• SUPPORT@ORACACAO.COM

    SUPPORT@ORACACAO.COM

  • +1 707.861.8504

    +1 707.861.8504

  • SUPPORT CHAT

    SUPPORT CHAT

Trending Questions

Find answers to the most popular questions below or use the links below to navigate to the topic you’re interested in.

  • Column

    Pair text with an image to focus on your chosen product, collection, or blog post. Add details on availability, style, or even provide a review.

  • Column

    Pair text with an image to focus on your chosen product, collection, or blog post. Add details on availability, style, or even provide a review.

  • Column

    Pair text with an image to focus on your chosen product, collection, or blog post. Add details on availability, style, or even provide a review.

Basic Cacao Information

What is ceremonial cacao?

Ceremonial cacao refers to the quality and source of the beans, the process of making the cacao, and the intentions and ingredients that go into it. From the beginning of the process, our intention is to create a delicious cacao beverage that provides a holistic, connective experience with the Spirit of the cacao tree and ourselves. To do so, every step of the chocolate making process from the farming to the shipping is done in full alignment with our mission of healing. Our cacao is organic and of the highest quality, and we have strong beneficial relationships with all of our small family farmers. Our entire process is designed to maintain the natural energetic and beneficial compounds of the cacao. Our chocolate is a whole food from beginning to end - we neither add processing aids or remove key beneficial compounds such as cacao butter, which is the best natural carrier of all of cacao’s health benefits. Our studio space is peaceful, and run on solar energy. We keep it energetically clear ensuring that the cacao is made in a good-energy environment. We personally enjoy drinking chocolate often throughout the production process, as we taste the small batches and attune to the desires of the spirit of cacao. We understand that not everyone is intimate with the chocolate making industry at large, so to provide some more context, here is a comparison of our ceremonial cacao to industrially produced chocolate. Industrial produced chocolate: is grown in mono-cropped industrial farms using hybridized cacao genetics, pesticides, and unfair labor practices emphasizes quantity over quality is mass manufactured in factories contains additives such as refined sugars and preservatives is heated using dutch processing techniques which heat out the beneficial healthy compounds is made by corporations that prioritize profit over positive impact on the land, people & resources utilized is consumed as candy Firefly Ceremonial Cacao: Is respected as a tree Spirit  Comes from native seeds from local heirloom nurseries Is organically grown in agroforestry projects, primarily on family farms averaging 2 acres in size Is grown in a cooperative model, paying an average of 40-220% above the commodity price which provides better livelihood for the farmers and communities Beans are purchased directly and handcrafted into chocolate at our small studio in northern California Is blessed throughout the entire making process with love and intention for healing Is lightly roasted, maintaining the healthy beneficial compounds of the cacao beans. This allows one to access expanded states of consciousness and increased vitality levels by connecting with the beneficial compounds of high quality cacao Is in the form of cacao discs, which allow for easy measuring, and easy blending into heated water to make smooth drinking chocolate  Is consumed intentionally with ritual, often to connect more deeply with yourself and others.

Quick Guide to Ceremonial Cacao

Ceremonial cacao refers to the quality and source of the beans, the process of making the cacao, and the intentions and ingredients that go into it. From the beginning of the process, our intention is to create a delicious cacao beverage that provides a holistic, connective experience with the Spirit of the cacao tree and ourselves. To do so, every step of the chocolate making process from the farming to the shipping is done in full alignment with our mission of healing. Our cacao is organic and of the highest quality, and we have strong beneficial relationships with all of our small family farmers. Our entire process is designed to maintain the natural energetic and beneficial compounds of the cacao. Our chocolate is a whole food from beginning to end - we neither add processing aids or remove key beneficial compounds such as cacao butter, which is the best natural carrier of all of cacao’s health benefits. Our studio space is peaceful, and run on solar energy. We keep it energetically clear ensuring that the cacao is made in a good-energy environment. We personally enjoy drinking chocolate often throughout the production process, as we taste the small batches and attune to the desires of the spirit of cacao. We understand that not everyone is intimate with the chocolate making industry at large, so to provide some more context, here is a comparison of our ceremonial cacao to industrially produced chocolate. Industrial produced chocolate: is grown in mono-cropped industrial farms using hybridized cacao genetics, pesticides, and unfair labor practices emphasizes quantity over quality is mass manufactured in factories contains additives such as refined sugars and preservatives is heated using dutch processing techniques which heat out the beneficial healthy compounds is made by corporations that prioritize profit over positive impact on the land, people & resources utilized is consumed as candy Firefly Ceremonial Cacao: Is respected as a tree Spirit  Comes from native seeds from local heirloom nurseries Is organically grown in agroforestry projects, primarily on family farms averaging 2 acres in size Is grown in a cooperative model, paying an average of 40-220% above the commodity price which provides better livelihood for the farmers and communities Beans are purchased directly and handcrafted into chocolate at our small studio in northern California Is blessed throughout the entire making process with love and intention for healing Is lightly roasted, maintaining the healthy beneficial compounds of the cacao beans. This allows one to access expanded states of consciousness and increased vitality levels by connecting with the beneficial compounds of high quality cacao Is in the form of cacao discs, which allow for easy measuring, and easy blending into heated water to make smooth drinking chocolate  Is consumed intentionally with ritual, often to connect more deeply with yourself and others.

