How my Cacao Journey started.

A few years back, I remember reading about the benefits of cacao and after extensive research and curiosity,  I booked into a 1:1 healing session, one that was centred around intention setting whilst drinking cacao. 

I was strangely nervous... Would this mystery elixir take me on a high? Would I be in a deep meditative state after drinking it? Would I be myself? What would it do?? 

What does drinking ceremonial cacao do?

You couldn't blame my mind for wondering; this drink had changed lives, it was sacred and you simply need to just google the benefits and the results are endless. 

So there I was in a cosy little nook of a room, drinking my cacao and thinking about my intentions, which ironically enough, were around starting my self-development journey with plant medicine. Little did I know, that’s all cacao was.

A beautiful creamy sacred drink made from beans of the jungle...

Within minutes of my first sip, I felt more at ease. I realised it was just like sipping hot chocolate, only way more bitter and strong. 

Cacao Ceremony Melbourne

It wasn't like being high per se, (I guess that’s why it’s not illegal). But I did feel uplifted, and when the healer asked me questions that I would usually be shut off from, I found myself speaking openly and feeling a little vulnerable. In a good way. I soon connected the dots on why they call it the heart opener.

So I started looking into local events where I could continue to be in a safe space and explore this vulnerable side of myself. I was soon booking into “Cacao Ceremonies” and “Women’s Circles” every weekend.

They were beautiful… Community, friends, complete strangers getting together and simply just being.

I have continued to go to them over the last few years and I still do. In the ceremonies, I would listen to the facilitators share stories of where their cacao came from and all the benefits, but I wanted to know more. So, I booked into a cacao training and facilitator accreditation - and this changed everything.

It deepened my respect. I've learned so much about what exactly ceremonial cacao is and the ancient traditions behind it. It allowed me to understand little things like, how natural elements, air, fire and wind play a major part in cacao ceremonies, to the larger history of the Amazonian tribes, and how In Peru it was first used by the Chinchipe tribes before later becoming part also of the Chavin culture.

And how Cacao came to be a key ingredient in chocolate and how it began its domestication over 7500 years ago in the northern region of the Peruvian Amazon before spreading through the region of Central America. 

It was the Spanish people who started to trade cacao with the Aztec tribes before bringing it to Europe where, as with most things, it was westernised, as they combined it with milk and sugar or honey to create the earliest versions of what eventually became chocolate. 

Monte Grande - Cacao temple

Photo: Ceremonial cacao temple at Monte Grande (Peru) was constructed in the shape of a spiral to represent union of the human spirit with the universe, connection to our ancestors of the past and projection forwards to our future descendants.

Learning about origins and traditional uses can tell you a lot about how this sacred plant was originally used and its spiritual significance.

But I also learned about the processes and production of cacao, and the not-so-fun but a vital part, I learned about the main issues the industry is facing, the exploration of farmers, the environmental impact and sadly so many more issues…

All this knowledge not only deepened my connection with cacao but it allowed me to understand how to respect all aspects of the plant, the eco system and how it is made, ensuring that we only ever partner with suppliers that help preserve the culture and land of Peru and Mesoamerica. 

I still have a lot to learn about this industry and the plant, but as a consumer, there is so much we can do to help build a sustainable future for the cacao industry. And it all starts with knowledge, including knowing where your cacao comes from. 

When we chose our cacao supplier we ensured that they worked in the most ethical way. They follow a sustainable model and they work in inharmony with their supplier, Pachamama, Mother Earth. 

We do this so you can purchase our products knowing that you are supporting the well-being of a community and its precious culture. (Please, before you buy any cacao, ensure its from a reputable supplier with a sustainable model, ask the questions).

So to wrap this up and back to my story about how I got here… whilst my business idea, Grounded Cup, was already in full force, it was amidst my cacao training that, I realised, I didn't just want to sell cacao, I wanted to help share this knowledge and bring as much respect to the Peruvian cultures and ancient traditions as possible.

And while you might be wondering how a Melbourne Coffee and Cacao van is going to do that…  It starts with little things, like this blog and sharing knowledge, transparency and the way we go about doing business. 

We might not be perfect but we are trying. 

Whether you’re looking to bring a new morning ritual into your life to enhance a deeper spiritual connection with yourself and Mother Earth, or if you’re looking to nourish yourself with the health benefits of cacao, (I mean it is the highest plant-based source of iron known to man, at 13.9 mg per 100g and it’s got more calcium than cows milk) so if you’re looking for a reason to try it, i hope this helps.