The cacao bean is the dried and fully fermented fatty seed of Theobroma cacao. Cacao beans are the base of all chocolate. There are two types of cacao powder typically – the more common is the Dutch-process which with the addition of an alkaline agent (usually baking soda) has been made more soluble. The other is a non-alkalized pure cacao powder. Our Cacao Powder is non-alkalized.
Cacao and cannabis (yes marijuana) are the only two plants known to contain cannabinoids, chemicals that unlock specific receptors in the brain. This results in the feeling of being high or elated. Cacao contains anandamide inhibitors. The body will often release anandamide to cope with the pain of intense exercise (this is frequently called runners high). Cacao also contains high levels of the essential amino acid tryptophan. Getting tryptophan into your system from food produces serotonin which is our "defense shield" against stress. Cacao has been tested to have the highest level of antioxidant flavonoids in any food – more than blueberries, black tea, green tea and red wine. So cacao helps you feel good while combating stress - oh and it tastes great.
The cacao bean is the seed of the fruit from the cacao tree which is a small evergreen tree which reaches a height of 12 to 25 feet. Native to the Americas, the cacao tree is most likely native to the foothills of the Andes in South America’s Amazon and Orinoco basins (today this region is known as Colombia and Venezuela). Pottery excavated from an archaeological dig in Honduras has been chemically tested and shows that this earliest evidence of cacao being consumed was between 1400 and 1500 BC. These findings show that long before the cacao bean became popular it was used in creating a fermented beverage. The cacao bean eventually became a commonly used currency throughout Mesoamerica (this area extends approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica) before the Spanish conquest.
Our Cacao Powder is from a very high quality cacao bean and is harvested in Peru.
Cacao trees are only found in hot, rainy tropical areas within 20° of latitude of the equator. Ripe cacao pods are carefully chosen by their color and are harvested from the trunk and branches of the cacao tree with a curved knife tied to the end of a long pole. It’s estimated one person can harvest up to 650 cacao pods per day.
The cacao pod (the fruit) has a rough and leathery rind which is a little over 1” thick. The pod is filled with a sweet, gummy pulp (known as 'baba de cacao' in South America) which contains 20 to 50 cacao beans (or seeds) that are soft and their color is white to pale lavender.
The harvested pods are typically split open with a machete. The beans and pulp are removed and then placed on grates for several days to begin the drying process. Similar to vanilla beans, during the drying process the seeds undergo "sweating". As the cacao pulp begins to ferment it liquefies and the pulp slowly slips away, leaving behind the cacao beans. Sweating is critical because if the sweating process is not allowed to run its course the beans will not maintain their strong bitter taste and will instead develop a flavor similar to raw potatoes. Once harvested, the cacao seeds are fermented, roasted, and ground to create chocolate liquor. To make cacao powder, the chocolate liquor is pressed which removes most of its fat (or cocoa butter), then ground again. The result is a fine, dusky powder.
Cacao powder is used in baked goods. We also like to use it sprinkled on top of finished desserts but it also has some savory applications, too, as it is the secret ingredient in many competition chili recipes and in in modern versions of classic Mexican moles.
Cacao beans are naturally sugar free and taste somewhat bitter in their raw form. Once your taste buds have experienced this heavenly treat you'll see why serious chocolate lovers believe it tastes better than processed chocolate.
THIS IS THE HIGHEST QUALITY YOU CAN GET! GREAT FLAVOR AND AROMA WILL KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF.
CERTIFIED ORGANIC: Certification is your guarantee that this product has been grown and processed according to strict guidelines established in the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. Before a product can be labeled Certified Organic, farmers and processors must meet the following requirements:
No harmful chemicals have been applied to the land for at least three years.
Farmers and processors pass yearly inspections by an independent certifying agency.
Farmers and processors keep detailed records of operations.
Farmers maintain a written organic management plan.
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If you are unhappy for any reason, please contact me (Marty) at 702-370-0035. Since most of our items are classified as food items, we can only do returns if we mistakenly sent the wrong item.
Buyer pays for shipping to return items to Ye Olde Spice Guy.
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