Seekers and explorers travel there from around the world to soak up the powerful energy of what is certainly one of the most beautiful spots in the Western Hemisphere.
Three immense volcanos line the lake’s southern edge. And around the lake, Mayan tribes can be found speaking their own unique language dialects. Even though the villages look close on the map, these sub-cultures evolved distinctly due to the difficulty of traveling around the lake in the past.
Whereas most cacao in the world passes through at least 10 hands from farm to consumer, what you buy from Soul Lift Cacao has passed through only 4 or 5. That means more money stays at the source, with farmers who grow the cacao and collectives who prepare it into ceremonial paste.
RUK’U’X ULEW (pronounced “Roo-koosh Oo-lay-oo”) - since 2018
The “Heart of the Earth” women’s collective in San Marcos la Laguna selects the best single-source beans grown at an indigenous family farm in Alta Verapaz, and roasts the beans over a wood fire.
The women hand-peel the beans in groups, smiling much of the time. They pour intentions into it to be a "soul medicine" for the world.
This collective is fully owned by Mayan indigenous women.
THE CRUZ FAMILY - since 2018
This single-source cacao is grown near the Pacific Coast before Nana Marina Cruz and her family take it through the ceremonial preparation. They roast beans over a wood fire and hand-peel them in San Pedro la Laguna, on the southern shore of Lake Atitlán.
The family of Mayan guides still uses traditions passed down by their ancestors, having kept them alive even through the Guatemalan civil war that ended in the 1990s.
Spiritual leaders Tata Pedro and Nana Marina direct the group, and incorporate the cacao into the Mayan indigenous ceremonies they now host around the world.
They source their cacao beans from a family farm with which they have close ties. And the Cruz family retains 80% of proceeds from their sales. The other portion goes to their helpers who sell and transport the cacao (also known as Ixmucane cacao).
LAVALOVE - since 2020
Made by husband and wife duo Izaias Mendoza and Izabel Pérez in San Marcos la Laguna, Lavalove cacao is a blend sourced from small farms in one region on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala
Many indigenous women in the village of San Marcos are employed in the production process. Lavalove goes above and beyond to ensure fair payment of workers.
The beans are selected, roasted, and peeled by hand, then ground and poured into blocks.
Izaias is also a Tata (spiritual leader) who hosts Mayan ceremonies to give people a direct experience of the local traditions.
You can find Lavalove cacao here.
CACAO SOURCE - since 2020
This group consists of two women's collectives in San Marcos la Laguna, Guatemala, who create three separate single-source cacao varieties. We currently sell two of them: Ullulawl (grown in Alta Verapaz, eastern Guatemala) and Springs (grown in Suchitepéquez, western Guatemala).
As with the other groups, their cacao beans are roasted over a wood fire and peeled by hand. And they're taking extra steps to pay workers well.
Cacao Source makes excellent and complex varieties of cacao. They're also committed to land stewardship in their work.