What is ceremonial cacao?

21 February 2021

8 minutes

Cacao ceremonies have become more and more popular. New cacao brands are popping up, offering ceremonial cacao. Have you perhaps been wondering what it is, exactly? I will tell you about it, using Keith’s Cacao as an example – it is my favourite when it comes to cacao pastes 🙂


What is Keith’s Cacao?

Keith’s Cacao is a high-quality cacao paste valued around the world and used as a unique ceremonial cacao. It is made in Guatemala following the recipe of Keith Wilson, the contemporary Chocolate Shaman.

Who is Keith Wilson? 

Keith, called the Chocolate Shaman, is a well-known figure among real cacao lovers – he greatly contributed to the re-discovery and re-introduction of pure cacao in its natural form – traditional cacao paste. He is also a precursor of the so-called cacao ceremonies in Europe and the US. His on-line ceremonies often draw hundreds of people from all over the world! Keith lives in San Marcos La Laguna in Guatemala, where – together with the local community – he makes his cacao paste for ceremonial work. 


How is ceremonial cacao made?

Keith calls his cacao Ceremonial Grade Cacao – let us have a look at how he makes it. The two key factors in the production process are: the way in which cacao beans are sourced and the intention, i.e. why he does it. Integrity and respect are the cornerstones of the whole process. 


Supporting intention is key

Keith’s work is guided by an intention to offer the world the best quality cacao, along with the most beautiful energy to support ceremonial work :). Keith says “Bring on Your Magic” – and this intention is present at every stage of Keith’s Cacao production.


Unique beans

When sourcing beans, Keith doesn’t look for a specific variety or flavor profile of cacao. Following his intuition, he personally selects beans from local farmers, looking for those he believes will be best suited to support the ceremonial process. He does not work with one farmer but selects beans from a variety of sources. It is mostly Criollo cacao, which is low in caffeine and high in energy. Occasionally, other beans are added as well, all personally hand-picked by the Chocolate Shaman.


Working with the community 

Keith’s focus is on quality, as well as environmental and ethical considerations. They are part and parcel of his approach to the cacao making process. No chemicals are used in the cultivation of cacao. There is no certificate to prove it, mainly because it would be too costly for the small farmers from whom he sources the beans. Keith works directly with farmers, sourcing his cacao through direct trade. This ensures that he pays farmers fair price for their cacao and selects beans that meet his requirements.


Keith is greatly involved in local activities in San Marcos. This is simply his way of working and living within the community, but he does not make great deal out of it just for marketing purposes. He works closely with over 30 local families. His co-workers are 80% women – a kind of an informal women’s cooperative. The work is organized so that women can do it at home. This allows them to reconcile their job with their daily duties or childcare.


Made with heart

The next important step in the creation of Keith’s Cacao is production. The cacao undergoes minimal heat treatment to preserve as many of the properties found naturally in the cacao fruit and beans as possible. Keith’s Cacao ferments naturally in the sun. During roasting, it is heated minimally, only to the temperature necessary to get rid of the cacao shells. This ensures that the cacao retains more antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and its delicate flavour.


Keith is deeply committed to offering us the best possible quality. All production is supervised and subject to as many checks as possible. Each bean is examined by hand a minimum of 3 times – once before roasting, and twice after roasting by two different people. All this is done to ensure there is not even the slightest bit of mould on the beans. All the cacao processing work is done by hand. Once the cacao is formed into bricks, it is packaged and ready to go out into the world to bring its magic 🙂


Interestingly, Keith personally blesses EVERY cacao brick that is sent out into the world 🙂 Also, the little package that you open when you receive your cacao paste contains the cacao essence  and energetic support for your work, whatever it may be 🙂


As you can see, the whole process is carried out with great care and attention to every detail, starting from the energizing intention, to the respectful collaboration between those involved in the production. It all translates into the unique character of this cacao, which has been repeatedly confirmed by the fans of Keith’s Cacao <3


If you wish to know more: 

  • If you would like to meet Keith Wilson, I encourage you to join his cacao ceremonies, which are happening on-line on a weekly basis. Those who have already attended will know that Keith is definitely one of those people WORTH knowing https://www.keithscacao.com 

Or order cacao directly from Keith’s Cacao webpage and get 5% discount “BUY KEITH’S CACAO with 5% DISCOUNT

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