Lava Love Cacao founders Izaias and Izabel

The Comprehensive Guide to Preparing Ceremonial Cacao

Understanding Ceremonial Cacao: Origins and Significance

The Historical Use of Cacao in Rituals

From the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations to contemporary spiritual gatherings, cacao has been cherished not simply for its profusion of tastes but also for its ritualistic significance. Its historical use in rituals is deeply entwined with notions of well-being, fellowship, and reverence for the natural and spirit world. These civilizations recognized cacao as a gift and food of the gods, a timeless sentiment that has endured through the ages, continuing to hold relevance in contemporary ceremonial practices, mainly due to its heart opening and heart healing effects.

Lava Love Cacao Founders

Cacao's Role in Modern Ceremonies

Modern ceremonies often celebrate cacao as a heart-opening stimulant that leverages its subtle psychoactive properties to enhance spiritual connectivity. The theobromine present in cacao stimulates a gentle sense of alertness and well-being, making it an ideal focal point for gatherings centered around introspection and community.

Selecting the Best Ceremonial Cacao

Criteria for High-Quality Ceremonial Cacao

The pursuit of the highest quality ceremonial cacao is fundamental for an authentic experience. This entails considering the bean type, the extent of fermentation, and the absence of additives. Ceremonial-grade cacao should emanate a rich and robust scent, with a flavor profile that is reflective of its native terroir. All of our Wild Cacao is sourced from our friends in Guatemala and Colombia and is of highest quality and after trying a lot of different Cacao out there we can confidently say it is the best tasting one on the market.

Ceremonial Cacao from Guatemala

Sustainable and Ethical Sourcing of Cacao Beans

Reverence for cacao necessarily encompasses the ethical and sustainable sourcing of cacao beans. Consumers should seek out providers who ensure fair labor practices and equitable trade agreements. One must be aware of the origins of their cacao, supporting those suppliers who are committed to sustaining the biodiversity of cacao-growing regions and the prosperity of local communities. The majority of cacao used in commercial chocolate and processed cacao originates from The Ivory Coast in Africa, a source unfortunately marred by grave concerns for both labor conditions and soil health. Additionally, there are troubling issues surrounding child and slave labor, as well as the extensive use of chemicals that degrade the soil- a article in itself but if you are curious to learn more you can watch the documentary Rotten that show the dark side of the cacao industry.

Essential Tools and Ingredients for Cacao Preparation

The Equipment You Will Need

Embarking on the preparation of ceremonial cacao in a traditional way begins with assembling the requisite tools. A grinder, a ceremonial bowl, and a whisk are indispensable in achieving the desired texture and blend if you are making cacao in the traditional way. These tools are not just utilitarian but are symbolic vessels, integral to the ritualistic aspect of preparation. But, you can also make ceremonial cacao in a more modern way by putting all the ingredients in a blender, as long as you put your loving intention into making your Cacao this way works well for us. You can come a long way with your love and good intentions.

Choosing Complementary Herbs and Spices

To make cacao even more special, we pick herbs and spices carefully. Each one has a unique quality that can make the cacao ceremony or cacao ritual feel and taste even better. For example, we might use chili to add warmth, vanilla for sweetness or cinnamon for a cozy scent. These ingredients may make the cacao ritual feel even more enjoyable. Although we love to only work with the spirit of cacao in our ceremonies and not mix in too many other plant spirits- but this is completely up to you. Don't forget to add a pinch of sea salt to enhance the flavor of Cacao- it makes a huge difference.

Vanilla Bean

Step-by-Step Procedure for Making Ceremonial Cacao

Roasting and Grinding the Cacao Beans

The process of roasting and grinding cacao beans is both an art and a science, carefully modulating temperature to bring out the beans complex flavor profiles. Through grinding, the goal is to achieve a fine, consistent paste, the texture of which is quintessential for the ceremonial blend. The Cacao for commercial Chocolate and processed cacao powder is many times roasted in factory ovens where most of all the nutrients and amazing health properties goes to waste.

Cacao beans being roasted

Concocting the Perfect Ceremonial Blend

Crafting the ideal ceremonial cacao blend is about finding harmony between tradition and your personal intuition. You need to consider how different elements like sweeteners or infusions work together with the cacao's natural characteristics. It's like creating a choreographed dance of ingredients to create a blend that deeply connects with yourself and those who might partake in your ceremony.

