Cacao Nibs


Weight
+ -
1oz Cacao Discs Makes 1 Serving
Quick Links: What Is Ceremonial Grade Cacao? | Freshly Made From Bean to Disc | Foundational Ceremonial Cacao Recipe | Set Your Intention | Adding Sweeteners to Cacao | Adding Superfoods to Cacao | Leftover Cacao Recipes | Firefly Cacao Products

Your Cacao Ceremony Begins Here

Welcome to your guide to help you prep, blend, mix, taste, savor and even share your cacao.

Before you drink your cacao, we invite you to first slow down and set your intention for how you want to work with it – even if you just have ten minutes in the morning. Below you’ll find our delicious ceremonial cacao recipe and other tips and tricks.  

What is ceremonial grade cacao?

Ceremonial cacao refers to a cacao grade that is evaluated by the quality and source of the bean, the process of making cacao, and the intentions that go into making it. You can read more about our energetic standard for cacao here.

It is 100% pure cacao made from roasted and ground whole shelled cacao beans. Nothing is ever added, chemically altered or taken away. Unlike cacao powder, we leave in the cacao butter, the best carrier of all of cacao’s benefits.  The drink is made with hot water and minimal if any sweetener - by contrast a typical hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder, sugar, and milk. You can read more about the health benefits of ceremonial cacao here.


Freshly Made From Bean to Disc

Firefly ceremonial cacao is organically grown in agroforestry projects, primarily on family farms averaging two acres in size. We have direct relationships with the farms, and our social impact driven wet cacao buying model provides significantly better livelihood for the farmer’s communities. Our cacao beans are grown in Guatemala, Belize and Tanzania, and then brought back to Northern California where they’re lovingly crafted in our small cacao studio. We roast, shell, and grind the cacao beans into liquid 100% chocolate, and then deposit and cool them into the cacao discs we ship to you. You can read more about the full process here.

 

Ceremonial Cacao Bean to Disc Hand Crafted

How to Prepare Cacao

Whether you are getting ready for a cacao ceremony or want to make a nourishing morning drink as part of your daily routine, we have recipes for every occasion. You can view our full recipes list here.

Foundational Ceremonial Cacao Recipe For One Person

1)   Heat water to 170 degrees. Or use a nut milk as the base for your cacao drink. Hazelnut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, all make excellent options. Try not to boil the water – just like green tea, you can heat out all the powerful nutrients. We use a handheld thermometer or electric kettle with temperature control. If you’re in a pinch, boil water and let it cool for a few minutes first, or just boil it and then add a cup of cold water to it.

2)   Select your dosage with intention. As you’re getting started, it is good to take note of how your body responds to different amounts, as everybody is different.

Everyday dose            5-12 discs        ½ cup water

Ceremonial dose        12-20 discs      ½ - 1 cup water

3)    Make it creamy! Place cacao in a blender, pouring 4-5 oz. of heated water per serving and gently blend for 15 seconds to create a delicious, frothy drink. For a single serving you can also place the discs in a mug, and then blend with a handheld milk frother, which requires less cleanup. Traditional methods of mixing cacao in Latin America include molinillos, which you can also find under the name, batador, in the Philippines. 

4)    Keep your eyes open for beautiful mugs and cups … a beautiful vessel to hold your lovingly crafted drinking chocolate adds the perfect finishing touch! If you’d like, tag us on Instagram @cacaoceremony to share your creations. Creative suggestions for serving ... drop some pomegranate seeds into your cacao and while drinking scoop them out with a spoon as a special treat. Or drop one extra disc of cacao on top of the frothy cup of cacao you made - it will melt to the bottom of your cup! 

Preparing Ceremonial Cacao

 

Preparing for Cacao Ceremony

Set Your Intention

There is no wrong way to work with cacao. Drinking cacao is an approachable way to create your own rituals, and you may find moments of mindfulness weaving through your day more naturally. You can invite in any practice that you connect with to be your ally as you drink your cacao. Here’s a simple cacao ritual to get started:

Hold your cup of cacao in front of your heart. Breathe in the rich, sweet fragrance. Close your eyes, take a breath and ground into the earth. Thank your cacao for its medicine and ask it to guide you. Then, ask your question, set your intention, or make your dedication. Sip slowly and feel the cacao warm your bones.  Sit in silence, meditation, or journal your insights to integrate your experience.

For more information about cacao ceremony and ritual, visit our guide to creating your own cacao ceremony.

