What is Ceremonial Cacao and How Do You Make it?

Until people are familiar with cacao ceremony, they may make some common mistakes that can reduce the effectiveness or result in unwanted effects. Below are four tips to help you avoid these common mistakes.

  • If you are new to drinking cacao, I highly recommend that stick to the 20 gram/ 2 tablespoon dose to begin.  Wait about 45 minutes, then gauge how you feel. If you notice absolutely no stomach queasiness, you may proceed to drink more.  The maximum ceremonial dose is 60 grams/ 6 tablespoons.  Most people aren’t accustomed to consuming so much cacao all at once. Therefore, it is best to stick to the smaller dose.
  • Don’t mix your cacao with cow's milk (or soy). Many of us Westerners are accustomed to hot chocolate, chocolate milk, or milk chocolate that it seems natural to mix the cacao with milk or soy milk for that creaminess we’re accustomed to. But don’t do this! Milk and soy interfere with the absorption of the cacao, and that can dampen the effects. If you feel that you need some kind of added “milk”, consider coconut milk, which shouldn’t interfere with absorption as do milk and soy.
  • Eat lightly prior to consuming your ceremonial cacao drink. This will allow the cacao to absorb more fully and not dampen the effects. No need to fast, just don't drink it on a full stomach. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water as you go and then eat dense foods at the end to ground the energy.
  • Cacao, being the strong bitter it is, can stimulate the liver to detox. It is mildly laxative in higher doses. Those needing dietary detox or those on a clean or raw diet, take less the first time and see how it feels. Some folks may get nausea or mild headache 5-6 hours later even going slowly, so consider going easy at first.