What Is Arriba Nacional Cacao?
Arriba Nacional is the heirloom variety of Ecuadorian Cacao. Known for its delicious floral flavors and pungent aromas, it is but 1% of Ecuador’s Cacao production. This exquisite variety with its complex flavor profile is being replaced by GMO Cacao varieties, which are more homogeneous and higher-yielding but less flavorful and nutritious. Our Cacao is made with what remains of the old-growth Cacao trees still present in the province of Manabí, along the banks of the Portoviejo river.
Unlike cocoa powder, ceremonial Cacao has not been defatted and requires warm water and thorough blending for it to mix well.
1. Heat up water to just under boiling
2. While heating up water, begin to chop or grate the ceremonial grade cacao. If cacao is already granulated, you can skip this step.
3. Mix chopped/granulated cacao thoroughly with either a tea infusion or hot water using a frother, blender, or whisk.
Quality of water is an important component: filtered water is preferred.
For more through preparation instructions, ideas for superfood boosts, and recipes, please visit our Preparing Your Cacao page.
Attention: We do not add emulsifiers to our cacao. This may lead to the naturally occurring fats in the cacao to separate from the solids and create white spots or a thin white layer on your cacao. This is called blooming and is normal. The properties of the cacao remain intact and its quality does not change.
A meditation serving is about 1 ounce (28 grams). This can also be measured with about 2 heaping tablespoons of chopped or granulated cacao.
A ceremonial serving is about 1.5 ounces (42 grams). This can also be measured with about 3 heaping tablespoons of chopped or granulated cacao.
An 8 oz tin of granulated cacao will make about 8 meditation servings; a 1 pound bag of granulated cacao will make about 16 meditation servings; while the 1 kilo (2.2 lb) block will make about 35 meditation servings.
1 kg makes 35 servings
Our whole ceremonial-grade cacao is an incredibly healthy food.
Some highlights include:
- High theobromine content and very low caffeine content. Theobromine is a cousin to caffeine, but works completely differently. It works primarily on your cardiovascular system rather than your brain, giving you a gentle, long-lasting lift without the jitters and caffeine crash.
- Incredible antioxidant potency. Ceremonial-grade cacao has over 40x the antioxidants of blueberries and is one of the most antioxidant-dense foods in the world.
- One of the best vegan sources of magnesium, which helps relax the body and maintain muscle health.
- The best vegan source of iron.
- Vital source of vitamins A,C,and D and B-complex vitamins B1, B2, and B3.
Our ceremonial-grade cacao has been uplifting people's lives for years. While there is a spirit of self-exploration and self-improvement that many people put into their cacao practice, the science is clear on how cacao can change our mind:
- Whole cacao contains high levels of the amino acids l-tryptophan and l-tyrosine, which are the building blocks of the mood-moderating neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
- It contains phenylethylamine, known as the love drug. PEA works by slowing the reuptake serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, leading to an increased concentration of “happy chemicals” in the brain. This may lead to a natural anti-depressive state over time.
- Cacao is one of the only food sources of the endocannabinoid anandamide, known as the bliss molecule. The anandamide in cacao works in concert with the body's internal cannabinoid system, moderating stress, pain, and mood responses. CBD supplements act similarly by attaching to endocannibinoid receptors in the body, rather than the brain.
- The very high levels of antioxidants in ceremonial-grade cacao have been show to be neuroprotective. And while cacao is not a psychedelic, it is a psychoactive compound—meaning that it may play a vital role in improving your mental space, just as it has for so many others.
What Is Ceremonial-Grade?
Ceremonial-grade is not a certification, but rather an intentional process of bringing to market the very best cacao available.
These are our core tenets of ceremonial-grade cacao:
The source matters. Cacao plants are not all created equal, and seeking the best cacao is the first step ensuring an excellent experience. This is why we harvest heirloom cacao from some of the oldest and least-modified plantings in the world.
The land matters. The raising of said cacao must be in harmony with the land and regenerate it over time. All of our cacao is raised in agroforestry systems that maintain the forest, rather than destroy it.
Respect matters. Every person, from the farmer to the team member who packs your shipment, must be compensated fairly and treated with respect. That's why we pay above-fair-trade prices at origin and include all employees and partner farms in profit-sharing plans.
Intention matters. This cacao is meant to hold a special place in your life—a ritual, a refuge, a teacher. As such, every member of the process treats the production of your cacao with the intention that it plays a valuable role in your day, and we hope you enjoy it with the same respect.
You can read more about our commitment to bringing you the best cacao at our What Is Ceremonial-Grade Cacao? page
All orders are sent within 1-3 business days from sale via USPS. Most packages are sent priority shipping (3-5 days) within the continental US.
We ship to the US, Canada, and some other select locations on a case-by-case basis.
Shipping on all orders over $80 is free!
Because we believe in leaving the planet a little better than we found it, we choose not to create more waste by shipping with disposable ice packs. If your Cacao melts during shipping, it’s totally fine. Simply pop your unopened Cacao in the fridge for about an hour and it will be solid.
Unfortunately, we cannot accept returns because cacao is a food.
However, we do stand behind our products and will work with you to issue a refund if the product is not to your liking.
Please visit our refund policy page for further information.