When I embarked on my journey with cacao, I delved into its rich history to ensure I respected this plant medicine while infusing my own adaptations, drawing inspiration from ancient practices. 

From my exploration and research over the past few years, cacao reveals a captivating history across Mesoamerica, particularly Central America, where ancient civilizations like the Mokaya, Olmecs, Mayans, and Aztecs were believed to be the pioneers in savoring the magic of this divine plant.

Yet, recent archaeological findings spotlight ancient Peruvian civilizations engaging in cacao consumption as far back as 5,500 years ago. The Montegrande ceremonial temple in Jaén, Peru, unveiled traces of a cacao-fermented drink, offering glimpses into the early cultural significance of cacao in the region. Genetic evidence points to the foothills of the Andes in Peru as the birthplace of wild cacao trees over 5,000 years ago.

It's worth noting that the details regarding where wild cacao first grew in Mesoamerica and when it was initially domesticated for human use are still debated today.

The Mokaya people in Mesoamerica, dating back to 1,900 B.C., were possibly among the earliest cultivators and consumers of cacao. The Mayans, leaving behind hieroglyphs and intricate vessels depicting cacao ceremonies, added their unique cultural touch, symbolizing the unity of man and woman in the creation of life.

As the knowledge of cacao spread, the Aztecs embraced it upon their arrival in Mexico. Unable to cultivate cacao, they extracted tribute in the form of cacao beans from the areas they conquered, reserving liquid cacao for elites and special occasions.

The journey of cacao continued with the arrival of Europeans. Although Christopher Columbus encountered cacao during his voyages, it was Hernán Cortés who is believed to have noted its local use as food and currency. The export of cacao to Spain increased, reaching Italy and France by the end of the 17th century.

In the 18th century, cacao-based products were primarily consumed by the upper class, but advancements in processing methods eventually made them more accessible. The Dutch chemist Coenrad Johannes Van Houten's invention of "Dutch process cocoa" in 1815 and Joseph S. Fry and his sons' development of the first commercial chocolate bars in 1847 marked significant milestones.

As the demand for cacao surged, its supply expanded to various tropical regions, including Africa and Southeast Asia. By the early 20th century, Africa surpassed Latin America as the leading cacao exporter.

While cacao is widely known in the Western world as a source for confectionery, raw cacao used correctly remains a sacred medicine that holds vast physical and spiritual benefits.

In 2024, the rise and popularity of ceremonial cacao continue to ascend, specifically in spirituality, as modern consumers learn and understand the ancient traditions and benefits passed down from tribes and cultures throughout Mesoamerica. We have now learned to incorporate it into our daily rituals and ceremonies

As we embark on this journey of sharing ceremonial cacao and its transformative power, we want to acknowledge and honour the rich cultural heritage from which it originated in Mesoamerica and the Amazon rainforest. Our intention is to create a space that pays deep respect to the traditions, wisdom, and communities that have nurtured and preserved cacao for generations. We approach our work with reverence, embracing the opportunity to adapt and create our own rituals that authentically reflect our experiences and intentions while honouring the essence of ceremonial-grade cacao.