Frequently Asked Questions

Check most frequently asked questions here
Product questions
I am looking for Cacao Paste (i.e. a block/brick). Do you sell this?

All of our products are indeed cacao paste made from whole cacao beans. However we take our processing one step further to make your life easier.

Our process:

1. We take WHOLE cacao beans and put them through a traditional stone grinder.

2. A paste comes out!

3. For our Signature Blend we add and mix in our 3 core ingredients (Panela, Chile, & Vanilla Beans) into the Paste.

4. Instead of drying our KAKAO Pure or KAKAO Signature Blend into a block form and selling it to you as a block, we place the broken up chunks of paste into a food processor and pulverize it into a powder to create a product that is easy for you to use in your every day life.

PLEASE NOTE: We do not alter, change, or omit any part of the cacao bean. We created this innovative process so that you don't have to do all the block chopping at home in your kitchen. With that said, it WILL melt back into a block if exposed to heat and/or left out in the sun.

What makes KAKAO 'ceremonial grade'?

KAKAO is made from native cacao beans sourced from native lands.

KAKAO is made using the whole cacao bean.

KAKAO is minimally processed using traditional methods.

KAKAO is crafted with intention & integrity during every step of the process.

Please read the following link here for our more in depth definition.

What is the difference between your KAKAO and cacao powder?

‘Cacao Powder’ is a derivative of the cacao bean (only one part). It has been separated from the cacao butter (using a hydraulic press) making it an easy addition to smoothies and healthy desserts.

Our KAKAO, however, is much different. KAKAO uses the whole cacao bean, meaning all of the cacao butter from the cacao bean is still present and intact. Unbeknownst to most, the cacao butter contains most of the plant compounds that elicit cacao's 'ceremonial' effects.

A few other other key distinctions:

1. We source chuncho beans from Peru and criollo beans from Guatemala. These are both strains of cacao that are native to Central and South America. Most companies do not elaborate on which strains of cacao they source because they either don't know or don't care enough to find out for themselves. We avoid all man-made, hybrid, or genetically altered strains and our mission as a non-profit is to help save the native strains of cacao that are currently endangered due to cross-pollination and cacao's commercialization.

2. We do not use any industrial processing equipment when creating KAKAO. A traditional stone grinder is used to create our drinking chocolate from whole, native cacao beans.

3. We handle every step in the supply chain with intention, integrity, and respect for all involved. 

Is your KAKAO considered raw?

There really is no such thing as 'raw cacao' in our humble opinion. While 'raw cacao powder’ has become somewhat of a trend in the health-food world, here's why we think the use of the word 'raw' here is a bit of a flawed premise.

All cacao beans are fermented prior to being transformed into chocolate, even 'raw' cacao beans. During the fermentation process, temperatures can reach anywhere between 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit over a duration of 2-7 days. A traditional raw food diet is all about preparing foods without heating them above 42 degrees Celsius, or 115 degrees Fahrenheit. As you can see, even when cacao beans are only fermented prior to being processed into chocolate, they're still not technically 'raw.' In addition, this 'raw cacao' is still being heated again at the conching and tempering stage.

While the cacao beans we use are fermented and roasted, they are never pressed, conched, or tempered. Although KAKAO is not 'raw,' it is minimally processed using traditional methods. Once fermented and roasted, our beans are stone ground into a paste where they're mixed with our Signature Blend ingredients. This is where our processing ends, ensuring that the most nutrients are preserved as possible.

Is KAKAO organic?
Our native cacao beans and all other ingredients used in KAKAO are harvested from small, family-owned and operated, wild cacao farms in the jungles of Peru and Guatemala. Because our farmers cannot afford organic certification, our product is not certified organic. That being said, we can assure you that our ingredients are NEVER sprayed with any herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, or toxic fertilizers. The cacao trees, panela, chile and vanilla that produce our KAKAO are found growing wild in their natural habitat, deep in the jungle, far from any industrial influence.
Does KAKAO contain caffeine?
Ceremonial-grade cacao contains theobromine, which is the cousin molecule of caffeine. Instead of being a nervous system stimulant like caffeine is, theobromine supports the uptake of oxygen to the brain, stimulating creativity, focus and energy without the crash or jitters. We hear countless testimonials that KAKAO feels very different to the body than does coffee, hence why so many people make the switch from coffee to KAKAO. Our product is used by many customers that are highly sensitve to caffeine with great results.

