Pure 100% Ceremonial Cacao

Rated 5.0 out of 5
Based on 117 reviews

Connected Colombia 

Estimated back in stock: May 2022

The Arhuaco people grow this cacao in the Sierra Nevada mountains. They see themselves as a non-dual part of Earth, not separate: so caring for Earth is caring for all of existence. They maintain planetary balance by making ritual payments, or pagamento, to the Earth for her services. Like silk wrapped around your heart, drink this cacao to connect with your sacred essence.

Ingredients

Organic Cacao Beans from Colombia

Mood

Luxurious, Cozy, Nourishing

Best For

Grounding and Peacefulness

Flavor Profile

Coffee, Bark, Graham Crackers (these are tasting notes, not ingredients)

Size
$2.00 per serving
Regular price
Regular price
Sale price
$40.00
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Free US Shipping over $75 Express & Duty Paid International Shipping 24/7 Customer Support Leading supplier of ceremonial cacao in US & Canada Wild-harvested Certified USDA Organic Products Vegan
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  • The Alternatives

  • Ora Cacao

  • GRITTY & BITTER

  • SMOOTH & RICH

  • UNUSABLE CACAO BLOCKS

  • READY TO USE DISCS

  • COFFEE JITTERS

  • GENTLE ENERGY

  • DISCONNECTION

  • MEANINGFUL RITUAL

  • UNVERIFIED SOURCING

  • TRANSPARENT TRADE

  • Metric tons purchased

    27

  • Peak Harvest Time

    MARCH TO MAY

  • Acres of Cacao

    983

  • Organic Farmers

    7

  • The lush rainforest where the cacao is grown

  • A cacao farmer showing us the delicate cacao flowers

  • Opening the cacao pod to reveal the cacao beans inside

  • Wearing traditional dress while fermenting cacao

The Arhuaco tribe of the Tairona people (also including the Kogi, Wiwa, and Kankuamo tribes) grows this cacao as sacred medicine in the spectacular Sierra Nevada mountains of Colombia, which rise from sea level to 18,700 feet in a mere 26 miles.

Their non-dual spiritual beliefs guide them to see themselves as an integral part of Earth, rather than as separate: so caring for Earth is caring for all of existence. Living at what they believe to be the heart of the Earth, they maintain planetary balance and harmony by making ritual payments during intricate meditation exercises, to the Earth in gratitude for her services. Like silk wrapped around your heart, drink this cacao to strengthen your inner sense of connection.

The Arhuacos people grew cacao over six hundred years ago, prior to colonization of the Americas. When they lost their ancestral lands, over time their cacao traditions faded. With their territory recently recognized as a "living being" and receiving federal protection, they have regained access to their ancestral cacao growing territory, and their knowledge of cacao is coming back strong to be shared with us. This is some of the very first cacao they’ve grown.

The Arhuaco tribe’s work with cacao was re-ignited when a Colombian coffee trader working in Japan returned to his homeland to see if he could export cacao. Together with his help, the tribe received a USAID grant to build a fermentation facility and to plant cacao trees from seeds harvested from old trees in their ancestral territory. Firefly supported the project beginning in 2019 as a cacao purchaser, and assisted the cacao farmers in getting organic certification which became official in 2021. In January 2022 we’ll be traveling to visit the region and participate in a genetic analysis of the cacao trees here.

Today, the Arhuacos farmers make 58% more income by processing their own cacao rather than selling to other buyers. For a community in which cacao is the main source of income for 9 out of 10 farmers, and where 73% of the people live below the Colombian poverty line, this increase in income makes a big difference in the quality of life for families and furthers the sustainability of this incredible culture.