What is a serving size?

Ceremonial cacao affects each person differently, so we encourage you to find the best serving size for your body :) 
As a general rule, 0.8 oz, or about 8 discs, is 1 serving. So in our 16oz pouches, you have about 20 servings.
Depending on the experience you are looking for, you can increase or decrease that amount,
  • For a morning ritual, I may work with 5-12 discs.
  • For a deeper personal ceremony, I may bump it up to 15-18 discs.
  • For a group cacao ceremony, we recommend about 1.0oz/person to start and then you can always serve more.
Remember, you won't build a 'tolerance' to cacao, and more doesn't equal better. We've had profound experiences from just one disc! 

Where do cacao nibs come from?

Cacao nibs are made from whole cacao beans after they have been fermented, dried and lightly roasted. The beans are then cracked, shelled and broken into smaller pieces, making nibs!

Nibs are great additions to your smoothies, oatmeal, and chocolate desserts.

Is your cacao organic?

Yes. We only work with certified organic cacao farmers, and all of our ingredients in our cacao blends are also organic.

We've found that this is a tangible way to impact the earth and communities where our cacao is grown, by partnering with farmers who are invested in meeting the Organic certification standards.

What is cacao paste?

Cacao paste is made from the whole cacao bean. Compared to cacao powder, which has been defatted, cacao paste is typically 50% cacao butter.

Ceremonial cacao is made with cacao paste, because cacao butter is the best carrier for the beneficial compounds in cacao. This means that our bodies are able to absorb more of the nutrients.

Cacao paste is made from high quality cacao beans that have been fermented, dried, lightly roasted, cracked and winnow, ground, conched, and tempered.

How does your cacao work?

It's as easy as this:
  • heat your water to 180F or less (you can boil it and let it cool a bit, too)
  • measure out 5-15 discs per serving
  • mix the discs into the heated water, either by blending or mixing with a whisk or fork
  • enjoy with love!
In our mission to spread the cacao love far and wide, we have developed a custom process to form the cacao paste into discs. This allows for easy measurement, and also makes for smoother melting.

How Should I Store My Cacao?

Our ceremonial cacao will last 1-2 years when stored in the proper conditions. If you live in a temperate place without high heat or humidity, leaving it at room temperature is best.

If you are in a hot place, we recommend storing it in the coolest place in your house during hot weather. A dark cupboard is a great option. Sometimes storing the cacao in the fridge can result in condensation inside the bags which can ruin the shelf life. If you must keep the cacao in the fridge we recommend transferring the cacao to a glass jar, first.

Keep the cacao out of the direct sun to avoid melting.

What is the difference between cacao powder and cacao paste?

Cacao paste is a whole food, made from a single ingredient, cacao beans, that have been roasted, shelled, and ground down. Cacao powder has been defatted - it 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.

Cacao powder is more popular, because it is easier to stir into drinks, won’t melt during storage and is cheaper, yet it isn't as good for you. It is usually prepared with dairy, because it doesn’t taste good with water. Cacao paste is actually good for you, it can be made without milk or sugar and still taste delicious. 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 Does Your Ceremonial Cacao Compare To Other Companies Products?

In a nutshell, we’re redefining chocolate, with the goal of building healthy relationships between people, plants, and the earth. We source from sustainable, small family farms, that Jonas has personal relationships with, and he handles the making process from the cacao beans all the way to cacao discs in our chocolate studio in Northern California. He's found that removing middlemen from the process is the best way to maintain the pure energy & intention for our products.
What Makes Firefly Unique:
  • We are one of the few bean to ceremonial cacao makers. Most suppliers source the cacao paste in block form meaning they don’t have control over the entire making process. 
  • We are one of just a few organic certified ceremonial cacao producers on the market
  • We run on 100% solar energy
  • We are the only company with ceremonial cacao discs. Most other companies sell bricks of cacao which require grinding/chopping & measuring to make a cup of cacao. With our discs you can count out the discs and they melt easily into hot water.
  • Our cacao has over 2100 reviews averaging 4.9 stars
  • We work with certified organic farms
  • We are the leading supplier of ceremonial cacao in the US.
  • We have an ever growing variety of products, including different ceremonial cacao blends, and 3-4 different origins available at a given time. This allows our customers to get to know cacao on deeper levels, as each origin has a unique energy and taste.
  • We offer high quality online courses and an annual in-person retreat at origin to build an ecosystem of cacao stewards around the world who are knowledgeable about cacao and educated in holding safe space for people in cacao ceremony. 

