Picture this: you wake up in the morning, and you decide you want to make space to be with yourself and reflect on how you’re doing.
You prepare yourself a delicious frothy cup of ceremonial cacao, and you revel in the complex flavors and aromas of cacao. At the same time, you are inviting a wise plant spirit into your being, shifting your state of mind with neuromodulators, centering in your heart, and getting clear on your intentions for the day.
These are all reasons why we love cacao.
When you try to do this with store-bought cacao powder, you’re no longer getting the same experience.
Even from a health perspective, the nutrients that you could be getting from this incredible plant, sadly, are lacking. And preparing the drink in just water (which is the traditional way of drinking cacao) doesn’t taste very good at all … you need to add fat with a nut milk.
Most of us would rather grab a cup of coffee.
Just in case you don’t believe us, you can test this out for yourself - try making a cacao drink with just cacao powder and water, and then try making a cacao drink with just ceremonial cacao and water, and you'll see how much more nutritious and nourishing the latter is.
So what’s behind this difference?
Ceremonial Cacao vs. Cacao Powder
Ceremonial cacao is fundamentally super premium quality cacao paste.
All cacao paste is made from one single ingredient, cacao beans, that have been roasted, shelled, and ground down. There are many qualities of cacao paste, from coarsely ground to melt in your mouth smooth, from poorly balanced bitter and astringent flavors to well-balanced 100% cacao.
Ceremonial-grade cacao also includes the intentionality that goes into it, the ethical sourcing outside of commodity supply chains, and the minimal processing that keeps the spirit of cacao intact.
Cacao powder, on the other hand, is processed substantially further than cacao paste in order to remove the cacao butter. Cacao paste is loaded into truly massive industrial presses that exert hundreds of tons of force to squeeze out the cacao butter. Then the remaining material is finely hammered to create a powder. Cacao powder is typically made from secondary or tertiary quality cacao and processed at high temperatures to mask defects and create uniformity.
In truth, cacao powder is a waste stream product from making cocoa butter, which is a high-grade fat in great demand for skin care, hair care, and culinary applications. Slick marketing of cacao powder sells it as a superfood, but we've found that the true superfood is whole-food cacao paste, as it still contains high-grade cacao butter, which is the best carrier fat for the medicinal properties of cacao. It doesn’t matter if the cacao powder is raw or organic certified. It all fundamentally goes through this same process that renders it far inferior to ceremonial-grade cacao paste.
So, do you want to connect with the spirit of cacao or use a waste stream product from mass-market cocoa butter production?
We understand it may sometimes seem easier to use cacao powder since it is easy to dissolve in liquid and it doesn’t melt in the heat. Just know what you are getting and why there is a difference in price. Additionally, because we only use premium quality cacao, you are supporting farmers and the planet with a truly regenerative crop that protects tropical rainforest ecosystems.
At Ora, we try to make our ceremonial-grade cacao paste as easy as possible to use by producing convenient cacao discs with it. While it may take some adjustment of your recipes and learning how to make a cacao drink with it, we hope you reach out to us if you need any support with that!
Ceremonial cacao helps us dig deeper into our very being, and when prepared with intention, honor, respect, and love, is a powerful upgrade to your daily routine.
Ceremonial Grade Cacao