How to Source Authentic Ceremonial Cacao in Australia

Ceremonial cacao boasts a rich history steeped in tradition, having been revered for centuries in sacred ceremonies by ancient civilizations like the Mayans and Aztecs. Today, this ancient practice is experiencing a resurgence as individuals seek to reconnect with its profound benefits for the mind, body, and spirit.

Rich in antioxidants and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and calcium, pure cacao also contains a natural stimulant called Theobromine. When used in ceremonial, shamanic, or healing practices, it's essential that the cacao you choose is in its purest form, unadulterated and free from additives.

Yet, not all products labeled as "ceremonial-grade" meet the same standards. To guide you through the complexities of selecting authentic ceremonial cacao, we've assembled a checklist of crucial criteria to consider when sourcing this revered elixir.

What makes cacao ceremonial grade?

In short, Ceremonial grade cacao is defined by its origins in sacred lands, single-origin high-quality Criollo beans, pure and natural ingredients, respectful production methods, organic certification or equivalent, and brand integrity that honours its ancient traditions and transformative properties.

But let's take a deeper look:

  1. Origin and Sacred Lands: While some brands may claim exclusivity to certain regions, this is simply not true. However, cacao from regions with a deep historical connection to cacao cultivation and ceremony, such as Mexico, Central and South America can help imbue the cacao with ancient wisdom and energy.

    But ceremonial cacao can be found anywhere cacao is grown with honesty, sustainability, and transparency. 
  1. Single-Origin and High-Quality Criollo Beans: Ceremonial cacao is made from high-quality Criollo Cacao beans sourced from a single area. This ensures consistency and excellence in flavour and potency.

    ceremonial cacao australia

  2. Nothing added, nothing taken away: When selecting ceremonial cacao, opt for products that contain no sugars, sweeteners, or commercial fats.

    While you can add natural sweeteners and plant milk during preparation, these should not be included in the cacao itself during production.

  3. Respectful Production: Ceremonial cacao is cultivated with care and reverence, starting from the moment seeds are planted.

    Traditional methods of production prioritise quality over efficiency, avoiding large-scale machinery and industrial processes. When Cacao beans undergo intense processing, they change form, losing much of their magic and medicinal qualities.

    Distributors of cacao, should have a close relationship with growers who should use sustainable agricultural practices.

    In short, ceremonial cacao should be grown using sustainable farming practices and promoting favourable life conditions for farmers and their families.

  1. Organic Production: Look for ceremonial cacao that is organically produced, free from synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilisers.

    Note that while some Australian-branded ceremonial cacao may not have official organic certification due to cost constraints, you can still ensure its integrity by asking sellers about their farming and processing practices.

    Opting for organically produced cacao aligns with the principles of holistic health and wellness, ensuring that you receive the highest quality product while supporting environmental sustainability.
  1. Brand Integrity: In my opinion, brands selling ceremonial cacao in Australia (and beyond) should uphold the utmost respect for the ancient plant medicine they offer.

    I encourage you to look for brands that promote wellness and embody a grounding aspect to their ethos. Avoid brands that market cacao solely as a fast-moving consumer good such as a quick coffee replacement, as their intentions may diverge from the sacred origins of ceremonial cacao.

    Choose brands that honour the ancient traditions and intentions behind cacao, fostering a deeper connection to its transformative properties.

The market for ceremonial cacao is brimming with options, yet we witness a concerning trend of new brands emerging, large corporations seeking quick profits, and disrespectful usage of this sacred plant medicine. It saddens us to see this industry turning into a battleground where brands vie for dominance at the expense of authenticity and reverence. We trust that these guidelines empower you to choose ceremonial cacao that resonates with your values and respects its ancient origins.

Ceremonial-grade cacao is more than just a product; it's a sacred plant medicine meant to be cherished and harmonized with Mother Earth. It holds the potential to heal, uplift, and unite us in profound ways.

Disclaimer: While the checklist provided here is based on my own knowledge, training, and research, it's important to note that there is no legal standard for “ceremonial-grade” cacao. Brands are not required to meet specific criteria before labeling their products as such. This list reflects my personal opinion and should be used to help guide you in your decisions when choosing from whom to purchase.