Pure 100% Ceremonial Cacao

Rated 5.0 out of 5
Based on 248 reviews

Glowing Guatemala

Learn from the loving and wise energy graciously emanating from this Guatemalan cacao. This cacao is grown in a remote village of 125 families that make 90% of their income from cacao. They are disconnected from the rest of the world except for a footbridge crossing the raging Cahabón river, across which they carefully carry the 100lb sacks of cacao one by one. 

 

Mood

Mothering, Strong, Wise

Best For

Insight and Inner Work

Flavor Profile

Fig, Tobacco, Leather

Ingredients

Organic Cacao Beans from Guatemala

Weight
$2.00 per serving
Regular price
$40.00
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

  • CONVENIENT 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 Rio Cahabon, home of the community of Chivite

  • Roasting the fresh cacao beans to activate their flavor

  • Stone grinding the fresh cacao beans into a paste

  • The Maya community of Chivite gathered together

The community of San Juan Chivite is based entirely within a 180-hectare cacao farm, abandoned by its owner during the terrible Guatemalan civil war in the 1980’s and handed over in 1985 to the 65 families who were former workers of the farm. In 2002, the families converted a portion of the farm that was formerly coffee over to cacao, and as the community has grown from 64 to 125 families today, cacao cultivation remains the source of over 90% of the community’s income.

The fate of this region stand in stark contrast to other regions of Guatemala, for example the south coast where many cacao farmers had to sell their farms for money and sugar cane, rubber and palm oil took over. Now thousands of hectares are dedicated to farming those products which has introduced chemicals and pollution, and led to habitat loss. Many people have left the villages because of the pollution, and have gone to cities or illegally immigrated to the US.

To get here, one must take the road less travelled from Lanquín, which is the third most popular tourist destination in Guatemala due to Semuc Champey, one of the top ten wonders of the world. Semuc Champey features turquoise limestone pools and underground rapids as the Cahabon river flows through the cave. The region was once surveyed for the construction of a dam but fortunately nothing was built. When we came for our first visit, the community was still apprehensive of outsiders due to this reason. Now new development is coming to the region in the form of a paved road, so our work supporting the traditional cacao farming communities is of critical importance. Besides cacao, the region export coffee and cardamom, and grows abundant corn and black beans for the local market.

Our farmers speak Q’eqchi’ Maya, one of over twenty indigenous languages still spoken in Guatemala today. The cacao farmers we work with here have some of the most intact knowledge of cacao we’ve seen across all of our sourcing trips, and central to their life style is belief in the mountain spirits, and a strong ethic of respecting nature and the environment. A typical greeting is “Masal chol” which translate to “How is you heart?” In response, one could reply “Saa mantiosh”, which translates to “Good, thank you!” The local river, the Cahabón, is a Q’eqchi’ Maya name that means red dust, referencing the red dirt and soil of the riverbed. It’s a long river that runs through about 10 rural towns into Lago de Izabal.

The village and farms are accessible only by a swinging bridge over the wide, rushing Cahabón river. To process their cacao, cacao farmers carry 100-lb sacks over the bridge on their backs, because the fermentery and drying facility is located on the other side of the river, closer to the only road in the valley. This hanging bridge collapsed during a massive rain storm in 2020, and the Firefly community rallied to donate for the construction of a new, sturdier bridge.

The farmers sell their cacao to an independently run cacao association that manages their post harvest fermentation and drying. This association (called ADEMAYACH) is governed by 10 organic farmers in a council style, non-hierarchical board. In 2016 the village built their first centralized fermentery and drying decks allowing the farmers to add more quality and value to their crop, and helped them bypass middlemen (commonly called “coyotes”) that offered the farmers poor prices. They also received organic certification in 2016, and in addition to the impact from our cacao purchases, Firefly supports the annual salary for the organic cacao fermentation manager.

  • Roasting the fresh cacao beans to activate their flavor

  • Stone grinding the fresh cacao beans into a paste

  • The Rio Cahabon, home of the community of Chivite

  • The Maya community of Chivite gathered together

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 248 reviews
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99% of reviewers would recommend this product to a friend
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Reviewed by Jake L., from United States
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35 - 44
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Male
Rated 5 out of 5

My favorite.

This one gives me everything I want in chocolate. This one is my favorite from all the offerings here.

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Reviewed by Gretchen W., from United States
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25 - 34
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Rated 5 out of 5

AMAZINGGGG in so many ways

I first heard about cacao from the Science & Spirituality podcast. They had a woman on that performs cacao ceremonies as a way of psychotherapy. It intrigued me as I was just beginning my own spiritual awakening and was in need of something to help boost my meditation practice. I first ordered the sample pack and was HOOKED right away. Not only did it bring my morning meditation practice to a whole new level, but I began my own morning cacao ritual/ceremony. I pair my cup of cacao with meditation, a yoga flow and then some form on integration (art/journaling/quick tarot read). It’s been about 6 months since I started drinking cacao daily and my stress levels are down, I am more focused, my energy is on 🔥 and I am straight up happier. A better mom. A more thoughtful coworker. A kinder stranger to others. No longer do I buy an 8 dollar cup of coffee on my way to work. After my morning cup of cacao I’m good. In my flow, ready to go. My mind is at ease. I’m not rushed. Life is damn good. I am a customer for life :)

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Reviewed by Gina K., from United States
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45 - 54
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Rated 5 out of 5

Great cacao

I love Firefly products for my personal use and in cacao ceremony. The discs are convenient and taste far better than powder.

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Reviewed by Monique T., from United States
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65+
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Female
Rated 5 out of 5

A Divine Experrience

Not all cacao is alike. I have been purchasing Firefly Ceremonial Cacao for the past couple years. I start out my day with a brief cacao ritual. I welcome in the spirit of cacao asking for its assistance in keeping my heart open wherever life takes me on any given day.

I make a monthly purchase from Firefly Chocolate selecting flavors I feel will be most supportive in the coming month.

I am grateful for Firefly Chocolate for their conscientious approach to procuring cacao from small growers at fair trade prices. Thank you for providing superior cacao products that support my well-being both physically and spiritually.

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Reviewed by Sande G., from United States
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55 - 64
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Rated 5 out of 5

Grounded and Blissful

Firefly Cacao’s Glowing Guatemala creates a grounded yet blissful feeling in my core. I deeply inhale the benefits of Mama Cacao and Mama Gaia through all my senses!

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