for U.S. orders we recommend allowing a week (6-7 days) between the time you order and the time you need to have your cacao in-hand. Please see our Shipping Info page for the most up-to-date info on this!

Q. It's past the expected delivery date but my package hasn't arrived. Can you get any other information for me?

A. Once it leaves our hands we only have access to the same info that you can see on the USPS tracking info page. Packages can be delayed due to a number of reasons such as: USPS error, extreme weather conditions, political events, and more.

Usually if a package is late, it arrives within 2-3 days of the expected date. If a package is totally lost in transit, we can submit an insurance claim two months after the shipping date to get you a full refund or replacement on your order.

Q. My package arrived damaged or with missing items. What do I do?

A. Follow the instructions on your packing slip. Basically, send us photos of the package and any damaged products showing all abnormalities clearly. Email those to us with your order number. Then hold onto everything until you hear otherwise from us. We'll file an insurance claim with photos, but you may have to take the package and items into a post office as further evidence.

Q. The tracking link says my package was returned to sender. Why did that happen? What can you do about it? 

A. This can happen for a couple reasons. 

One is that your shipping address was entered in a way that doesn't match the USPS system records. Our shipping engine notifies us if this is the case and we'll contact you before shipping to try to prevent this from happening. If we make a mistake in the process, we can re-ship it to you at no additional charge.

However, if you tell us to ship it to an address even though it doesn't match the USPS system, and it ends up returned to sender, then we will ask you to pay the shipping cost a second time to re-send it to you. We can invoice you through our website for an easy payment.

Q. Do you ship internationally (outside of the U.S.)?

A. Yes, just enter your full mailing address when checking out from our online shop and choose your destination country. Anything outside the U.S. typically takes 6-10 days for priority mail (after processing time). However, times may be delayed during the pandemic. 

Q. Do you accept returns?

A. Currently we do not accept any returns, even for unopened products. All sales are final. But if there’s a major problem with your purchase, we’re committed to make it right. In that case, please Contact Us.

Q. I ordered the wrong item or need to cancel my whole order. Can I get a refund?

A. As long as your order hasn't shipped, this is not a problem! Just email us with your order number and we can cancel the item or the whole order and issue a refund.

Q. Are your products available for sale in stores? Can I pick up my order in person?

A. Our products are available mainly on our online Cacao Shop and in-person at special events. 

However we now offer free pickup at our commissary kitchen in Portland, Oregon. To take advantage of this, look for Delivery Method on the checkout page. Local pickup still requires 1-3 days for processing (check the Shipping Info page for the schedule). You'll get an email confirmation when your order is ready for pickup!

Q. How do I access the course(s) I purchased? 

A. In most cases you'll receive a confirmation email with that info. But you can also access your course(s) from your account page. Make an account on our website using the same email address you used in your order (or log into your account if you've already created one). Then click the profile icon on laptop/desktop or the menu "sign in" link on mobile to view all your past purchase info.

Q. Do you offer bulk discounts? I want to buy a large amount and/or re-sell it at my shop or practice.

A. Yes, we offer bulk discounts via discount codes on our website. You can get 10% off 10 or more items (mix and match) by using discount code 10PLUS at checkout. You can get 20% off 20 or more items with code 20PLUS. This the closest thing to wholesale that we offer at the current time. 

If you'll re-sell our products in your shop, please Contact Us and we'll add you to a map of places where people can buy Soul Lift Cacao products in person.

If you want to buy more than 50lbs, email us and we can connect you with a wholesale supplier in Guatemala.

Q. Can you sponsor my event with free cacao?

A. As a small social enterprise, we generally can only afford to sponsor an event or cause if an organizer or group has a very large audience (i.e., over 100,000). If that's your case, then feel free to Contact us for more info.

Otherwise, our Affiliate Program could be a good option for you, since you could gain commissions on sales that you refer to our website with a custom link or QR code. Then you could use that commission money on your own cacao purchases. Read more about our Affiliate Program HERE.

CACAO-RELATED QUESTIONS

Q. How do I store your cacao?

A. Cacao is non-perishable at room temperature. Just store it in a cool, dark, dry place to avoid melting. Once you open the package, re-package or transfer it to a tight container to prevent any moisture from getting in.

Q. How do I prepare your ceremonial cacao paste?

A. To make a drink of luscious ceremonial cacao, finely chop a block of our cacao paste with a chef’s knife on a cutting board. Measure 2-4 tbsp and mix into 8oz of hot water (steaming but not boiling). Use a blender (with caution!), a milk frother, or just stir vigorously until the cacao is well melted. Then… enjoy! Optional: Add a dash of cayenne pepper and natural sweetener to taste.

If you want more help, you can watch our Free Video Tutorial!

Q. Is your cacao organic?

A. Our cacao is GMO-free and it's grown without the use of any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. But our cacao is not yet certified organic. As a small social enterprise working with small, remote family farms in Guatemala, certification is currently cost-prohibitive for all of us. But we meet and check on the procedures and operations of all our cacao sources, to ensure the best and healthiest cacao possible.