Customer Support & Order Information

I have a question, how can I contact you?

Easy! Simply chat us via the blue button in the bottom right hand corner of our website, or send us an email at support@fireflychocolate.com

My cacao arrived melted, what do I do?

During the summer months we ship your cacao with ice packs, coolers made with recyclable or reused materials, and priority shipping to protect it from the summer heat. This works well for the majority of our shipments and we feel confident in shipping your delicious cacao discs to you year round. Yet, with summer temps and without using any waxes or preservatives in our chocolate, a small percentage of packages may arrive with various degrees of melting. The good news is that while molten, the cacao is still good to use and retains all of its medicinal properties. We understand that it can be a disappointment if your discs are melted together, and we have some options for you below. 

If you receive a melted ceremonial cacao sampler kit you can put the cacao in a cool spot so it can resolidify. Each bag of cacao is 2oz, so you can split the melted cacao in half, to have 1 serving each (these are stronger servings, so you could also split it into 3 equal-sized pieces). Use a knife to chop up the block of cacao. Once you have a serving size, you can use a sharp knife to chop the cacao up into small pieces. This will help it melt smoothly into your heated liquid. Make your cacao! Enjoy! While it's a little more effort upfront, you're still enjoying a high-quality beverage of ceremonial cacao that tastes delicious.  If you receive an 8oz, 16oz or 5lb bag of cacao with more than 50% of the discs melted together and have shipping insurance you can submit a claim for a replacement, within 24 hours of delivery by the carrier. Remember that the product is inherently still good and usable, so please only submit a claim if you feel you cannot use the product as replacing product is expensive for our small business! 

Coverage Exceptions:

- Insurance does not cover melted ceremonial cacao kits.

- Insurance does not cover instances when the cacao melted due to mail carrier delays.

- Insurance does not cover melting claims made more than 24 hours after delivery of the package.

- Due to extended transit times melting is not covered for any international shipments, except for FedEx Express shipments to Canada which are covered.

We highly recommend selecting the Express shipping option for cacao shipments in the summer time. 

Do you ship internationally?

Yes! We ship to most countries. We ship with the best express option for international orders, usually DHL. We ship all orders DDP, which means that delivery, duty + taxes, and brokerage are all paid for when you place an order on our website. You can rest assured that there will be no additional charges to get your packages through customs and to release your package. We also have a standard delivery option available which you may select, but usually Express is just marginally more expensive and offers much faster service. 

All international orders will ship within 2 business days. 

For international orders we HIGHLY recommend selecting our third party shipping insurance at checkout for an expedited claims process. If you do not, and a package is lost in transit, we need to wait for 30 consecutive days from the date of last tracking update before we can file the lost in transit claim for that order. The third party shipping insurance allows us to process reimbursement and ship a replacement order much faster. Pro tip: International shipping is 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!

What is your shipping policy?

You can find our shipping policy at https://ceremonial-cacao.com/pages/shipping-refund-policy

Cacao & Holistic Health

What are the health benefits of ceremonial cacao?

While most chocolate bars are highly processed and loaded with cane sugar, our pure cacao is a different story. You can feel great about having it every day!
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-modulators 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 could be classified as a drug rather than a food, it has over 300 (and possibly over 1000) individual constituents that act in amazing synergy to benefit the human body. Key benefits include:
  • Many vital minerals, especially for heart health. 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 vessel 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.
  •  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 effect on the body is softer and longer. Theobromine is a cardiac stimulant, as opposed to caffeine which is a nervous system stimulant.
  • Multiple mood elevating compounds. 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 neuromodulators already present in our brain, most notably including: 
    • Norepinephrine - the joy molecule
    • Serotonin - help with wellbeing, and creates resistance to stress. Cacao also has MOA inhibitors, that inhibit re-uptake of serotonin.
    • Dopamine - 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. 
  • Increased energy & vitality. Caffeine is often confused with the primary stimulant molecule in cacao, theobromine. There actually isn't much caffeine in our cacaos at all .... the misconception arises from the fact that the cane sugar used to sweeten most chocolate bars gives a caffeine like energy rush. But since we make pure cacao without sugar you are probably wondering now:
  • What is Theobromine, and How is it Different than Caffeine?
  • Theobromine is an alkaloid in the methylxanthine class of compounds, which also contain caffeine, mateine, and more. Theobromine simultaneously stimulates the heart and 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.
  • High source of antioxidants.