For 40 grams of Criollo the lab shows 47 mg of caffeine , which I believe is equal to approx. 1/3 cup of coffee.
Fpr 40 grams of Chuncho the lab shows 94 mg of caffeine, equal to approx. 2/3 cup coffee.
With that said, the main component of cacao is THEOBROMINE, which is a cousin molecule of caffeine and I genuinely am not convinced that there is much "caffeine" in KAKAO as we traditionally know caffeine to be. Here is a post I did on this recently for more information and testimonials.
I drink both consistently , and I also love combining them, with no experience of a caffeine jolt the way I would other caffeine-containing substances.
Let me know if you have any other questions and thank you so much for your support of KAKAO!

Do you test your KAKAO for mold and heavy metals?
Every batch of KAKAO is tested for mold and heavy metals. To review our test results and read our full company statement, please click here.
I am pregnant or breastfeeding. Can I drink KAKAO?

While we do know many moms who have safely consumed KAKAO throughout their entire pregnancy and while breastfeeding, we as a company cannot make recommendations as to what is safe for you and your baby. 

We of course always encourage all mothers to check in with their intuition, in addition to inquiring with a licensed, holistic medical professional that you trust.

With all of this said, if you have been told that cacao is safe for you during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding, we feel very confident that KAKAO is a brand that can be trusted as the highest quality ceremonial-grade cacao as KAKAO exceeds the standards for both mold and heavy metal levels set by the FDA, EPA, USP, ATSDR, and California Proposition 65.

My KAKAO showed up melted and hard in the bag. What should I do?

KAKAO is never pressed, conched, or tempered, meaning if it is exposed to high temperatures, like those found in the summer months or those of traditionally warmer climates, the cacao butter in KAKAO will melt. Once cooled (brought inside, shaded, or refrigerated), the cacao butter will re-solidify forming a hardened mass similar to a cacao block.

If this happens, we assure you, your KAKAO is still in 100% perfect condition and safe to enjoy. If KAKAO shows up on your doorstep melted and/or hardened, you have a few easy options. Please click on this link to learn more.

Please note: we cannot replace product that has melted and hardened as it is a natural process and is completely safe to consume. Thank you for your understanding.

What is the difference between the KAKAO SIGNATURE BLEND and KAKAO PURE?
The KAKAO I received tastes different than what I had before. Why is this?

Our KAKAO recipe never changes.

However, because we use native, wild grown, unadulterated cacao beans, there are some natural fluctuations in our cacao bean flavor profile from one harvest season to the next. There are many factors that play into this but the biggest thing to remember here is that nature thrives on diversity, not sameness. No two cacao beans are the same, just as no two cacao pods are the same, just as no two cacao trees are the same. Plus, cacao's tasting notes are heavily influenced by the types of plant life growing around them. Pollinators introduce pollen from all different kinds of trees throughout the growing season. In addition, the degree and length at which cacao is fermented can drastically change its tasting notes. You get the picture.

Large chocolate-making corporations go to great extent to ensure their beans and products taste exactly the same every time, typically at the expense of biodiversity and against nature's natural rhythms and cycles. KAKAO, a 501c3 non-profit, is committed to collecting native cacao beans from small family farms and keeping them both protected from industrialized cacao and corporate greed.

Feel free to play with the KAKAO you receive to make it your own. You may consider adding your own chile powder, vanilla extract, coconut oil, maca powder, cinnamon, lucuma, or other superfoods.

What is the shelf life of your product?

When stored properly, KAKAO's shelf life is a minimum of 18 months. However, it is our personal experience that KAKAO can remain consumable for up to 3 years.

STORAGE recommendation:

For extended shelf life and ultimate freshness, we recommend keeping your KAKAO in ziplock bags or air tight containers inside of your refrigerator.

Please note, KAKAO Ceremonial Drinking Chocolate is not liable for negatively impacted product due to poor storage conditions.

How do I prepare KAKAO to avoid separation and/or graininess?
Please read our preparation guide in full here.
What is the batch blessing for the current batch?

You can find our current batch blessing listed here.

In addition, we always include the energy and batch blessing description on our product page.

We will always post on Instagram @kakaodrinkingchocolate and in the KAKAO Hub when new editions are created.

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