Each community no matter the size of the Arhuaco tribe has a mamo, or spiritual leader. All told there are probably 400 mamos. They laugh at the notion of a biography of any single one of them, because the mamos work as a group collective consciousness, all together. They gather together at important locations to meet in council, and the nine mamos who lead each council are dynamically divined at each gathering. Many mamos will never leave the Sierra Nevada, while others will go out into the world. The spiritual leaders are easily recognized by their unique hats. The Arhuaco live near flatter mountain peaks, so their hats reflect this, in comparison to the Kogis who live near sharper mountain peaks. The Wiwa live closer to the sea and use straw for their hats.

When I asked one of their mamos about what I should share with my community about working with cacao, he shared with me this advice: “To learn about a plant medicine, start with honoring and appreciating her, and feel that in her heart. Ask her to tell you about her, what her messages are, if you sit and listen, she’ll tell you her story.” The description we have here just scratches the surface of the unique world view of the Arhuacos people. Watch the video below to learn more about the world view of the Arhuacos in their own words.

  • A cacao farmer showing us the delicate cacao flowers

  • Opening the cacao pod to reveal the cacao beans inside

  • The lush rainforest where the cacao is grown

  • Wearing traditional dress while fermenting cacao

Preparing Your Cacao

  • Step 1

    Take a handful of cacao discs (use 5-15 discs, depending on your desired dosage).

  • Step 2

    Combine with 1/2 cup of 180°F liquid (water, herbal tea or nut milk).

  • Step 3

    Whisk or blend for 15 seconds. Optionally add sweetener (try maple syrup or raw honey).

Vegan Keto Ethical GMO-Free Soy-Free Sugar-Free Regenerative

Vegan Keto Ethical GMO-Free Soy-Free Sugar-Free Regenerative

Cacao and Health

Cacao for Mood

Many ceremonial cacao lovers report a notable impact on their mood. There is substantial science that explains why ceremonial cacao is so beneficial. Pure cacao contains beneficial neurotransmitters and neuro-modulators already present in our brain. It also contains reuptake inhibitors that block the pathways that our bodies normally use to break down and recycle these beneficial mood altering molecules, so the good mood lasts for longer. In the long term, regularly working with ceremonial cacao can have therapeutic health benefits, including creating new neural pathways that change our daily experience to include more joy, love, and connection.

Top Molecules in Cacao

Some of the top mood altering molecules in cacao include:

Anandamide is commonly referred to as the bliss molecule, and is associated with the runner’s high effect. It is actually the first endocannabinoid to be discovered, and it is well known for moderating pain. Cacao also has N-linoleoylethanolamine, which is the reuptake inhibitor for anandamide.

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

Norepinephrine is commonly referred to as the joy molecule. It is both a neurotransmitter and a hormone,

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

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

Due to these molecules and many others, when you drink ceremonial cacao 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. You can also 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, blood flow can increase by up to 30%, meaning that more blood (life force energy) is moving through your body and nourishing all of your systems.

Cacao and SSRIs

We believe cacao has potential as a holistic therapy for depression, and we have encountered the effects of cacao during depressive episodes to be uplifting and stabilizing. It is our sincere hope that someday cacao could become a part of a clinically proven method for treating depression naturally, or as a method for assisting people in reducing their dependence on powerful pharmaceuticals. 


Because cacao is contraindicated with SSRIs, many people struggling with depression cannot take cacao because of the SSRI’s they are medicating with. There is potential that people may be able to partially reduce their SSRI medication intake and supplement with ceremonial cacao, however medical studies on this need to be done to establish a verifiable protocol. If you are a medical practitioner and would like to collaborate with us on such a study, please let us know! Because pharmaceutical SSRIs have many side effects and ceremonial cacao is beneficial in so many other ways, we are hopeful that such a protocol would greatly benefit the lives of many people struggling with depression and other mood disorders.

Cacao and 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 phosphorus.

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 

Cacao Health Benefits 

Not Only Is 100% Cacao 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 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 Magnesium



Pure 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. In particular all our cacao tests below detectable thresholds for lead, and all our cacao tests below government mandated limits for cadmium.