 

Optionally Add A Healthy Sweetener

Cacao was traditionally enjoyed without sweetener, but for those who are new, the rich taste can be surprising! (We personally love it pure).  Here are some healthy options to sweeten your drink. You’ll likely need less than you think – be cautious about over sweetening!

  • Local honey made by happy bees
  • Maple syrup
  • Coconut sugar
  • Lucuma
  • Birch sugar

*To maintain health, sustain an 85% or higher cacao ratio. Why? Our gut flora contains competing bacterial families, and if we add too much sweetener to our cacao, the beneficial bacteria that helps us absorb the cacao will be out-competed by voracious sugar eating bacteria.

Example: For 0.85 oz. of cacao, add no more than 0.15 oz. of sweetener.

Healthy Sweetener for Cacao Ceremony

Turmeric Bee Pollen Maca Superfood Cacao Ceremony

Optionally Add Super Foods

- Make a 50/50 blend of your favorite coffee and our drinking chocolate recipe above for a delicious bulletproof style mocha that reduces the coffee crash and gives more sustained energy. Mocha Heart Blast Recipe

- Brew maté or guayusa, and add this to the blender, rather than hot water. This is a very energizing combination!

- Add chili or cayenne when blending your hot drinking chocolate. Other ingredients that go well with a spicy chocolate are cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger – all of these are heating and will boost circulation.

- Blend in various super-foods, such as fresh bee pollen, or the Peruvian root maca that balances hormones and give stamina. A few ideas: Morning Glow Recipe | From Mind to Heart Recipe | Morning Elevate Recipe | Bzzz Belizean Mornings Recipe

What to do with leftovers

We want to give back to cacao as much as it gives to us – so if you have extra, we advise you to:

  • Refrigerate in a sealed container and reheat the following morning for cacao round 2! (consume within 12-24 hours)
  • Make cacao mousse! (This also will last three days longer than keeping the cacao in liquid form!) Pour your cacao into muffin tins, and stir in any sweetener or spices (perhaps a little cinnamon or sprinkle of cayenne). The important thing is to finalize the recipe before letting the cacao set up. Leave it in your refrigerator overnight. You will have a creamy mousse by morning, ready to eat!
  • Make cacao ice cubes! Pour the leftover cacao into ice cube trays and put it in the freezer. You can put 2-3 cacao ice cubes in your smoothie the next day to add healthy cacao to your breakfast.
  • Gift it to friends and loved ones
  • Return it to the Earth with gratitude

We know you’ll love making your very own cacao drink, and we’re here for you as you experiment with creating your perfect cup. If you have a question, message us through the chat window on the bottom right and we’ll happily respond.

 

Firefly 100% Cacao:

Experiment with different single origin drinking chocolates. Chocolate is similar to wine, with each origin offering unique flavors (due to differences in weather + soil, genetics, and fermentation). You can also combine different origins …

Boundless Belize

Firefly’s first cacao used for ceremonial purposes, Belizean cacao comes from 300 small (1-5 acre) organic family farms in the foothills of southern Belize. Seventy-five percent of our farming families are indigenous Q’eqchi’ and Mopan Mayan, and they grow their pure, raw cacao with deep respect and understanding of the local ecology.

Feels: expansive, expensive, magical

Useful for: meditation and creativity

Tastes like: amaretto, manchego, nutmeg

Glowing Guatemala

The newest ceremonial cacao to join Firefly, our Guatemalan cacao is grown in a remote village of 125 families where 90% of their income is made from, you guessed it, cacao. In 2016, they built their own fermentery with the help of an outside donation to raise the quality of the cacao where they received organic certification.

Feels: mothering, loving, wise

Useful for: insight and inner work

Tastes like: fig, tobacco, leather

Thriving Tanzania

Amidst extensive rice and banana crops, 700 certified organic farmers within the biodiverse Kilombero Valley grow cacao for Kokoa Kamili, who take utmost care to ferment and dry the cacao to exacting standards. The cacao from this region is exceptional as a pure dark chocolate -- it has a higher cacao butter content than average --  resulting in a smooth, silky taste. 

Feels: focused, clarifying, uplifting

Useful for: studying and taking action

Tastes like: butter, cherry, caramel

 

Firefly Super Cacao Blends:

Medicinal Mushroom

Belizean cacao with 14 medicinal mushrooms for immune support

Feels: calming, nourishing, grounding

Useful for: immune support and healing

Tastes like: stone, oak, brie

Tantric Rose Blossom

Tanzanian cacao with organic rose petals for heart healing and connection

Feels: potent, sensual, heart-opening

Useful for: emotional support and intimacy

Tastes like: rosé, lavender, bergamot

Mayan Spice

Guatemalan cacao with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cayenne for warmth and circulation.