Q. Is your cacao “fair trade”?

A. We actually go a step beyond fair trade, and develop direct trade relationships with family farms and collectives in Guatemala. In a fair trade model, you still don’t know exactly where a product originates. We’re bringing in more transparency, so you know your purchase has a direct positive impact on the artisans making this special cacao. We literally know all the groups we source from and support them in advancing their operations. We’re building symbiotic relationships that we can all feed good about. Our model means 5-15x the amount of money stays at the source compared to bean-to-bar models, since we're buying finished cacao paste products from sources and not only raw cacao beans.

(Photo by  @plantromance )

(Photo by @plantromance)

Q. What’s the difference between cacao and cocoa?

A. Cocoa is the highly processed material made from cacao. Cocoa is used in everything from chocolate to baked goods to hot cocoa mixes. Aside from removing the natural and healthy fats, cocoa is also produced at very high temperatures and could be processed in other unknown ways, leading to the destruction or removal of the original nutrients. If you get cacao powder by itself there aren’t major health concerns, but products labeled “cocoa” are likely produced using conventional agriculture methods with pesticides and other undesirable factors. Long story short, stick to real artisanal cacao!

Q. What makes cacao “ceremonial”?

A. To understand this, we recommend watching this VIDEO with Soul Lift Cacao founder Nick Meador!

Different people have different ideas about what counts as ceremonial cacao. At Soul Lift Cacao we consider it “ceremonial grade” if it comes from a family farm, it’s roasted over an actual wood fire, and it’s grown and produced with the intention for it to be a soul medicine to the world.

Scent, flavor, texture, and appearance matter as well. Those are influenced by cacao genetics, farm location, soil health, length of fermentation, length of roasting, and other factors. 

But what matters most of all is the effect… whether it deepens meditative experiences, brings greater insights to real-life situation, and fosters more inner/outer connection and holistic unity. We only sell cacao paste that meets these rigorous standards. Visit our Online Shop to see what we offer.

Q. Is ceremonial cacao really “raw”?

A. Yes and no! Ceremonial cacao is raw in the sense that it’s pure and very minimally processed. True ceremonial cacao paste is just that… cacao! No herbs, mushrooms, or sweeteners added.

However ceremonial cacao isn’t “raw” in the sense of being totally unheated. The ancient traditional way of preparing cacao involves lightly roasting the beans over a wood fire. This impacts the flavor and energy of the cacao in a way that simply cannot be replicated in a propane oven. And we’re one of the only companies selling pure ceremonial/artisanal cacao roasted over a wood fire. There is attention not to let it get too hot or burn, but there no way to measure the exact temperature when roasting over a wood fire.

Furthermore, the whole concept of “raw” food is actually very fuzzy. There’s no universal agreement about what it means, and no governing board checking on the validity of “raw” claims. It’s generally thought that keeping foods below 118 degrees F keeps it “raw”… but again, that’s not a universal quantification. It's true that cacao powder is cold-pressed, but it is usually heated to very high temperatures earlier in the manufacturing process (see the diagram below).

It’s possible to get cacao that has only been sun dried and not roasted, but this is more expensive due to the increased manual labor it requires. And in our opinion it doesn’t offer as full or deep of an experience as the roasted cacao. It’s possible that more theobromine (the main active compound) transfers from the hull to the bean during roasting. Furthermore, cacao literature tells of a mysterious alchemy that occurs during the grinding of cacao beans to make paste (which in many cases goes on to become chocolate). Long story short, stick to real ceremonial cacao!

To better understand the difference between ceremonial cacao and cacao powder, please view this diagram by Eduardo Antonio Morales:

ceremonial cacao vs cacao powder

Q. Why do you “rebrand” cacao from groups in Central America? And what do you give back to those groups?

A. Soul Lift Cacao is a legal inspected food business, and the groups we source from don’t currently have labeling that meets USDA/FDA requirements. All of these groups review and negotiate on the labels we create for U.S. sales, so everything is done with their consent and approval. There are many assumptions in the world of cacao about appropriation, taking advantage, etc. Soul Lift Cacao is a fledgling company still overcoming the back-end costs involved in starting a food business (commercial kitchen rental, business taxes, insurance, etc). People who bring cacao to the U.S. by hand and sell it out of a suitcase don’t have to cover those costs, and buying from them doesn't include the safety and confidence offered by a legal food business. As Soul Lift Cacao thrives more and more, we will be committed to finding new ways to give back so that the people growing and preparing the cacao benefit along with us. In the meantime we prioritize working with groups who treat workers much better than cacao industry standards. It’s an honor to help these groups in getting their medicine out to a wider audience in a fully legal way.