 

The Positive Impacts of Cacao on Mood

Regularly working with ceremonial cacao can have therapeutic health benefits, including creating new neural pathways that change our daily experience to include more joy, love, and connection. Pure 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. 

 

Cacao Health Benefits

 

Ceremonial Cacao Benefits

 

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 Effects 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!

 

Raw Cacao Health Benefits

 

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.

Still want to learn more? The information here is just a beginning. Go deep with us in our new course offering, Cacao and Holistic Health. Available online now. 

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

 

Ceremonial Cacao Nutrition Facts

 

Explore Further:

Cacao and Heavy Metals

Our cacao has been lab tested for safety and meets comprehensive EU standards for absence of heavy metals. In particular all our cacao tests below detectable thresholds for lead, and all our cacao tests below government mandated limits for cadmium. We actually test for 68 different heavy metals, but our focus here is on lead and cadmium as those are of most public discussion.

So why is our cacao so much safer than other chocolate products out there? 

Let’s look at cadmium specifically. Cadmium uptake is dependent on many variables, including cacao genotype, cacao tree age, and other trace metals present in the soil. Notably, the more depleted the soil is of other beneficial minerals such such as Zn, Ca, Mg, and Mn, and the younger the trees are, the higher the Cadmium uptake is. Because our cacao sourcing is focused more on quality than quantity, it is not farmed as intensively as the majority of global monoculture cacao production. Rather, our trees tend to be older and within polyculture agroforestry systems with rich soils - all factors that reduce cadmium uptake. The permaculture practices that our farmers use also regularly replenish the soils. So really, cadmium uptake has a substantial amount to do with farm management practices.


It’s also interesting to note that cadmium is first accumulated in leaves, then cacao pod shells, then cacao beans. Proper handling and shelling of cacao beans can remove the husk, which has a higher concentration than the edible part, the bean. We take great care in our cracking and winnowing process to remove as much shell as possible, which also reduces cadmium concentration in the final product. With our recent factory upgrade, we actually acquired a cracker and winnower that is a state of the art German design, used in the chocolate industry for over fifty years! This results in the cleanest cacao nibs possible.

Connected to the Source


from farm to cup


Our hearts have been opened and our lives have been transformed through intimate contact with cacao, one of nature’s greatest healing medicines. We hope in our relationship with you, you will receive many gems of wisdom compiled from countless hours in the field, that we hope will deepen your practice, connection and life.

average rating 5.0 out of 5
Based on 117 reviews
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Review posted
Reviewed by Shaunda G.
Verified Buyer
Rated 5 out of 5

Connected is the perfect name for this Cacao

This cacao is not only delicious but a great heart opener. I find this cacao calms me and helps me connect with others.

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Reviewed by Marianela H.
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Rated 5 out of 5

One of the Best!

One of the best flavors out there! It highly ranks on my top 3 favorites from this company. 😋 Highly recommend and would buy more if I could.

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Reviewed by Allison Q.
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Rated 5 out of 5

One with the Earth

I love all of your cacao and Connected Colombia is one of my favorites. I am a lover of nature and learning about the Arhuacos people is fascinating, to learn that "their non-dual spiritual beliefs guide them to see themselves as an integral part of Earth, rather than as separate: so caring for Earth is caring for all of existence" resonates deeply with me. Understanding that they grew cacao over six hundred years ago and continue today helps me feel part of an ancient practice. For me to drink a plant medicine with such history, and know that I am helping support these people, is the best feeling. I am drinking in ancient wisdom and an ancient love and connection to this Earth. Thank you.

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Reviewed by John D.
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Rated 5 out of 5

First try.

Rich. Enjoy all the different ceremonial cacao with walnuts, almonds and pecans.

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Reviewed by Arianna G.
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Rated 5 out of 5

Just Fabulous

All the cacaos at Firefly are fabulous. I'm so glad I found them. I had tried other brands before, and truthfully I wasn't that impressed. Not sure what it was that made me decide to try this one, but I am SO glad I did. Just a real quality cacao experience.

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