Mastering the Art of Cacao Brewing Techniques

Temperature and Texture: Achieving the Ideal Consistency

The temperature of your cacao matters a lot when it comes to how it feels and tastes. To get the best results, you need to keep it at just the right heat level. This way, it stays smooth and delicious without losing its rich flavors and superfood effects. If you use boiling water, the good stuff in the cacao will go to waste- so don't boil or overheat it to enjoy it fully.

To make it really rich and frothy our secret is to sweeten with dates and put all ingredients in the blender. Some nut butter like Almond or Macadamia helps with a rich cacao as well.

Enhancing Your Ceremonial Cacao Experience

Incorporating Meditation and Intention Setting

The ceremonial cacao experience transcends mere consumption. Incorporating elements such as breathwork, meditation or intention setting invites participants to engage on a deeper level, fostering a collective experience that is both enriching and transformative.

Creating a Sacred Space for Cacao Consumption

Creating a sacred space means setting up the area in a way that makes it feel special and sacred for the ritual. This helps everyone feel calm, safe and respectful, which is important for a deep cacao experience. The surroundings affect how everyone feels, making it easier to think deeply and connect spiritually.

Health Benefits and Nutritional Profile of Ceremonial Cacao

Mental and Physical Advantages of Regular Consumption

Ceremonial cacao doesn't just uplift your spirit; it also offers numerous health advantages. When you consume it regularly, you can experience improved mental focus, enhanced mood, stress reduction, improved digestion, better heart health, and a rich supply of antioxidants. Additionally, it may contribute to weight management, support cognitive function, promote skin health, provide immune support, enhance sleep, and help regulate blood sugar levels. These qualities make cacao a valuable and wholesome addition to your daily diet, benefiting both your physical and mental well-being.

Cacao's Therapeutic Compounds and Their Effects

The therapeutic compounds found in cacao, including flavonoids and other phytochemicals, confer an array of positive effects on one's health. These range from mood improvement from increased serotonin levels to the promotion of heart health through improved vascular function- isn't this just amazing?

Ceremonial Cacao Recipes for Various Occasions

Classic Ceremonial Cacao Recipe

Making a classic cup of Ceremonial Cacao- this cacao recipe is like a starting point for preparing cacao in a simple and pure way. This recipe highlights the true essence of the cacao bean, providing a solid foundation for your cacao journey.

Basic Ceremonial Cacao Recipe:


  • 2 tablespoons of ceremonial-grade cacao
  • 2 dl of hot water
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • Optional: Sweeten with honey and spice it up with chili, cinnamon, or cardamom

Innovative Cacao Blends 

For special occasions, one can be more adventurous, crafting innovative blends that incorporate novel flavors or ceremonial elements. These recipes offer an opportunity to celebrate the versatility of cacao while catering to the distinctive essence of the event- other healthy superfoods that blends well with cacao is vanilla, maca, carob, bee pollen and mint to name a few.

Navigating Challenges and Common Questions in Cacao Preparation

Troubleshooting Tips for Beginners

Preparation of ceremonial cacao can present various challenges to beginners. Guidance is crucial, offering solutions to commonly faced issues such as texture inconsistencies or flavor balancing. These insights equip beginners with the confidence to explore cacao preparation more deeply.

FAQs About Ceremonial Cacao Preparation

A well-curated FAQ section is invaluable, addressing inquiries on topics ranging from bean selection to the preservation of cacao's spiritual integrity. It is a resource that harnesses communal wisdom for the enrichment of all practitioners.

Many times we get to hear that the cacao is too watery- well then you used too much liquid and too little cacao.

To get a frothy cacao- our trick is to blend our cacao in a blender, mixing in 2 dates and sometimes some extra good fats like MCT oil, Coconut butter, Ghee or Tahini.

If not sweet enough for your- try local honey, dates, agave or coconut sugar to name a few. We prefer to 2 first ones mentioned.

Preserving the Integrity of Ceremonial Cacao Traditions

The Importance of Cultural Respect and Authenticity

Preserving the integrity of ceremonial cacao traditions means engaging with these practices with cultural respect and authenticity. Recognizing the rich heritage from which these traditions stem is essential for an honorable and enriching ceremonial practice.

Continuing Education and Resource Recommendations

Continuous learning is key to deepening one’s understanding of cacao and its ceremonial context. Engaging with educational resources and communities devoted to the study of cacao helps maintain the vibrancy of these traditions while fostering an informed and respectful global community.

Questions and Answers of of how to prepare ceremonial cacao

How do you prepare for a cacao ceremony?

