Over centuries, ceremonial cacao has been heralded as a sacred drink with several health benefits. But with so many ceremonial-grade cacao brands in the market today, how do you tell the difference in quality? This article takes you on a journey of discovery and shows you the unique features that define ceremonial cacao.
It’s no secret- just a sip of hot chocolate from your favourite cacao product immediately lifts your spirits. For this fact alone, ceremonial cacao has, once more, stepped into the limelight as a recreational beverage rich in medicinal benefits. The cacao plant’s cultivation and use stretch back to 4000 BC and is deeply rooted in spiritualism.

Mesoamerican cultures like the Mayans and Aztecs directly tied ceremonial cacao with the divine, considering it a gift from the gods-but what isn’t? Even before modern scientific research, these natives realized the stimulating effects of the chemical compounds found in ceremonial cacao.

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A couple of years later, you still enjoy the same warm, calming sensation that chocolate brings. However, it’s hard to get a genuine, wholesome experience when shopping for commercial cacao brands. Learn a bit more about the history of ceremonial cacao and the qualities that define it.

Choosing a suitable cacao strain

Unlike industrialized cacao-based products like dark chocolate, ceremonial cacao is 100& pure concentrate. The best way to see this difference is by tracing the history of ceremonial cacao. When pure ceremonial cacao is processed, a particular Cacao strain has always been used- the Criollo bean.

The criollo bean is noted for its earthy flavour and rich, acidic, chocolatey taste. It also has a high content of psychoactive and medicinal compounds. This feature sets it apart from the Forastero bean, preferred for its sweetness in commercial chocolate processing. As a side note, the Criollo bean is a wild strain with wide varieties, depending on the location and cultivation method. Criollo beans of a higher quality will, therefore, yield more potency.

Once the criollo beans are sourced, they are lightly processed using traditional techniques invented by the Mesoamerican cultures, and with good reason. Remember that heavily processed ceremonial cacao alters its chemical compounds and will lack the intended potency and medicinal benefits.


The criollo beans undergo a fermentation process. Fermenting the cacao beans gives the end product a more robust, richer taste. The fermented beans are then heated at a low temperature, peeled by hand, and ground to powder. Thanks to this simple, minimal processing, the chemical compounds and medicinal properties found in the criollo bean remain intact.

This valuable insight is necessary for the history of ceremonial cacao to live up to its health and relaxation claims.

Ceremonial use

Ceremonial cacao is undoubtedly gaining popularity worldwide, making it suitable for any occasion. While the Mesoamerican cultures had a more profound and religious connection to the cacao plant, the apple has stayed close to the tree. You can use ceremonial cacao to self-reflect, connect with family and friends and meet new people in social gatherings.

Also, natural additives can enhance ceremonial cacao’s medicinal benefits and stimulating effects without altering its composition. For instance, turmeric is a superfood with several medicinal properties and would make an excellent additive. You can also use honey, a natural sweetener that complements your ceremonial cacao drink.

Thanks to modern scientific research, it’s clear that the Mesoamerican cultures had it figured out. Ceremonial cacao has many health and medicinal benefits. It is a complete beverage suitable for recreation and alternative therapy.