Pure 100% Ceremonial Cacao

4.9
Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars
267 Reviews

Thriving Tanzania

 

This first ceremonial cacao from Africa is grown amidst the laughter and close relationships of thriving village life. Amidst extensive rice and banana crops, seven hundred certified organic farmers within the biodiverse Kilombero Valley grow cacao for Kokoa Kamili, who takes utmost care to ferment and dry the cacao to exacting standards that offer the best quality on the continent. From our farmers in Tanzania, "Asante" - this is Swahili for thank you!

 

This ceremonial cacao comes from 700 small (0.5-2 acre) organic family farms in the Kilombero Valley, which borders Udzungwa Mountains National Park, a spot known for its biodiversity. Our partners here are Kokoa Kamili (Quality Cacao in Swahili), and their model is inspired by our partners in Belize. In its first three years, Kokoa Kamili farmers have received the highest prices for cacao in Tanzania. The cacao from this region is exceptional as a pure dark chocolate as it has a higher cacao butter content than average, resulting in a silky smoothness.

Read more about how the cacao is grown and see photos from our Tanzania trip here.

Ingredients

Organic Cacao Beans from Tanzania

Mood

Focused, Clarifying, Uplifting

Best For

Studying and Taking Action

Flavor Profile

Butter, Cherry, Caramel (these are tasting notes, not ingredients)

VOLUME DISCOUNTS

Mix & match any of our cacaos. Automatic discounts applied in cart for 3 or more one pound bags or 2 or more five pound bags.

Weight
Contains 20 servings, $2.45 per serving
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267 reviews
  • Bernetta D.
    Verified Buyer
    12 seconds ago
    Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Morning Rituals

    I have enjoyed all of the Ora cacao options I have tried so far, including thriving Tanzania… which also pairs nicely with the Rose cacao👍

  • Jessica G.
    Verified Buyer
    3 days ago
    Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Loved

    I loved this cacao. I think the mushroom one is my favorite so far, but this was also delicious.

  • Danielle M.
    Verified Buyer
    6 days ago
    Rated 5 out of 5 stars
    Thriving Tanzania.

    I highly recommend.

Reviews LoadedReviews Added
  • Young theobroma cacao seedlings in the nursery

  • A big bucket of wet cacao ready to begin fermentation

  • Opening the cacao pods to extract the seeds

  • Sarah's farm with a big harvest of ripe cacao pods

Amidst extensive rice and banana crops, certified organic farmers within the biodiverse Kilombero Valley grow cacao for Kokoa Kamili, who takes utmost care to ferment and dry the cacao to exacting standards that offer the best quality on the continent.

The heart of Kokoa Kamili is the headquarters located in Mbingu Village, which translates to “heaven” in Swahili, and is one of the most peaceful and remote places we’ve been. The cacao trees grow in the driest climate we’ve seen, however are thriving due to a high water table that is supported by a very wet rainforest preserve in the nearby mountains. People were extraordinarily welcoming and eager to teach us Swahili - welcome in Swahili is “karibu”. To get here one must travel 24 hours by plane to Dar Es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania, and then drive an additional 13 hours of driving across two days, the last four hours only on bumpy dirt roads.

Fortunately the long journey to Mbingu is not without its rewards - our drive took us through Mikumi National Park, and that whole stretch our eyes were glued to the giraffes, monkeys, and gazelles casually moving through the brush. We had never seen so many animals in the wild, and such big ones! We stopped here for a half day safari, which was way more nature connected than the touristy attraction we had expected. Kokoa Kamiili itself is near Udzungwa Mountains National Park, which is home to approximately 2000 elephants and eleven species of primates!

The country of Tanzania was originally created as a German colony, then given to the UK after WW1. In the 1960s Tanzania was granted independence. The country is highly diverse, with a population that is evenly split Muslim and Christian, and about 120 tribes with a largely oral and nomadic history. The government implemented a unique policy that required all Tanzanians to move to a different part of the country from their home village where they grew up. This policy mixed the population, creating a strong national identity and pride to be Tanzanian with a lot of tolerance for differences, rather than the tribal and religious sectionalism that affects so many other countries.

The region is very impoverished, and cacao is having a scalable and impressive social impact even beyond the farms. The post harvest processing facility of Kokoa Kamili is unique in the cacao world as we’ve seen it. They employ 25-30 workers, which in this region with very little opportunity has a massive impact. Only three of the workers had any sort of formal job before, ever in their lives! So you can imagine the huge impact this has for self worth and financial mobility. Typical agricultural work in Tanzania is very hierarchical and cut throat, and the minimum wage is TZ 3750, which is extremely impoverished at less than $2/day. By contrast, the workers at the fermentery have a fun work place with no hierarchy. It’s self evident with the laughter and enjoyment that the team comes to work with and the lively conversation at the shared mid-day meal.

The founders of Kokoa Kamili also regularly re-invest into their staff. When they wanted to promote one of their workers to become a cacao buyer, but she didn’t know how to ride a motorcycle, they taught her in the off season and she got licensed. Now she’s the second woman in her whole village to ride a motor cycle … no doubt inspiring many of the young women growing up here. This is just one example of many similar stories.
Kokoa Kamili adapted the same model of purchasing wet cacao from many small farmers that had been so successful in Belize to Africa. They had to get politically active to make it possible, as the local district government was going to ban wet cacao purchasing, mostly to emulate successful cacao growing regions of the south, even though there was no apparently good explanation for the ban on wet cacao purchasing. Given a year trial Kokoa Kamili managed to overcome the ban and then went on to create a local quality standard, by rejecting (not purchasing) any cacao beans that were rotten, had insect damage, etc. Over the years the farmers came to know what is desired and they only deliver the best cacao to Kokoa Kamili!