Has your cacao been tested for mold & heavy metals?

Yes, all our cacao is third party tested for mold before we purchase it, that is part of our purchasing standards. So no, you do not need to be concerned about mycotoxins in our cacao. 

Our cacao has been lab tested for safety and meets comprehensive EU standards for absence of heavy metals.

We get the cleanest cacao in the industry, from reliable and reputable partners who take utmost care in the fermentation and drying process to produce ultra premium cacao. Jonas, the founder, visits our suppliers to verify the post harvest processing himself.

What are the nutrition facts for your cacao?

These are the nutrition facts for our organic 100% ceremonial cacaos from BelizeColumbiaEcuadorGuatemala, and Tanzania and our super cacao blends of Medicinal MushroomOaxacan SpiceTantric Rose Blossom, and Vibrant Vitality.

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.

Also, because cacao goes through a fermentation process which naturally heats it to over 110 degrees, even cacao that hasn't been toasted doesn't technically qualify as raw. The "raw cacao" marketing craze emerged out of the "raw foods" movement, which correctly encouraged people to eat more raw foods, defined as foods that are never heated above 116F. "Raw" became synonymous with high vitality, healthy food, so naturally, "raw cacao" was born. However, as chocolate makers, we know this term is misleading for cacao, due to the benefits of the fermentation and toasting processes described above. Raw cacao is certainly an improvement over industrial cacao roasting which uses very high temperatures to create uniform results out of inferior cacao inputs, but those high temperatures also effectively kill the health and spiritual potency of the cacao. But leaving out fire altogether isn't quite right either ... 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. It's all about being in harmony with the fire, so we roast our cacao at low temperatures and for short durations. Despite the pressure to market our chocolate as "raw", we've never done so, and instead share what we wrote above with everyone we meet because we believe a transparent marketplace is a healthy one. If this explanation leaves you with any questions please contact us!

Is cacao keto approved?

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. 

How often should I drink cacao?

First and foremost we recommend listening to your body. There are periods where we drink cacao every day, and times where we take a break, especially when our body needs to rest when we are sick. Sometimes we'll have a whole cup of cacao at once, and other times we'll treat ourselves to chocolate discs once an hour, spreading it out all day. So every day is different.

In the course of a day, generally a larger dose is considered something in the range of 1oz -1.5 oz, and a smaller dose could be only a few discs (0.25oz or less). Our typical serving for a public cacao ceremony is 1.0oz, and then we'll pour more for those who want more. Most definitely we reserve larger doses for when we can really spend time with the cacao, for example when we are in ceremony. 

As far as having too much, it's important to keep in mind that more of a good thing is not necessarily better. If you have a larger dose than optimal you may notice feeling overstimulated, or alternatively, tired. On a long term basis, this could cause adrenal fatigue. The more you continue to drink cacao the more you will understand how your body responds, as we're all unique. You might be fine with 1.5oz or even 2.00oz of cacao daily, or you might prefer just 0.25oz. Your body will guide you.

When you are first starting out, we like to think of it as creating a relationship with a new friend.. a tree friend :) To best learn from cacao, we recommend staying well hydrated, avoiding other stimulants such as coffee, and other mind altering substances such as alcohol or tobacco. That way you can clearly discern the effects of cacao.

It can be helpful to set aside every morning to build your practice of making cacao, and noticing how it feels in your body. This may become a regular part of your morning ritual! Our founder Jonas began his relationship with cacao by micro-dosing with a small amount (such as 0.25oz) on a daily basis for over a year. He noted his state before he had cacao, and then how his experience was several hours later, to develop an understanding of how cacao impacted his physical / emotional / spiritual state in a wide range of situations.Needless to say he developed a strong relationship with cacao, and then he began experimenting with larger doses. It takes time to build true intimacy, but the path is delicious every single day and full of beautiful surprises!

How much caffeine is in cacao?

Actual caffeine and theobromine values from our lab testing indicate 36mg caffeine and 212mg theobromine per serving.

As a coffee alternative, you might think this caffeine value is high, but experientially the "feeling" of cacao is dominated by theobromine. That's because all of the beneficial fats and many other molecules moderate the caffeine in the cacao, similarly to how a bullet proof coffee provides a more grounded experience than a cup of straight black coffee.

