Cacao has been traded across Mesoamerica for thousands of years. Based in Lake Atitlan, we source from Guatemalan rainforests, reaching isolated organic farmers.
Learn more about Cacao here.
What is Cacao?
Cacao is simply the bean-like seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree. The true magic of most cacao becomes diluted beyond recognition when it is processed into chocolate with added fat and sugar. Unlike these conventional chocolate bars or cacao powders, the active ingredients and butter are preserved in ceremonial cacao whilst the bean is gently fermented and ground into a rich paste. For cacao to be 'ceremonial grade', it must be grown, dried, and prepared to preserve its biochemical and energetic qualities. Ceremonial cacao usually comes from the rare and delicate Criollo (wild/native) variety rather than the much more common and hardy Forastero. This means it should be fair-trade, sustainably sourced, and lovingly produced by communities of indigenous people with the tradition of cacao on their native land. (How much cacao is used in the confectionery industry certainly is not).
My reasons for collaborating with Cacao Source
Cacao Source is all about providing an authentic and transparent experience with their cacao. Their commitment to sourcing every product to a single origin is the core of their mission. They carefully select cacao from three unique regions - the Suchitepequez on the Pacific front, Alta Verapaz in central north Guatemala, and Izabal on the Caribbean front. They partner with indigenous Mayan communities that cultivate rare strains of cacao in isolated food forests. Cacao Source only works with farmers who meet their strict standards for quality, which include using organic soils, paying fair wages, and participating in revitalization programs. Cacao Source chooses to work with small-scale farmers instead of large plantations or corporations, setting them apart from other chocolate business corporations.
Agro-forestry, Fair-trade and organic go hand-in-hand as the health of the farmers is essential. If the farming community is exposed to chemical fertilisers and pesticides, it often affects their health in the long term. As long as we keep buying products that use chemicals, companies will keep producing in such a manner, and our farming community's livelihood will be affected by such practices. When our food grows in a mono-culture system, even if farmers are paid well, and organic fertilisers and pesticides are used, farmers' well-being is related to the soil's well-being. A mono-culture system impacts biodiversity, food sovereignty, and soil nutrients. In a mono-culture farm, fewer workers diminish local opportunities, resulting in a lower percentage of revenue remaining in the producer country.
Laurence Tremblay~ Social Business Manager Cacao Sourcce.
El Cedro ~Ceremonial Grade Cacao from Guatemala~Single Origin~ Organic
"From the river to the rainforest: The harvest of cacao from El Cedro
Angel and his wife Irma cultivate exceptional single-origin organic cacao in El Cedro, a community along Río Dulce at Izabal. Their cacao has a creamy and woody taste with hints of banana, reflecting their dedication and hard work.
El Cedro is surrounded by lush tropical jungle, creating a majestic setting.
Angel has cared for his 700 cacao trees in the El Cedro community for six years, named after the surrounding cedar trees. The community is devoted to sustainable practices and cultivates various plants, including Mahogany, Laurel, Plantain, Banana, Yuca, Milpa, beans, Jackfruit, and Rambutan.
Angel and Irma wake up at 2 a.m. for breakfast and coffee for each delivery to begin their adventure. Angel paddles for two to three hours in the river, carefully navigating the springs and waves, to deliver the harvest by 6 a.m. at the dock. The harvest then travels by truck to Guatemala City and further transportation to Antigua, Guatemala, where Contour Lines conducts a quality check before the final delivery to Lake Atitlán for our production centre in San Marcos La Laguna.
By supporting Angel and El Cedro, you contribute to the prosperity of a hardworking family and a community committed to preserving their land.
Your purchase not only celebrates the uniqueness of El Cedro's cacao but also sustains a way of life rooted in sustainability and love for nature.
Join us in supporting the growers who have cared for the land for generations.
El Cedro is a young fruit forest surrounded by wilderness close to a village and the Caribbean Sea. The land is about 5000 m2, and there are 1160 cacao trees, with 600 more planted. The ownership directly supports one family and their community, and three workers are from the owner's Q'echi community."
Origin: SPRINGS (Not in Stock)
Springs Cacao was named in a moment of astonishment. The cacao source team stood in a valley covered with a lush variety of trees: coffee, zapotillos, bananas, and so many others—an agroforestry dream. By their side, Juan, the grandfather in the family, told them there are four springs there, embedded in the delicious curves of this mountain jungle, at 400 m facing the Pacific coast. Juan explained that he remained organic because he never had enough money to buy the suggested fertilisers, a norm of success in that region. Synchronistic epiphany: "Your cacao is the best we've tried in a while," Dorothy said. "We will help you share this treasure with the world". His smile underlined her joy: magic happened. Springs cacao magnifies a deep bitterness with coffee and banana accents. Its fat content surpasses most cacaos worldwide due to the abundant water in the village of "Las Victorias", which also grows because its genomic lineage was preserved from industrial hybridisation.