Q. Is cacao a drug?

A. No! It’s simply the original form of chocolate. This question often comes up because cacao is known as a “plant medicine,” which means that it’s a superfood/health food that also has some magical qualities that can’t be summed up just by the physiological benefits and effects. But cacao is a gentle plant medicine. We stay connected to our ordinary consciousness. It doesn’t force us on a journey. It’s up to us if we want to go deeper with embodiment or self-development practices. There’s no crash or craving. Again, cacao is no more a drug than chocolate!

Q. Will cacao keep me up at night?

It’s possible. Cacao is a mild stimulant, and different people react differently to it. Ceremonial cacao is made with the specific intention of deepening meditative/introspective practices. The effect can differ from person to person. Some people could have a cup at night and not having any trouble falling asleep. Other people might drink a cup at noon and stay awake til 4:00am! But that would typically only happen when first starting to work with cacao. In general, we’d recommend not having cacao within 6 hours of when you’re hoping to go to bed. And our favorite time range to enjoy cacao is between 10:00am and 4:00pm.

Q. How often can I have ceremonial cacao?

A. This is a really subjective matter, but here are some suggestions for daily, weekly, and longer term use. 

We recommend not having more than 2oz in any given day. Doing so can lead to nausea or headaches, especially if you don't drink enough water or eat enough food before and/or after the cacao experience. It can also be effective to have a very small amount of cacao. A nibble might be enough to let you feel some of the magical energy. (Think of it like a "microdose" or "homeopathic" dose.) 

As for weekly consumption, we recommend taking at least 2-3 days off per week. Cacao is a plant medicine, after all. And it's important to let the energies settle and not misuse this special "Food of the Gods."

Longer term, it can sometime be a good idea to take a longer hiatus from working with cacao. If you ever start to feel like your heart is "too open" or your energy becomes a little frazzled, you might want to take 1-4 weeks off from working with cacao.

READ MORE ABOUT THIS ON OUR BLOG

Q. Is it okay to have cacao while pregnant or breastfeeding?

A. We've heard mixed things about this. But we asked our Guatemalan sources who are familiar with the ways of Mayan midwives.

They told us that small amounts (less than a ceremonial dose) are probably fine during pregnancy

And while breastfeeding, there probably isn't any concern at all. It sounds like the opposite, since ceremonial cacao contains valuable minerals that would be passed onto the baby.

The bottom line for us is always this: listen to your body. If your body says it's good for you, then it probably is. In this case you can also listen to your baby's body!

Q. Is it okay to use ceremonial cacao in baked goods or other foods?

A. Yes! Ceremonial cacao paste can substitute for any baker's chocolate or pure cacao liquor.

Cacao has just as much of a history of use in foods as in making cacao drinks. As long as you do it with respect, it's fine!

Q. Does cacao fit in my paleo or keto diet?

A. Yes, cacao is paleo friendly and keto friendly! And our cacao paste is better than cacao powder for the keto diet, because cacao paste, nibs, and beans still contain all the natural fats. In the production of cacao powder, most of those fats are removed and sold as cacao butter. Stick with the original form of cacao!

Q. Does your cacao contain any sugar?

Our pure cacao paste contains only cacao and has no additives of any kind.

Our drinking chocolates are sweetened with low-glycemic coconut sugar. 

We have a commitment never to use refined sugars or sweeteners.

Q. Is it true that cacao and chocolate can contain heavy metals? Have you had your cacao tested?

It is true that some reports have shown amounts of heavy metals in chocolate and cacao products that are above the levels recommended by the FDA (for lead) and the EU Commission (for cadmium).

It can depend on many factors including the source country, pollution levels, soil quality, and more.

At Soul Lift Cacao we're proud to say that all of our cacao varieties were tested for heavy metals by a third-party laboratory in February 2021. And all of them were found to be within safe amounts according to the FDA and the EU Commission.

We will continue to do everything in our power to make sure that our products are safe for you, so that you gain the most benefit possible when you enjoy them.

Q. What are the white blotches on the cacao blocks?

A. Those are the natural patterns of cacao butter that are crystallized after the cacao is ground and re-solidified. If you see these white patterns, there’s nothing wrong with your cacao. On the contrary, it means you’re holding the real thing!

It looks unusual because we’re used to seeing tempered chocolate, where the appearance is uniform and standardized across the surface. During colonialization in the 1800s, Europeans invented tempering to make their chocolate products more appealing to the masses.

We sell pure, untempered cacao in its natural, wild form. We do this to honor the ancient traditions of the Mayan indigenous people.

When you prepare the cacao, all the cacao butter will melt and redistribute resulting in a beautiful cup of ceremonial cacao (or “drinking chocolate”). And the people you share it with will thank you for your authenticity and dedication to protecting ancient traditions.

 

DON’T SEE YOUR QUESTION HERE? JUST CONTACT US FOR AN ANSWER! WE ALSO GO MUCH DEEPER ON ALL THESE TOPICS IN OUR CACAO-POWERED FACILITATOR: 10-WEEK COURSE.