Caffeine is often confused with the primary stimulant molecule in cacao, theobromine. The misconception arises from the fact that the cane sugar used to sweeten most chocolate bars gives a caffeine like energy rush.

How is Theobromine Different Than Caffeine?

Theobromine is an alkaloid in the methylxanthine class of compounds, which also contain caffeine. Theobromine simultaneously stimulates the heart and 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.

What minerals are found in cacao?

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 vessel 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.

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 effect on the body is softer and longer. Theobromine is a cardiac stimulant, as opposed to caffeine which is a nervous system stimulant.

Who shouldn't drink cacao?

We definitely DO NOT recommend cacao if you are taking any sort of mood altering medications, such as anti-depressants with SSRIs, or any medication that works in the dopamine or serotonin pathways.
You can see more on this topic under the Ceremonial Cacao & SSRIs FAQ.
Other health contraindications we have heard of over time:
  • It may cause an aggravation of acid reflux or ulcers.
  • It may cause breaking out when an individual has herpes.
If pregnant, we recommend not starting with cacao if you don't already have a practice with it. If you do have a cacao practice, we recommend 1/4-1/2 of what you normally intake. Ashwagandha, which is in our Vibrant Vitality blend, is not recommended during pregnancy.
While breast feeding, cacao is safe. Just keep an eye out on the baby, and see if the baby likes it or not.

Ceremonial Cacao & SSRI's

Cacao is a natural antidepressant, and is contraindicated with SSRI based antidepressants, which are ‘selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors’ making our cells more able to receive serotonin. Cacao has the same effect, and when people are already on SSRI antidepressants, drinking a ceremonial dose of cacao can overload the receptors with serotonin.

It's important to note that not all antidepressants have SSRIs, so it’s an important distinction to make. It's also important to note that other medication such as some anti-psychotics also work in the serotonin & dopamine pathways in the brain, and these are also contraindicated.

Too much serotonin in the system can cause headaches - if this occurs, drink lots of water and rest.

If you are sharing cacao with groups, it's important to share the possible contraindications before serving cacao. Note that with ceremonial cacao, more is not always a “better” or “deeper” experience. The cacao can be very potent even with a little sip. Being in the room in the presence of the cacao energy can be powerful without taking a full dose yourself.

Recipes & Tips For Making Your Cacao

How do I prepare my ceremonial cacao?

It's easy! Check out our guide here.

What are healthy ways to sweeten cacao?

While cacao was traditionally enjoyed without sweetener, the strong taste may be surprising for some. We recommend using 1tsp or less of the following sweeteners, per cup.
  • Local honey made by happy bees
  • Maple syrup
  • Coconut sugar 
  • Lucuma
  • Birch sugar
The key thing with adding sweetener is that you want to maintain an 85% or higher ratio of cacao content to get the maximum health benefits. So for 0.85oz of cacao, add no more than 0.15oz of sweetener. The reason is that our gut flora contains competing bacterial families, and if we add too much sweetener to our cacao, the beneficial bacteria that help our bodies absorb the cacao are out-competed by the voracious sugar eating bacteria.

What can I do with leftover cacao?

Put it in a sealed container in the fridge and reheat the following morning for cacao round 2! (it's best to consume within 12-24 hours)

Make Cacao Mousse (see recipe)

Make Cacao Ice Cubes (see recipe)

Gift it to friends and loved ones

Return it to the Earth with gratitude

What are some good recipes?

Check out our recipes page!

Sourcing & Impact

What Is Colonization & How Was Cacao Colonized?

To be colonized means to be disconnected and disintegrated from ancestry and land based knowledge. 
Colonization is supported by supremacy and capitalism. Three layers of supremacy are commonly found today:
  • White supremacy. This legitimizes slavery and provide cheap labor for capitalism. It also legitimizes genocide and support resource grabbing for capitalism.
  • Human supremacy. This legitimizes ecocide (ecological destruction) and the exploitation of resources.
  • Male supremacy and patriarchy. This legitimizes femicide, domestic violence, and child abuse. This creates "invisible labor" that is not compensated for in capitalism.
The results of colonization include trauma, chronic stress, environmental degradation, fractured food systems, countless diseases, and many other symptoms. 
Cacao was colonized with the "colonial conquest" of the Americas in the 1500s, when the three above mentioned systems of supremacy were imposed upon the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas and over 99% of the population was eradicated by disease and violence in a massive cultural genocide. So much wisdom, culture, and spiritual practice was lost. 
Rainforest ecosystems became managed as a "resource" rather than a "living system", and cacao became one of many rainforest products extracted for the benefit of the colonizers. Widespread deforestation, species extinction, and loss of native strains continues to this day.
All consideration of cacao as a sacred plant was lost on the colonizers. Instead, white supremacy justified slave labor, poverty level wages paid to farmers, all to get more cacao, cheaper. Political interference by Western & European interests has caused major suffering and corruption in Central & South American political systems. Major social movements have been undermined by foreign interests, inhibiting the thriving of the indigenous populations. To this day cacao is still grown in the context of an extractive capitalist system in countries where political and economic realities are determined by the descendants of the original colonizers, and the ancestry and land based knowledge of cacao is largely disregarded.
For full details on the colonization of central and south America, we recommend reading: The Open Veins of Latin America.