Genetics: Local and regional criollo hybrids.
Flavour profile: Intense bitterness, creamy, earthy notes of coffee.
Fermentation: Fermented for 9 days in a wooden box with banana leaves.
Type of environment: mountainside, semi-wild, fruit forests, valleys, springs.
Specificities: Abundance of springs. Proximity with coffee trees.
Région : Suchitepequez
Ownership: 2 parcels owned by one family and managed by another family.
The farm is divided into several areas and gathers 78 cuerdas in total. Most of it is surrounded by semi-wild fruit forests, covering the abrupt little valleys tearing the surrounding landscape.
They grow coffee, bananas, mangos, avocados, breadfruit, Kaymito, cane, zapotioll, palo banco, and much more.
The land has four springs and several rivers, especially in the rainy seasons.
It is divided between 3 valleys.
Byron and his family, his wife Dora and their two children care about fermenting and drying the beans from their home in Patulul.
The superfood of all superfoods, Cacao—the dried seeds at the root of chocolate—is also one of the highest sources of magnesium in nature, full of antioxidants, calcium, zinc, copper and selenium. Cacao contains more antioxidants per gram than blueberries, goji berries, raisins, prunes and even pomegranates.
Certain plants with substantial medicinal benefits are known to be master or teacher plants - Cacao is one of these plants. It can have beautiful spiritual effects when respectfully consumed with the intention of self-transformation. It can be a powerful heart-opener, connecting us to our intuition, the natural world and unseen guidance.
Though the sacred use of this incredible plant was almost forgotten, it is returning.
Its unique alchemy can awaken powerful creative energies and reconnect us to our highest human potential. It can show us the way forward when we're feeling stuck; it can transform fear and aid us in recognizing and releasing blocks, patterns, and limiting beliefs buried deep in our subconscious, restoring emotional balance.
Unrefined Cacao is full of antioxidants called flavanols. Eating foods rich in flavanols has a variety of health benefits for your body, including the following:
Heart Protection -Many scientific studies show that flavanol-rich foods help lower your blood pressure and improve the function of your blood vessels' walls, reducing your risk of heart disease.
Improved Digestive Health - cacao contains fibre that bacteria eat to create fatty acid chains. These fatty acids benefit your digestive system. Drinks made with Cacao might also increase the number of good bacteria in your gut.
Less Stress - research shows that eating dark chocolate can reduce Stress, which boosts your overall mental and physical health.
Improved Cognitive Function - a specific flavanol in Cacao called epicatechin may help with some parts of brain health, including cognition and blood flow.
Ceremonial Cacao Recipe:
1 cup of almond milk or any plant-based milk gently heated under boiling temperature
4 tbsp of chopped ceremonial-grade cacao
1 tsp of Cinnamon
½ tsp of Cardamom
½ tsp of Maca powder
½ tsp of Lions Mane Powder
½ tsp of Reisi Powder
½ tsp of CordycepsOne1 drop of rose essence
One drop of vanilla syrup or essence
1 tsp of raw organic local honey.
Put all the ingredients into a Vitamix or blender for 2 to 3 minutes until it's well mixed & frothy. Pour into your favourite cup and sprinkle a few rose petals on top. Take a few minutes to connect with the tree's energy and feel gratitude for all the elements that have made this magic happen. Journal or meditation is ideal after drinking and during. Also, dancing & yoga work beautifully, as the high magnesium content will make your body feel supple and free-flowing.
With true ceremonial Cacao, every block is a bit different. That's because it's not tempered to standardize the appearance like in modern industrial chocolate. It's just ground and poured into a mould to solidify. All the swirls here are natural patterns from the cacao butter. None of it is removed like factories do to make cocoa or cacao powder. We offer Cacao as close as possible to the ancient traditional preparation. The Cacao must also be toasted over a wood fire, not heated in a modern oven.
Ceremonial cacao dose per person/sitting;
(If pregnant, no more than 5 grams per day or consult your physician)
Beginners dose 5/10 grams
Daily intention dose 20 grams
Meditation dose 30 grams
Ceremonial dose of 45 grams