Below you find the answers to most questions that we get about cacao, how to prepare, dosage, storage, possible side effects and if it's safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding. We hope this helps and wish you many happy cacao moments! ♡

Cacao info & Storage

What is Cacao?

Cacao is the fruit of the Theobroma Cacao tree. Theobroma means ‘Food of the Gods’. The cacao beans (technically these are the seeds) are packed with healthy nutrition and interesting compounds. When the fruits are harvested, the beans are fermented and dried.

What is cacao paste?

Traditionally the dried cacao beans are lightly toasted and the husks/shells are removed for a clean product. When these beans are ground, the cacao butter releases from the cells and it becomes a liquid mass that is called cacao paste. The cacao paste can melt and dissolve into your drink (which beans or nibs cannot).

What is the difference with cacao powder?

Cacao powder is made by separating the cacao butter under high hydraulic pressure. The cacao butter is a valuable product, often used in skin care and chocolate. The remains are pulverized into cacao powder. This is often treated with an alkaline solution to neutralize its acidity which makes it easier to dissolve or to bake with. A pretty intens process. This is why we use minimally processed 100% cacao paste which has all the natural ingredients in it, nothing is added and nothing extracted.

>> The natural combination in cacao (including the cacao butter!) has high nutritional value and enables your body to uptake the active components better. This is why we leave the cacao intact as a whole food source so you can enjoy all its benefits in a pure form.

What is the difference between a block and flakes?

Basically it's just another form. When cacao is ground into a paste it can take any shape. Pouring it into a block shape is a nice and compact way. When preparing cacao, you need to cut it into smaller pieces to dissolve into your drink. The cacao flakes are the same cacao, but easier in use as you can use it directly to brew your drink. You can also cut up the block in one go and store it in a (glass) jar to make regular use easy. Cutting the block is a nice way and ritual to connect with the cacao.

Is your cacao ceremonial grade?

Yes, all our cacao is ceremonial grade quality, grown on small natural farms. We personally visit the farms to directly source special quality cacao. Important to us are the people involved and that the cacao is grown in a natural organic way. This makes a unique 100% pure cacao without any additives or sugar.

We do not always mention that our cacao is ceremonial grade because we want to show how you can use this quality cacao in daily life in your own rituals or enjoy the benefits as a casual drink.

Is your cacao organic?

We source cacao directly from farms that use organic farming principles and agroforestry systems. The cacao is not certified organic as this is an expensive process and not accessible for small cacao farmers. Organic certification is a good step, but it should not stop there. We have bigger ambitions to support complex ecosystems and biodiversity. 🌱

How should I store cacao?

Cacao keeps best when stored cool and dry. Normally room temperature is perfect and it can stay good for years. Actually we never got to where it was not good anymore.

Sometimes the cacao can turn a little whitish as the cacao butter reforms at the surface. This is a natural process and the cacao is still good, it only looks less nice. If you melt it and let it harden out it looks like new again.

We don't advice to store cacao in the refrigerator, the cold is no problem, but water can condense, making it wet which is not good for keeping cacao.

If my cacao melts, can I still use it?

Yes. This can happen when you leave your cacao in the sun, in the car or when traveling and it's very warm. No problem! It can become a bit of a mess, but the cacao is still good. In your drink you will melt the cacao anyway.

Preparing Cacao and its Effects

Which cacao should I choose? What is the difference?

Which cacao is our favourite? Impossible to answer of course :-). All our cacao is high quality and fine flavor. Which cacao your prefer (both in taste and effect) is in the end your personal preference.

The Discovery Pack makes it easy to try out and compare which is your favourite. On the product pages you can find more in dept info about the cacaos. We enjoy them all and intuitively choose which cacao to use when.

Taste notes that might help to choose

Matagalpa Cacao: deep chocolate aroma with floral hints.

Alta Verapaz Cacao: very soft and smooth taste with a warm, nutty aroma.
Cusco Cacao: citric fruity acidity, very low bitters and soft nutty aftertaste.

How do I prepare a cacao drink

Blend the cacao + spices + hot liquid into a frothy drink, done!

> for the perfect serve check out our how-to-prepare-cacao page.

Traditionally cacao was consumed as a drink with a divine status. You can find different recipes and inspiration on our recipe page and of course experiment yourself. The key is to dissolve the pure cacao paste in hot water with optional spices and blend it into a frothy drink.

Which dose of cacao should I take?

We all have a unique body and sensitivity. A bigger body in general means a bigger dose, depending on your goal. Most important is to listen to yourself and explore what is a good dose for you. You will get a better feeling of when to use how much cacao. There is no dangerous overdose known, but you want to avoid a possible headache. Drink enough water to hydrate yourself.

⬖ 10-25gr casual dose

⬖ 25-35gr medium dose

⬖ 35-45gr ceremonial dose

You get the most benefits from cacao when drinking it regularly. Some notice the subtle effect immediately, some recognize it after drinking cacao several times.

Can I use cacao during pregnancy and breastfeeding?

Yes, traditionally cacao is used by mothers around pregnancy to regain strength and positive energy after giving birth. The natural antidepressant effect of cacao can help against postnatal depression symptoms. In general a lower cacao dose is advised to feel how the baby responds (both during pregnancy and while breastfeeding). Cacao contains a trace amount of caffeine, but theobromine is responsible for the mild stimulating effect. Please ask your health practitioner if you have specific questions for your situation. 

Cacao butter is incredibly nutritious for skin care and used in Maya culture by women. During breastfeeding it can for example be used on the nipples.

100% Cacao is too bitter for my taste, can I still enjoy its benefits?