How do we decolonize cacao?

The first step to de-colonizing cacao is acknowledging and grieving the colonization of cacao and the systematic oppression and exploitation of cacao communities and indigenous culture. Not to do so, especially when in a position of privilege, is acting in complicity with the systems of domination.
The second step to de-colonizing cacao is going through an extensive healing and reconciliation process to restore the respect that was lost when the colonizing mechanisms of supremacy and capitalism were imposed. An initial step in this direction could be to pay cacao prices far higher than the industry average, as the capitalist way of indicating respect. An even further step is to purchase only from small cacao farmers to de-aggregate wealth, and to support regional economies were farmers sell wet cacao to high quality fermenteries that add additional value before export.
However, to truly decolonize cacao requires also showing respect in non-capitalist ways, including:
  • Honoring and treating cacao as a sacred plant, as it was done in pre-colonial times. This is a practice that can be done on the individual level (by practicing relationship through ceremonial cacao rather than consumerism through chocolate bars) as well as at the level of corporations, non profits, and governments.
  • Ending all unsustainable deforestation and mineral exploitation. These extractive practices degrade the tropical ecosystem that serves as the genetic reservoir for cacao and home for indigenous communities that have tremendous knowledge of the rainforest which cacao calls home.
  • Respecting indigenous self determination and ancestral indigenous claims to territory. The true wisdom for rainforest stewardship and historical knowledge about cacao lies with the very people who ancestrally lived where cacao grows, and their way of life and cosmo-visions are critically threatened.
In a broader context, de-colonizing cacao can not be done in isolation of de-colonizing many of the other systems we live within. In essence, we will be working in solidarity with many movements that are restoring sacred relationship with the earth as a living being, and stepping into the regeneration and thriving of all life on Planet Earth with human stewardship.

Decolonizing Cacao: A Sacred Medicine & Relationship To Money

Announcing our Cacao Coin Rewards Program got us thinking deeply (again) about the relationship between cacao as a medicine, and monetary exchange. If you want to dive in, we recommend reading the How Do We Decolonize Cacao FAQ that touches the essence of our perspective at Firefly on this topic.

Fundamentally, our monetary system is simply one form of respect that we can give for a sacred medicine such as cacao (for example, paying our cacao farmers good prices). But the true work of decolonization includes respect on many additional levels, including seeking active relationship to cacao through ceremony, seeking to end destructive deforestation and mineral exploitation, and supporting indigenous sovereignty and protection of their cosmo-visions. 

This decolonization work is at the heart of our mission at Firefly and we're emerging as thought leaders in the chocolate world on this topic. So as we share the cacao coins rewards program with you, know that it is but a little part of the bigger picture of leaning more into sacred exchange with our community. The intention is not to devalue cacao, but to give thanks to you for the many non-monetary ways you support us, from sharing our cacao with your circles of friends, and simply blessing us from afar.

Is your packaging sustainable?

We're glad you're curious about this! We recently shared a newsletter going into detail about our search for compostable packaging and our efforts for regenerative cacao.  Take a look on our Cacao Journal to check it out.

Cacao Ritual & Ceremony

How To Cultivate A Relationship With Cacao The Plant Spirit

Often relationships are based on a genuine desire to get to know each other, and working with cacao is no exception. The best way to get to know cacao is to begin sitting with it on a daily basis, and approaching it with inquiry.

When you sip cacao, you can ask cacao any number of questions. Some good ones to get started with are:

Hi! I'm curious about you. Can you teach me about you?

What do I need to know to share you in ceremony?

You may or may not receive a reply immediately. Plants have a different notion of time than humans do, so sometimes the insight comes days later. Just pay attention, and be patient.

You can also approach the cacao with personal work you are doing, which is a way that cacao loves to work with us. For example:

So I'm really struggling with this ... , and I need help with it. Can you help?