Feels: celebratory, elevating, warming 

Useful for: circulatory support and community

Tastes like: chili, cinnamon, cardamom

Mighty Maca

Tanzanian cacao with organic maca powder for hormonal balancing and 15% coconut sugar 

Feels: exuberant, flirtatious, spirited

Useful for: hormone support and stamina

Tastes like: malt, earth, cream

Explore Further:

 

Shipping FAQs

We'll get you the cacao you need fast. If you need delivery by a certain date, please write us a note with your order and select the appropriate shipping method.

Domestic Orders



We ship with USPS priority, which generally delivers 1-2 days to most of the metropolitan US. Some addresses will however take 3 days with USPS. Orders typically go out Monday Wednesday Friday, but please check our shipping countdown clock for any changes. Once the shipment has gone out, we will send you a tracking number. In the rare case of a lost shipment, please contact us, as we insure all shipments for up to $200.

After placing your order, please keep an eye out for your package delivery – despite our best efforts, cacao left in a hot mailbox will melt! During the summer months, we ship using insulated boxes and re-usable ice packs, which keep your cacao cool for up to 2 days. As much as possible our packaging material is re-used from prior shipments.

International Orders

International shipping time is as follows:

USPS Priority Express: 3-5 days with tracking

USPS Priority: 7-10 days with tracking


USPS First Class: 7-21 days. Tracking is not available with this service. Please choose Priority for delivery guarantee. Firefly Chocolate is not liable for undelivered packages. 

Tip ... international shipping becomes far more economical with larger orders. Get a few friends together to share an order and receive our bulk discounts to help offset shipping cost!

Description

Once you taste the rich nutty flavor of these cacao nibs you'll never go back to what you can buy at the store. Most nibs available in stores usually use bitter and flavorless commodity raw cacao - our nibs have amazing sourcing (read next paragraph) and are lightly toasted and shelled in micro batches for optimum freshness. Cacao nibs can be added to smoothies, trail mixes, or just eaten straight. They give an energy boost and are an excellent source of magnesium, manganese, iron, and copper.

These transparent trade superfood cacao nibs are grown by the 300+ farmers of the Maya Mountain Cacao Cooperative. The organic heirloom cacao is shade grown in permaculture micro-plots with diverse ecology, tended by Mopan and Q’eqchi' Maya indigenous communities. 

ORGANIC - VEGAN - PALEO - KETO APPROVED - SUGAR FREE - GMO FREE - SOY FREE - GLUTEN FREE

Disclaimer ... it is very hard to make any form of drinking chocolate from these without professional equipment because they will not melt with heat. If you are interested in drinking chocolate, best to buy our ceremonial cacao. Or if you'd like to use traditional methods, there is a hand tool used in Central America called a metate, if you are lucky you can find one on eBay :-)

Health Benefits
Quick Links: Beneficial Minerals in Cacao | Positive Impacts of Cacao on Mood | Ceremonial Cacao vs Cacao Powder | How Will Ceremonial Cacao Make Me Feel? | Is Cacao A Stimulant? | Is Your Cacao Raw? | Cacao and Keto and Paleo Diets | Cacao Contraindications

Not Only Is Drinking Chocolate Delicious, It Is Extraordinarily Healthy!

With 300-1200 individual constituents, cacao is one of the most pharmacologically complex plant substances known to man. When consumed unsweetened or with very little sugar, it is a superfood, packed with beneficial minerals and neuro-chemicals that beneficially affect our state of mind. The mild bitterness of a ceremonial cacao drink can also serve to cleanse the liver or release emotions, and the alkaloid content of pure cacao boosts circulation and absorption of nutrients. 

Cacao is the best source of Magnesium

Cacao Contains Many Beneficial Minerals

Consuming cacao can replenish minerals vital to our body. Magnesium is chronically deficient in the majority of western diets, and cacao is the highest naturally occurring source. Magnesium is used in all key brain functions, especially memory and concentration. It is also beneficial for the function of the heart, acting to relax blood vessels and decrease strain. Besides magnesium, cacao is also the highest naturally occurring source of chromium, and also high in copper, calcium, manganese, zinc, sulfur, iron, and phosphorous. Our cacao has been lab tested for safety and meets comprehensive EU standards for absence of heavy metals.