Preparing for a cacao ceremony involves both practical and spiritual considerations. Practically, ensure you have high-quality ceremonial-grade cacao, a pot for gentle heating, and any additional ingredients like spices or sweeteners. Begin by chopping the cacao into small pieces to help it melt easily. While preparing the cacao, set a clear intention for your ceremony as this guides the spiritual aspect. Create a sacred space, possibly adorned with items that hold personal significance. Mentally prepare by meditating or practicing deep breathing to become fully present. Once the cacao is prepared, you can start the ceremony with your intention firmly in mind. If you feel called to host your own ceremonies but lack the knowledge and experience to do so, our co-founder Nina is hosting Cacao trainings both online and in Stockholm.

How is a cacao ceremony done?

Ceremonial cacao is done by engaging in a ritual that typically involves a group or individual setting intentions, drinking prepared cacao, and then partaking in various activities that can include breathwork, meditation, chanting, dancing, or journaling. The cacao is traditionally prepared by gently heating and continuously stirring in a pot, often mixed with hot water and sometimes spices like cinnamon or chili. The ritual aims to open the heart and allow participants to connect more deeply with themselves and others.

What is the difference between raw cacao and ceremonial cacao?

The difference between raw cacao and ceremonial cacao lies in processing and intended use. Raw cacao is minimally processed, retains most of its natural compounds, and is not typically blessed or intended for spiritual use. It is often found in health food stores for nutritional purposes but not suitable for a ceremonial cacao drink. Ceremonial cacao, however, is prepared with intention and used in rituals. It is usually made from beans that have been fermented, sun-dried, and lightly roasted to develop a rich flavor suitable for the sacred nature of ceremonies. The roasting also helps to activate the heart opening effect of the Cacao.

Is it better to drink ceremonial cacao in the morning or evening?

The optimal time to drink ceremonial cacao can depend on personal preference and the intention of the ceremony. Drinking it in the morning can help set a positive tone for the day, providing energy and focus. Evening ceremonies can be more introspective and may benefit from the day's experiences. Consider the type of ceremony and what you wish to achieve when choosing the time to indulge in ceremonial cacao.

What are the potential health benefits of ceremonial cacao?

Ceremonial cacao is rich in antioxidants, magnesium, and other beneficial compounds that can improve heart health, enhance mood, and provide an energy boost without the jitters commonly associated with caffeine. The theobromine in cacao can also dilate blood vessels and improve circulation. Moreover, cacao contains essential minerals such as iron, copper, and manganese, as well as flavonoids that have been linked to potential anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective benefits.

How can someone integrate a cacao ceremony into their wellness routine?

To integrate a cacao ceremony into a wellness routine, schedule regular sessions  where you create a calm environment conducive to reflection and mindfulness. Use this time to focus on personal growth, emotional processing, or simply to enjoy a moment of peace and gratitude. It can serve as a tool for meditation, connecting with others in a community, or as a heartfelt start to the day. Breathwork is one of our favorite practices to combine with cacao- truly a transformational experience.

Are there any traditions or cultures that specifically use ceremonial cacao?

Ceremonial cacao has its roots in Central and South American cultures, most notably among the Mayans and Aztecs who valued cacao as a sacred plant. They used it in rituals, as a form of currency, and in social events. These traditions have influenced contemporary cacao ceremonies which honor the plant's cultural significance and spiritual heritage.

What should one look for when sourcing ceremonial cacao to ensure quality and authenticity?

When sourcing ceremonial cacao, look for fair trade and ask the seller where and who it comes from, to ensure quality and sustainability. Verify the source—authentic ceremonial cacao often comes from small farms or cooperatives that prioritize traditional harvesting and processing methods. Check for minimal processing and absence of additives. Additionally, authentic ceremonial cacao should provide transparency about its origins and the communities involved in its production.

Summary of how to prepare ceremonial cacao

In this comprehensive guide, we've journeyed through the enriching world of ceremonial cacao, delving into its deep historical roots and modern significance. From selecting the highest quality beans that uphold ethical sourcing standards to mastering the art of brewing with precise techniques, we've covered the essentials every enthusiast should know. By exploring the spiritual and health benefits, as well as offering a plethora of recipes suitable for a variety of occasions, we've provided you with the tools to truly enhance your ceremonial cacao experience. As we navigate common challenges and aim to preserve the integrity of these ancient traditions, it's clear that ceremonial cacao is more than just a beverage—it's a gateway to mindfulness, cultural appreciation, and holistic well-being. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned practitioner, we hope this guide serves as a valuable resource on your cacao journey, reminding us all to savor each sip with intention and respect.

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Ceremonial Cacao beverage
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