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?
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?
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, certification is currently cost-prohibitive. 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”?
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.
Q. What’s the difference between cacao and cocoa?
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”?
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”?
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:
Q. Why do you “rebrand” cacao from groups in Central America? And what do you give back to those groups?
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. Does cacao fit in my paleo or keto diet?
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, nibs, and beans contain only cacao and have no additives of any kind.
We’re starting to develop retail products that combine cacao with other ingredients. But we have a commitment never to use refined sugars or sweeteners.
Q. Is cacao a drug?
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. What are the white blotches on the cacao blocks?
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.
Q. How long will shipping take after I place an order?
Please refer to our Shipping Info page for the most up-to-date info on this!
Q. Do you ship internationally (outside of the U.S.)?
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. However, times may be delayed during the pandemic.
Q. Do you offer wholesale or bulk discounts?
Bulk discounts are now automated through our web shop. Buy 10+ of any item and you'll get a 10% discount. Buy 20+ and you'll get a 20% discount.
Q. Do you accept returns?
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. Are your products available for sale in stores?
Currently our products are available mainly on our online Cacao Shop and in-person at special events. We’re making moves to get our products into stores in California and beyond. Keep an eye on this page for a current list of locations!