 

The Positive Impacts of Cacao on Mood

Regularly working with unsweetened chocolate can have therapeutic health benefits, including creating new neural pathways that change our daily experience to include more joy, love, and connection. Cacao contains beneficial neurotransmitters and neuro-modulators already present in our brain, most notably including: 

Norepinephrine - The joy molecule

Serotonin - Helps with wellbeing, and creates resistance to stress. Cacao also has MOA inhibitors, that inhibit re-uptake of serotonin.

Dopamine - Gives feelings of motivation and pleasure. Cacao also has MOA inhibitors, that inhibit re-uptake of dopamine.

Anandamine - The bliss molecule, it moderates pain, and is associated with the "runners high" effect. Cacao also has N-linoleoylethanolamine, the re-uptake inhibitor for anandamine.

Phenylethylamine (PEA) - Helps with excitement, alertness, attention. Gives the perception of time slowing down. 

Freshly Handmade Cacao Paste
 

 

How Is Ceremonial Cacao Better For Me Than Cocoa Powder?

Our ceremonial grade cacao is a whole food, alive in spirit. Our cacao paste is a whole food, made from a single ingredient, cacao beans, that have been roasted, shelled, and ground down. Cacao powder is processed a few steps further, to remove the cacao butter from the cacao paste. While cacao powder is often marketed as a superfood, we've found cacao paste to be far more potent as it still contains the high grade cacao butter, which is the best carrier fat for the medicinal properties of cacao. The difference is clear - try making a cacao drink with just cacao powder and water (it doesn't taste very good) - and then try making a cacao drink just cacao paste and water, and you'll see how much more nutritive and nourishing the latter is.

 
 

How Will Ceremonial Cacao Make Me Feel?

You may feel expansive, blissful, connected to self and/or others, inspired, connected to your intuition & vision, connected to spirit, grounded, emotions arise, and the movement of stuck energy.

When drinking about 1oz of high quality cacao, one can experience increased blood flow, mood elevation, and a more expanded state of consciousness. Cacao is a vasodilator, meaning your blood vessels and muscular systems relax. When working with ceremonial doses of cacao, one can increase their blood flow by up to 30%, meaning that more blood, (life force energy) is moving through your body and nourishing all of your systems.

Theobromine in Cacao

 

 


Is Cacao A Stimulant?

Cacao contains theobromine, an alkaloid in the methylxanthine class of compounds, which also contain caffeine, mateine, and more. Theobromine is a cardiac stimulant (as opposed to caffeine which is a nervous system stimulant) and it relaxes blood vessels, together producing an effect of 30-40% higher blood circulation. This improves absorption of other important nutrients in cacao or other superfoods that it is paired with. There is far more theobromine than caffeine in cacao - it is a misconception that cacao contains much caffeine, most likely due to a caffeine like energy rush from the cane sugar used to sweeten most chocolate bars. Theobromine is only about one quarter as stimulating as caffeine, and it has a much longer half life in the liver, meaning that it's affect on the body is softer and longer.

 Is Your Cacao Raw?

Indigenous cacao traditions all over central and south America toast their cacao at low temperatures using a clay comal and the coals from an open fire. We believe there is wisdom in these indigenous preparations of cacao, so we too lightly toast our cacao, so it is not raw. And it is VERY rare to find truly raw cacao. All cacao is fermented after it is harvested, and the fermentation temperatures need to reach 124F for proper flavor development, which is beyond the raw threshold of 116F. Raw ceremonial cacao is misleading marketing (from a technical perspective), rather, we find that companies are using the term raw to describe a level of purity in the cacao making process, which we fully support and practice ourselves, but we choose not to call that raw, because it is about much more than temperature.

While un-roasted cacao is certainly an improvement over industrial cacao roasting which uses high temperatures to create uniform results out of inferior cacao inputs, it's missing the magic and the flavor that the fire element introduces. We believe strongly that making good ceremonial cacao involves taking the cacao through a four element transformation as we work with it, including fire, air, earth, and water. So of course, we can't leave out the fire!

Lightly Toasted Raw Cacao Beans

Can I Eat Your Cacao While On A Ketogenic Or Paleo Diet?

Absolutely YES. Many experts recommend extra dark chocolate for the ketogenic diet. Our cacao has a 1.1:1 fats to protein+carbs ratio, so it won't knock you out of ketosis. And you'll receive all the many benefits of cacao, from a gentle energy boost to the high mineral content to the compounds that beneficially affect your state of mind.

We produce different cacaos that are 100% blends without sugar also allowing you to enjoy our drinking chocolate without any sweetener.

 

When Should I Not Drink Cacao?

See a list of contra-indications here.

Have a question we didn't address here? Message us through the chat window on the bottom right and we'll happily help out.

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