I'm working on this ...., and I need new insight or clarity. How can I see this situation differently?

Specificity always improves outcomes. The more detail you go into with any personal work, the clearer the outcome will be.

Or, you can work with cacao to invite new beginnings, expansion, or mystery into your day. One of my favorite things to ask cacao for is more magic in my life. Regardless of what I request, I usually feel lighter after bringing my request to cacao, knowing that I'm not in it alone anymore, I have a bad-ass plant spirit looking out for me too.

What do we know about ancient cacao rituals?

Archaeological evidence of cacao's use dates back to 3,900 years ago in Central America, and recent genetic evidence dates cacao's use to 5,300 years ago in the Amazon. Despite this long history of human use of cacao, we know very little about ancient cacao rituals both because of the massive genocide of the indigenous population of the Americas beginning in the 1500s, and because of how quickly ancient artifacts deteriorate in wet tropical conditions. 

We do know that for the Olmec, Zapotec, Mayans, and Aztec, cacao was a plant of central importance. Cacao is mentioned extensively in the Popul Vuh, the Mayan Creation story, and can be found in many engravings depicting ritual offerings. We know that there were great storehouses of cacao beans, that cacao was used as a currency, and that cacao was consumed as a drink. Cacao is still an important part of Maya culture today, utilized in midwifery, weddings & other social gatherings.

Cacao ceremony, in the Western context, is a relatively new phenomenon, as people seek a new relationship with cacao outside of what the chocolate industry offers. There is no relationship between modern cacao ceremony and ancient cacao ceremony, besides the desire to engage in sacred relationship with the cacao plant.

This is a fundamental tie though, as all the information for ancient cacao rituals likely arose from intuitive listening and inquiry with the cacao plant, and similarly, modern cacao ceremony arises from a method of inquiry and relationship building with the cacao spirit.

Why do people drink cacao in a group ceremony?

Cacao ceremonies are becoming more popular, because they are spaces for people to connect with each other in new ways.
It's important to note that every ceremony is different, and every facilitator has their own approach. This article references the types of ceremonies that the Firefly Chocolate team is familiar with, and does not represent all cacao ceremonies. We recommend connecting with the facilitator of any ceremony you attend, as it's important to feel a harmonious connection with the space holder.

Benefits of cacao ceremonies:

  • when a group all drinks cacao together, they are shifting their energy into the same frequency or vibration. This may seem a bit woo woo, yet it's similar to a group of friends going out for beers - they are all getting into the same journey together by drinking beverages with the same effect on the body. Cacao is much gentler than alcohol.
  • cacao increases the energetic field of our hearts, and when we join together, the field is amplified and woven together with multiple hearts in the room.
  • we each carry unique medicine and messages for each other, and even if you are in a ceremony with strangers, they may share something about their personal experience that provides more clarity for where you are in your life.
  • cacao ceremonies create a safe, nourishing environment for people to connect with themselves, the spirit of cacao, and each other in deeper ways than one can usually access when by themselves.
When multiple people share cacao together, we have a shared experience of mood elevation, increased vitality, enhanced intuition and empathy, and a more open, present heart. Sharing cacao brings us into the same energetic frequency. This often results in deeper more intimate connection with ourselves and each other.

Am I Ready To Lead A Group Cacao Ceremony?

Deciding to share cacao with others in ceremony is a personal journey, and part of our mission is to educate and empower our customers to build deep nourishing connections with their communities through cacao.
We believe it's up to each person's discretion on if/when they feel ready to share cacao with others in large groups.
We've developed the following inquiry questions to help you get clear on your desires and intentions for sharing cacao with others.
Note while this article is relevant to all, it was written with those sharing cacao in larger contexts in mind. i.e. more than 5 people, or outside of your direct friend groups.
Cacao 101
  • Do you know where cacao comes from?
  • What do you know about the history of cacao?
  • How is the cacao made?
  • What makes it ceremonial?
  • Why do people gather in cacao ceremonies?
Space Holding
  • Do you have a committed personal practice that helps you feel centered and anchored?
  • Does this practice help you feel capable of holding space for yourself?
  • Does this practice help you feel capable of holding space for others?
  • Do you feel comfortable holding space for others and do you want to do that?
Your Why
  • Why do you want to share cacao with others?
  • What is your personal connection with cacao?
  • Have you received any communications from the spirit of Cacao about sharing cacao with others?
  • Do you feel connected with cacao as an ally?
  • Where does your desire to share cacao come from?
  • Do you feel like you’re rushing? Where does this desire come from?
If you are looking for courses in how to lead cacao ceremonies, see our online courses here!