For sure! You can sweeten your pure cacao drink (for example with honey, maple syrup or coconut blossom sugar) or make a drinking chocolate with plant-based milk (like oat, coconut or almond milk) which makes a delicious and more creamy drink. You can find more recipes on the recipe page. You can add coconut oil and tahin or play with the cacao-liquid ratio to make it thicker or less concentrated.

Cacao has complex flavours that are intense in a pure form, especially if it’s new to you. We often hear that people find cacao intense at first, but open up to it more when trying it for a few times (even after a few sips throughout one drink). Getting more familiar with natural tastes and pure cacao makes you aware how sweetened food and drinks are in general. Most importantly is to make something that you enjoy.

Cacao as a coffee alternative?

Yes, cacao is a great alternative to coffee and we get many positive feedback from people who replaced their coffee for cacao. The theobromine in cacao is a milder stimulant that lasts longer than caffeine. It gives a softer and longer sustained focus and energy. Caffeine is an alkaloid that works on the nervous system and this can result in a more shaky, nervous energy. Theobromine has an effect on the cardiovascular system and increases your blood flow throughout the body and brain.

We also love a good quality coffee now and then! ;-)

What are the active ingredients in cacao?

Cacao contains theobromine and has a stimulating effect. It is also packed with antioxidants and minerals like magnesium, iron, potassium and manganese.

Cacao protects your heart and cardiovascular system and has a modulating effect on your neurotransmitters. It is known for its heart-opening effect which you can experience yourself and get more familiar with.

How often should I drink cacao?

It is safe to drink cacao on a daily basis. We always advise to listen to your body and find what dose works best to you. In general we like to take some pauses once in a while if we drink cacao daily, to also feel and experience without.

In general it's good to take a pause now and then with taking plants/food that have an effect on us.

Most benefits arise when using cacao on a regular basis, also nutrition wise. The effects of cacao can be profound or quite subtle, some notice it right away and others recognise it better after using cacao for several times.

Does cacao contain caffeine?

Not really, in the lab you can find a trace amount of caffeine in cacao, but this is unnoticeable in effect. The active compound is 'theobromine'. This is an alkaloid that gives a softer energy than caffeine which lasts longer and doesn't have the coffee-dip. 

Compared to cacao, caffeine has a more nervous energy. Our cacao is ceremonial grade and has a potent and clear effect. We often explain it as a soft and bright energy which expands the heart area.

More people are switching from coffee to cacao because they want to limit their caffeine intake and/or prefer the effect of cacao.

Does cacao contain sugar?

No, there is no sugar in cacao. All our cacao is 100% pure.

You can of course add something sweet to your cacao drink. In that case we can advise honey, maple syrup, coconut blossom sugar or unrefined cane sugar.

As a comparison a kg of 70% chocolate contains 300gr sugar (the other 30%). We believe too much food is over-sweetened and processed.

A delicious treat (for example during a diner) is per person: 10gr cacao, 50ml hot water, dash of maple syrup, cayenne, cinnamon or cardamom >> blend into a thick frothy drink and serve as a small energy booster.

Is cacao a psychedelic?

No, but you could describe cacao as psychoactive. Cacao does not create things/visions that are not there. But cacao has neurocognitive effects, enhances your mood, focus and creative flow. You can read more in our blog story about the active ingredients of cacao and how this works in a healthy balanced way.

Cacao works as a catalyst to go deeper into processes with a loving energy and heart opening effect. Although cacao is not psychedelic itself, it does strengthen the effect of psychedelic substances like magic mushrooms and cannabis. Shamans used to combine these in ceremonies.

Find out more about combing cacao with microdosing.

Does cacao have side effects that I should know about?

To enjoy cacao as much as possible it’s good to keep the following in mind:

> A large dose of cacao can be heavy on your stomach, this depends on what you’ve eaten and how sensitive your belly is. Check for yourself what is a nice dose and listen to your body.

> Cacao is slightly dehydrating so it’s always advised to drink enough water to avoid a headache. This also improves detoxification processes of your body.

> If you’re taking MAOi/SSRI based antidepressants there can be a contraindication with cacao/chocolate. In this case a lower dose is advised. The MAOi in cacao can cause a headache and when this happens it's best to drink enough water. Cacao actually works as a mild natural antidepressant.

Shipping & Returns

NL shipping costs & delivery time

Shipping within NL is €4,20 and free from €50,- orders.

When we hand over your cacao package to PostNL it takes 1-2 days for delivery. You will also receive a track & trace notification.

International shipping costs & delivery time

International shipping costs depend on your country and will show when you fill in your address at checkout.

⬖ Belgium & Germany €6,50 and free from €75,- orders.

⬖ International (Europe) shipping is free from €150,- orders.

⬖ Contact us for worldwide shipping if your country cannot be selected. We can check the shipping costs and make a custom shipment.

Delivery time:

This depends on your location and in general is between 2 and 7 days. You receive a track & trace notification to follow your cacao package.

⬖ Belgium & Germany delivery time is 1-3 days.

My country/address cannot be selected at checkout, can I still order cacao?

Yes, please send us a message at hello@purekakaw.com incl what you plan to order so we can check the shipping costs. We disabled some countries outside Europe because of high shipping costs and possible custom taxes. Check out more about shipping in our Shipping Notes.  

Can I return my order?

If for whatever reason you want to return your order you can do so within 14 days. The cacao package must still be sealed, not melted and in good shape. We will check this and when everything is good we refund you the money! Return shipping is for your own costs. Please send us a message with your order number when you do.

How can I contact you?

You can contact us through the form on our contact page or drop us a line at hello@purekakaw.com. Please include your order nr if you have one.

Happy to hear from you! ♡