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Ceremonial Raw Cacao Beans - Bolivia

Ceremonial Raw Cacao Beans - Bolivia
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El Ceibo's Ceremonial Raw Cacao Beans - Bolivia are not only products of these sustainable farming practices, but also bearers of deep spiritual value. In Bolivia and many other cultures around the world, cocoa has been used for centuries in ceremonial contexts, valued for its ability to open the heart, clarify the mind and facilitate a deep connection with the divine. El Ceibo beans are particularly powerful in this role because they are grown with respect for the land and community, and enriched by the spiritual energy of the region.

El Ceibo

In Bolivia, cocoa occurs naturally in the forests of Beni, Cochabamba and northern La Paz. These beans are supplied by El Ceibo. This is a second-level cooperative founded in 1977 by 12 grassroots cooperatives. El Ceibo unites more than 1,200 small producers dedicated to growing organic cocoa in the Alto Beni region. Since 1977, the cooperative has been committed to improving the livelihoods of its members. For many years, El Ceibo, in collaboration with PIAF (Programme for implementation of Agro Ecology and Forestry), has been promoting the cultivation of cocoa in agroforestry plantation systems, where cocoa is grown along with fruit crops, medicinal plants and timber.

The fermentation period for native Bolivia Criollos ranges from 3 to 4 days, while hybrids require 7 to 9 days, depending on weather and other external factors. The beans are fermented in wooden crates, which have small holes in the bottom to facilitate the outflow of cocoa pulp. During fermentation, the beans are turned 3 times every 48 hours and every 24 hours thereafter. After fermentation, the beans are dried until a humidity of 7.5% is reached. During the drying period, the beans are raked 4-5 times a day to achieve uniform quality.

Cocoa beans rich in various nutrients

Cocoa beans are rich in various nutrients and bioactive compounds that provide various health benefits. Here are some of the key compounds that make cocoa beans healthy for humans:

  1. Flavonoids: These natural compounds are known for their antioxidant properties, which can protect cells in the body from free radical damage. Flavonoids in cocoa, such as epicatechin and catechin, can help reduce inflammation and improve heart health by promoting vasodilation and lowering blood pressure.

  2. Magnesium: Cocoa beans are an excellent source of magnesium, a mineral essential for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including muscle and nerve function, blood sugar regulation, and blood pressure control.

  3. Iron: They also contain iron, which is crucial for transporting oxygen in the blood and can help prevent anaemia.

  4. Antioxidants: Apart from flavonoids, cocoa beans contain other antioxidants such as polyphenols, which can protect against chronic diseases, including heart disease.

  5. Theobromine: This is a mild stimulant found in cocoa beans and can help improve mental alertness and reduce fatigue. Theobromine also has a mild diuretic effect and may help improve heart health.

  6. Fibre: Cocoa beans are rich in dietary fibre, which can help with digestion and promote a healthy gut microbiome. Fibre can also help regulate blood sugar levels and support weight management.

  7. Healthy fats: They contain healthy fats such as oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that can help improve cholesterol levels and promote heart health.


Yes, you can consume raw cacao beans directly or crumble them and add them to food. The taste can be quite bitter and strong, which not everyone likes. You can consider lightly roasting the beans before consumption to soften the flavour and improve the texture, although this may reduce some nutrients.

Use Ceremonially

Preparing cocoa beans for ceremonial use is a process that requires respect and consideration for the spiritual and cultural significance of cocoa. For a single dose of ceremonial cocoa drink, a quantity of about 20 to 40 grams of raw cocoa beans is often recommended. However, this depends on personal preference, the desired strength of the drink, and the specific practice or tradition being followed.

  1. Light dose: For a milder experience, which may be suitable for beginners or people with a higher sensitivity to cocoa, you could start with about 20 grams of cocoa beans.
  2. Standard dose: For a standard ceremonial dose, which aims for a deeper connection and more pronounced effects, 30 to 40 grams of cocoa beans are often used.
  3. Strong dose: Some ceremonies call for a stronger dose, perhaps 40 grams or more, depending on the context and leadership of the ceremony. It is important to remember that a higher dose may also increase the risk of side effects such as nausea or overstimulation.

Here is a general guide to preparing cocoa beans for ceremonial use, as used in various traditional and contemporary ceremonies:

  1. Cleansing
    Start with a physical and energetic cleansing of the room, yourself, and the cocoa beans. This may include smoke of white sage, palo santo or another cleansing ritual. For the beans themselves, a simple rinse under running water may suffice, with the intention of cleansing them of any negative energies.
  2. Roasting
    Roasting cocoa beans helps develop the flavours and makes it easier to remove the husk. Roast the beans lightly on a low heat while keeping your attention and intention on the process and the upcoming ceremony. Keep stirring constantly to avoid burning.
  3. Peel
    After roasting, let the beans cool. Next, peel off the skin of each bean. This can be done manually, sometimes rolling the beans lightly between your hands or on a clean cloth to make the process easier.
  4. Grind
    The shelled beans can then be ground into a fine paste. This can be done with a manual grinder, a stone mill or a modern food processor. Intention and attention during this process are crucial for preserving the cocoa's spiritual qualities.
  5. Preparing the drink
    Mix the cocoa paste with hot water (do not use boiling water as this can damage the active ingredients) and stir well. Traditionally, no sweeteners are added to this, but depending on the specific ceremony and personal preference, honey, chilli, vanilla, or other natural ingredients can be added to enrich the experience.
  6. Intention and Prayer
    Before the cocoa is served, say an intention or prayer over the drink. This is a time to invoke the spirit of cocoa and ask for permission and blessings for the ceremony.
  7. Consumption
    The cocoa drink is drunk in a ceremonial context, often in a circle and accompanied by a facilitator or shaman. Participants may be encouraged to meditate on their intention, share in a circle, or participate in other ritual practices.
  8. It is important to remember that respect for cocoa and the cultures that have used this sacred plant for centuries is central to any ceremony. Ceremonial use of cocoa is a powerful way to connect with your heart, with others, and with the earth.


100% Ceremonial Raw Cacao Beans from Bolivia.


Ceremonial Raw Cocoa Beans Bolivia - 200 g.

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