About Heartblood Cacao
To share the love through the medicine of cacao. We source to find the most potent cacao that is ecologically & socially responsible, while making sure it is affordable so it can truly be a medicine for the people. Sharing this love is reflected in every facet of our business and we are always looking for ways to fulfill our mission more fully.
We offer a 100% guarantee on our products.
If you are not fully satisfied, we will refund your money. We’re confident in our cacao and want you to feel the same. If our product does not meet your expectations, simply send us an email and we’ll make it right by either refunding you the purchase price (minus shipping) or replacing it. If you have ordered multiple items, we ask that you return the unopened items. In that case, we will refund you for all the returned items plus one, so please don't open additional cacao beyond the first if you want a full refund.
Cacao is what chocolate is made from. It is a tropical tree known as Theobroma Cacao, whose fruit contains the seeds that are used to make anything chocolate related, including ceremonial cacao. Chocolate is made by combining certain portions of cocoa powder (the de-fatted cacao) and cacao butter (the fat from the bean) along with other ingredients to get the consistency and taste we know as chocolate. We use the term cacao to refer to the pure product, with nothing added or removed. Cacao & cocoa are inter-changeable terms, but cocoa is often associated with cocoa powder, a defatted & denatured version of cacao, so we prefer the whole food term, cacao! Although do be careful, as some so-called health food companies have caught on, and now use cacao instead of cocoa, even though it has been defatted.
In the chocolate industry, cacao paste is the term used to refer to cacao beans that have been ground up. The grinding process creates enough heat to melt the cacao butter, so it comes out much like a nut butter, or a liquid fudge. When it cools, it hardens into solid form.
Cacao paste is used in ceremony because it can easily be made into a drink by adding it to hot water, since it is already ground up and will incorporate smoothly if the grind is fine.
Ceremonial Cacao is first and foremost an intention to create the highest quality cacao that will optimize the ceremonial experience as well create a holistic social & environmental impact. This means taking the utmost care with every step of production, from selection of cacao seedlings, to growing conditions, fermentation, sun-drying, roasting and product finishing.
Ceremonial Cacao is pure, 100% cacao with nothing added or removed. It comes from single origin farms, so that the specific variety, climate and season can be optimized with each small batch. It is properly fermented under controlled conditions and professional oversight, and then sun-dried.
We founded Heartblood Cacao as cacao ceremony facilitators who wanted to share the beauty of this medicine with the world. To that end, we have focused on producing consistent, high-quality cacao that has a positive social & environmental impact. Everything we do is to that end.
Our direct farm relationship ensures that we know what we are getting, as we’re not just buying cacao at urban markets from unknown sources. We rely on professional standards and oversight, which includes everything from which cacao seedlings are grown, to the exact fermentation rates and protocols. It includes fine-tuned roasting profiles and standardized procedures for tempering and molding the product.
Together, this gives us unparalleled consistency, at an affordable price. We are one of the most affordable providers of ceremonial cacao because of our direct sourcing model and because we are committed to keeping this medicine accessible. We don’t overcharge on a product simply because we can.
We have been around for over 10 years and have allowed the business to grow organically, primarily by word of mouth and allowing the cacao to speak for itself, instead of putting a lot of money into ads, which invariably ends up costing the customer.
We have lived & breathed cacao ceremony for the last decade, in the ever changing life of our family, and have kept our core commitment to sharing the love as a central focus in everything we do.
Hot cocoa is made using cocoa powder, which is defatted cacao, or the solids that remain after the cacao butter is removed. The cacao butter is usually removed using hydraulic pressure. From there, it is either sold as ‘natural cocoa powder’ or it goes on to be Dutch processed, which is a chemical process using potassium carbonate to alkaline the PH balance. In either case, the cacao has lost a significant amount of its value and nutrition, as well as the healthy fats that help the body more easily absorb the cacao.
We do not recommend using cocoa powder in ceremony.
Our Cacao is grown, harvested, fermented & sun-dried on a single family farm in Guatemala. The farm is located on the western coast of Guatemala, an area known as ‘Costa Sur’, which was historically the country’s center of cacao production and genetic research.
The family farm we work with is in transition to fully certified organic production. While they have used organic practices for many years, they have only recently undergone the certification process, which is a multi-year endeavor. So, there are no chemical pesticides or fertilizers used in the growing or preparing of the cacao or any practices that would not fall under the organic certification. The farm will be fully transitioned and certified by the end of 2021.
We work directly with one family farm that is paid premium wages for a premium product. The farm gets paid higher than minimum fair trade pricing and more than double the average west African farmgate price for cacao.
We have intentionally cut out the international intermediary, in this case the fair trade ogranizations, because then we can funnel more money directly to the farm, and not to the certification process. There are instances where fair trade organizations themselves earn more than the farmers. Our goal is direct relationship and sourcing transparency.
In addition, our Guatemalan chocolate shop also pays living wages to all employees and also supports the local community through profit-sharing initiatives. In this way, we are providing high quality employment for Guatemalans, and keeping much more income in country than other companies that produce all their cacao in the U.S.