  • Metric tons purchased

    34

  • Peak Harvest Time

    August - November

  • Acres of Cacao

    866

  • Organic Farmers

    458

Preparing Your Cacao

  • Step 1

    Combine about 25 cacao discs with a touch of sweetener (or drink pure).

  • Step 2

    Add 3/4 cup (6oz) hot water, tea, or mylk (~180F).

  • Step 3

    Use a blender or electric frother to mix for 10 seconds.

Ethical Trade Regenerative Agroforestry USDA Organic Sugar-Free Third Party Metals Tested Vegan & Keto GMO-Free & Soy-Free

Ethical Trade Regenerative Agroforestry USDA Organic Sugar-Free Third Party Metals Tested Vegan & Keto GMO-Free & Soy-Free

Answers to Frequent Health Questions

What are the Nutrition Facts?

Is Your Cacao Tested for Heavy Metals?

Yes! We take heavy metals in cacao very seriously and have been testing long before the recent media attention on the topic.

All of our cacao has no detectable levels of lead. Lead is a post harvest contaminant that is introduced onto cacao beans through air and soils pollution. Since we source from remote and pristine regions with exacting standards, we have never had any presence of lead in our cacao tests.

All of our cacao also tests well below the legal limits for cadmium. Cadmium is present in many soils and impacts much of the food that we eat. Even if you were to consume cacao daily and it had the legal limit of cadmium in it, experts estimate that is would contribute at most 10% of your daily cadmium intake that comes from other grains and vegetables.

We've been talking with people daily to assure them that they will not die from heavy metals poisoning because of their love of chocolate. We strongly believe big chocolate needs to be held accountable for poor quality of their products. We're also disappointed that a lot of the recent media didn't contextualize the many cadmium sources people have in their diets (not just cacao), and that there are very large factors of safety that are used to determine the legal limits.

Here's a good third party perspective on the topic: https://arstechnica.com/health/2023/11/despite-spooky-consumer-reports-testing-metals-in-chocolates-arent-scary/

Why are there Rainbow Bubbles in my Cacao?

All of the following answers are true - pick what works best for you!

1) The cacao senses your awesomeness. Only the blessed few can actually see them, so, you must be awesome.

2) Thin-film interference. Cacao is rich in oils that can spread out in very thin layers on the water-based beverage. The different wavelengths of light have different kinds of interference between the top and bottom surfaces of the oil so white light turns into iridescent rainbows.

3) It's energetic residue from the rainbow serpent that emerged from the first cacao tree a very long time ago (for real - cacao is considered an original world tree in the Maya cosmosvision)

How is this different than cacao powder?

We typically tell our customers that cacao powder has little medicinal or health value because of the following differences:

1) Cacao powder is often made with untraceable, low quality commodity cacao that doesn’t support farmers with ethical compensation. By contrast, Ora sources direct trade traceable to the farmer and with organic certification.

2) This low quality input necessitates processing at very high temperatures, which degrades many of the beneficial compounds in cacao. The process of dutch processing or alkalization to make the flavor milder further reduces the levels of these compounds. By contrast, Ora's premium inputs enable us to use uniquely low temperature processing that keep the value of the cacao bean intact.

3) The cacao bean on it's own is about 50% cacao butter, a healthy natural fat. Pressing for powder strips away most of this fat (reducing it to 10%). However, you want cacao as a whole food, with the cacao butter in it's natural ratio. That's because the fat is an essential carrier for the health benefits of cacao, so without it, many of the health benefits of cacao are unrealized. By contrast, Ora ceremonial cacao has nothing added or removed, so it is a whole food as nature designed it.

Is Cacao A Stiumulant?

We’ve tested our cacao and it has 36 mg of caffeine per 1 oz serving, or about 1/3 of what a regular cup of coffee has. It sounds like a lot, but 1mg of caffeine in cacao is not equivalent to 1mg of caffeine in coffee, because cacao has many other compounds that balance and down-regulate the caffeine.

The primarily stimulant molecule in cacao is actually theobromine. Ora Cacao has 212mg theobromine per 1oz serving. Theobromine is a mild cardiac stimulant, and differs molecularly from caffeine which is a nervous system stimulant. Theobromine gives a long lasting, gentle, embodied energy without any sort of jitters or crash, even for sensitive people. Overall, 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 for sustained energy.

Theobromine is also a vasodilator (it relaxes blood vessels), so it has a neutral effect on blood pressure. The improved circulation from cacao is excellent for cardiac health, and improves absorption of the nutrients in cacao and superfoods that it is paired with.

Ceremonial cacao is a great coffee replacement because it offers a grounded energy boost without the jitters and crash. You can fully or partially substitute your cup of coffee with a cup of cacao. If you are new to cacao we recommend drinking it before 2pm so that the stimulant effect has time to clear before you need to sleep.

How Does Cacao Affect Mood?

In the long term, regularly working with ceremonial cacao can have therapeutic health benefits that include creating new neural pathways that change our daily experience to include more joy, love, and connection.

That's because cacao is full of beneficial neurotransmitters and neuro-modulators. 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.

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.

Phenylethylamine (PEA) gives the perception of time slowing down, and helps with excitement, alertness, attention.

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, you may have emotions arise, and you may experience the movement of stuck energy. Gives the perception of time slowing down.

What Minerals Does Cacao Have?

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.

Are there any Contradindications?

Cacao is contraindicated with SSRIs. Unfortunately that means many people struggling with depression and other mental illnesses 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.

Besides this, we highly recommend being well hydrated before, during, and after drinking cacao.

Not sure where to start with cacao?

That's okay, you can try them all! Our best selling pure ceremonial cacao kit allows you to try all four of our 100% single origin cacaos!

Continue your cacao journey

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