How Much Cacao Do I Need For A Group Cacao Ceremony?

Start with estimating how many people you expect, and add 3-5 on top to be safe.You'll want 1-1.5 ounces per person for the ceremony which is about 10-20 discs. You can start with 4 oz of liquid per serving, and then adjust per the consistency you want. Note that it will thicken the longer it sits after you heat it.

You can also use the cups that you will be serving in as a way to measure the amount of liquid.

For any cacao that is left over, you can make chocolate mousse, cacao ice cubes for smoothies, or offer it back to the Earth to show your gratitude. See the Recipes section of our FAQs for details!

How To Offer Cacao Ceremonies While Traveling

Cacao ceremonies are a great way to bring people together no matter where you are. Cacao ceremonies are common at festivals, yoga studios, people's homes, and sometimes even in the car during a pit stop!
If you're hosting a cacao ceremony somewhere without a kitchen, our discs make it super easy to measure out your dosage and make the cacao, no knife, cutting board or scale needed.
Required Tools:
  • Way to heat water. We recommend bringing an electric kettle that you can plug into an outlet. Another option is to bring a hot plate, pot and ladle.
  • Way to mix the cacao. A blender that you can plug into an outlet will enable you to mix your cacao with ease. Alternatively, you could bring a molinillo / batador, to mix the cacao while you're heating it in a pot.
  • Way to keep the cacao warm. A thermos, like this one or this one, is one of our favorite tools to have handy while on the road. Keeping the cacao warm makes it extra nourishing and delicious for your guests.
  • Cups. If you're offering a lot of ceremonies, it can be worthwhile to invest in nice serving cups to provide a special experience. Alternative options are to require that people bring their own cups, to bring some from your own and friends kitchens, or to use compostable cups.
Optional tools:
  • Sweeteners, and spoons in case people want to add it to their individual cup of cacao.
  • Any additional spices or herbs that you may want to include in your cacao.
  • A rag is always good to have on hand for spills.
  • Altar items.
  • A portable speaker.

Can I Keep Leftover Cacao?

Yes! We recommend putting it in a sealed container in the fridge. It will keep for 12-24 hours, although the sooner you consume it the fresher it will be.

You can also make Cacao Mouse, Cacao Ice Cubes, gift it to others, or offer it back to the Earth. See our Recipes section for more details.

Wholesale and Bulk Cacao

I'm Interested In Wholesale Or Bulk Cacao!

Bulk cacao is our ceremonial cacao discs without Ora Cacao packaging.

Wholesale is to purchase cases of Ora Cacao branded and packaged cacao discs to resell.

Bulk Cacao, Affiliates & Rewards

Do you have an affiliate or ambassador program?

We have two programs to support the many ways people are sharing our cacao. Our Cacao Referral Rewards program is best for those wanting an easy way to share Ora Cacao with their friends and family.

Our Cacao Affiliate Program is best suited for those with digital platforms (influencers, content creators, online entrepreneurs) who have a reach on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, e-mail lists, etc.

Cacao Rewards Program

This is the place to start! You can sign up for our rewards program through the red button on the bottom left hand corner of our website, and instantly access your unique referral link. This link provides a 5% discount code for new customers on their first order, and when people use your link, you get 500 cacao coins (equivalent to $10!). With this program you also receive points for your orders with us, and other activities like leaving reviews and following us on social media. 

Becoming part of our Cacao Rewards program is the first step to joining our affiliate team. Once 5 of your referrals have purchased cacao from us you are eligible to join our affiliate program with added features and perks. You can see more about how to apply to the affiliate program below.

Ora Cacao Affiliate Program

This program is best suited for those with digital platforms (influencers, content creators, online entrepreneurs) who have a digital reach on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, e-mail lists, etc. In this program you receive a unique discount code and a commission on the first sale of new customers. You do not get rewards for your purchases or leaving reviews.You can see more and apply here.

Our goal with these programs is to have a thriving, connected community of cacao lovers, to amplify the work of this plant teacher.Questions? Email support@oracacao.com

How do I redeem cacao coins?

Once you've accumulated enough coins, you will see a Redeem button for a coupon to apply to your next order. When you click Redeem, it will provide a unique coupon code to input into the checkout page on our website. You will also receive the code via email. Once you click redeem, your points will automatically be updated to reflect the use of the reward.
Here's what the email with the coupon code looks like:

Checking Your Reward Status

Earn discounts for referring your friends

Joining our Cacao Coins Rewards Program is an easy way to earn rewards for referring your friends to us. 

For each friend you refer, you receive 500 cacao coins ($10 worth) to redeem on your cacao.