No. Our cacao is prepared with the element of fire, the way people have been preparing it for centuries, including the Mayans and Aztecs. This involves roasting. The purpose of this is three-fold. Most importantly, it kills off any bacteria that might grow during the required fermentation period. Secondly, it allows the beans to be peeled so that the seed skin is removed. Lastly, roasting finishes off the flavor, giving it what we know of as the chocolate flavor. The more recent trend of consuming raw cacao is either un-fermented (in which case many of the beneficial compounds are missing) or fermented but not roasted and thus has the potential of including bacteria. Additionally, in recent years there have been cases where cacao was labeled raw when in fact it was not, simply because people were willing to pay more for it. We prefer to stick with what people have done for hundreds of years.
Yes, definitely! We test at source to make sure that our cacao doesn't have harmful levels of heavy metals, including cadmium and lead, among many others. Our cacao falls within the safe limits of the stricter European Union standards for levels of heavy metals in cacao.
Our cacao is prepared by combining the best of ancient wisdom with modern craft chocolate-making. The fruit is harvested when ripe from the cacao tree and then the wet seeds are brought to a central location where experts oversee the fermentation and sun-drying process. This essential step in the process is what alkalizes the beans and activates the beneficial compounds within. This enzymatic transformation continues as the beans are sun-dried. From there, they are precision roasted which finishes the flavor, kills the bacteria that accumulate during fermentation and allows the husk to be peeled away. Once the husk is removed the nibs are finely ground, creating a liquid fudge consistency product, know as cacao paste. As this cool, it hardens. From there, the cacao is tempered and molded to make the bar, or shredded to make the powder.
Cacao is a plant medicine that supports and enhances our capacity to heal, grow & transform. It facilitates work in the inner realms by opening the heart, fostering connections and allowing a stronger state of presence to move through stuck or challenging places.
A cacao ceremony involves drinking a delicious cup of ceremonial grade cacao and using that energy to focus on your inner work. Cacao ceremony isn’t a passive high where you wait for the work to be done. It’s a loving guide that will hold your hand as you walk through the doors of your inner world.
To that end, a cacao ceremony usually involves a wide variety of other practices, such as meditation, dance, shamanic journey, sound, yoga, creative expression, etc. The sky is really limited, as cacao pairs very well with many different modalities.
There is no one right way to do a ceremony, or any required beliefs. The way cacao ceremony is being practiced in the modern world is very much a modern phenomenon in the sense that it isn’t rooted in a specific indigenous tradition. It is instead based on cultivating a relationship with the plant, and working with it in a variety of ways to support healing & growth.
Cacao ceremony is a practice, much like meditation or yoga. It is something we come back to and learn from again and again. It is a practice that can help facilitate healing, growth and embodied wisdom.
There is no one correct way to have a ceremony. The main ingredient is high quality cacao in the right dose, mixed with an attitude of openness and reverence for the plant. People combine cacao with many other practices they are already familiar with to enhance the experience.
For a more in-depth article on having your own cacao ceremony, check out this article here
Yes, it’s important to read over the contraindications before consuming the ceremonial dose.
3-5 hours with a full 2-ounce dose, depending on sensitivity and where you put your focus. It is helpful for assimilation to eat lightly prior to consuming cacao and also to eat a meal afterwards to help with grounding.
Drink plenty of water throughout the ceremony.
The best reference point we have for this at the moment is from studies of the Kuna people, indigenous to Panama. These studies are what kicked off the modern buzz around the health benefits of dark chocolate. The Kuna consume, on average, 1 ounce per day of cacao. They do this in liquid form, drinking 5-6 glasses of watery cacao drink per day. The Kuna are almost completely lacking modern health complications such as heart disease (very low incidence of heart attacks), bad cholesterol and high blood pressure. The studies linked this to their consumption of cacao. That said, daily consumption will vary person to person and depending on personal preference. Try it out and see what feels good in your body.
We don’t recommend taking the full ceremonial dose of 2 ounces daily, as we find that too much cacao. We reserve the full dose for times when we put aside 3-5 hours to be more tuned in to our inner landscape and have space to work with the cacao.
Yes, we have a variety of programs, online & in person to share our experience with cacao ceremony.
Domestic U.S. orders take 2-4 days to arrive
International orders take 7-13 days (not including customs delays).
We primarily ship via USPS Priority mail as it is the quickest and most economical.
You will receive a confirmation email when the cacao ships with your tracking information.
Please plan ahead on your ordering to allow sufficient time when you need it by a certain date. We do not offer over-night shipping.
We recommend storing your cacao in an air-tight container in a location that doesn't get direct exposure to heat/sun-light. Cacao has a tendency to absorb other flavors, so it helps to keep it in something like tupperware or a glass jar. It stores longest at a consistent ambient room temperature. There is no need to refrigerate and this can lead to the cacao absorbing other smells.