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3 Common Mistakes when making your Morning Cacao*

*and how to avoid them

If you’ve tried our cacao and don’t quite get what all the fuss is about, then you probably haven’t quite mastered the art of preparing it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Implement these tips and we can almost guarantee that it’ll be a WHOLE new experience.

We’ve played around over the years and figured out our fav combos. Def recommend you ๐˜—๐˜“๐˜ˆ๐˜  & ๐˜Œ๐˜Ÿ๐˜—๐˜Œ๐˜™๐˜๐˜”๐˜Œ๐˜•๐˜› to figure out what you love best.

That said, we have some golden rules that we abide by:

๐ŸŒป1. We ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—น๐˜† ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ use top quality cacao (our Balinese cacao 90% of the time, 10% of the time we taste test other varieties). Unfortunately there is some poor quality cacao out there (usually wholesale cacao that seriously rips off the farmers: price is a good indicator as to whether this situation applies).

๐ŸŒป2. ๐—”๐—น๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜†๐˜€ ๐—ฏ๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฑ. Be it with a heat proof blender, stick blender or a whisk and some elbow grease.

๐ŸŒป3. If we use milk, then we use a good quality oat milk.

๐ŸŒป4. We ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—น ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ฑ and add spices/sweetener accordingly. Some days we opt for heart warming cinnamon & a dash of cayenne. Other days, we just add a sprinkle of sea salt. Some days it’s just pure Mama Cacao.

Don’t be scared to do this – especially if it’s your first time trying cacao. Our palettes have been butchered by years of drinking highly processed dutched-cocoa (with emulsifiers, flavouring and other additives). For some of us, it’ll be a bit of a transition to Mama Cacao – so if you feel the need to add some natural sweeteners, milk and spices to make it suit your palette, then don’t be afraid to do so. In our experience, you’ll find less of a want to add sweetener and milk over time.

Inspo for this post was from visiting friends recently who invested in a 500g bag – they didn’t love their first cup. Adam took to the task, (this time blending, adding a touch of sweetener plus a dash of spices) and they were in love. Which made us very happy. ๐Ÿฅฐ

As always – we’re here to advise you if you need some further guidance, or also feel free to check out our preparation page on our website ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ve got tips and tricks that we continue to develop based on your questions and feedback.

COMMON MISTAKE TO AVOID #1

Probably one of the easiest mistakes to avoid, but it isn’t necessarily super obvious.

Being vigilant to ensure we don’t boil our cacao also comes back to mindfulness – to be present with the preparations, so as to ensure we don’t burn it.

COMMON MISTAKE TO AVOID #2

This is an easy one to implement!

COMMON MISTAKE TO AVOID #3

We actually prepared our cacao for years without using a mechanical blender and it was beautiful – but we were committed to making sure it was fully blended so really went for it with a whisk or hand blender. It usually helped that we often prepared cacao in a group – so when the arms got tired we could share the task.

That said, a mechanical blender is honestly a game changer – it really gets in there and makes it SO CREAMY. 10/10 recommend.

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Q: What’s the right serving of cacao for me?

Cacao Preparation Tips:

We thought it would be useful to set some guidelines around how much cacao paste to add for your daily brew. This guidance draws upon our experience and personal recommendations, but each of us is different. As with any fine brew โ€“ feeeeel into the process. Try different strengths and flavours. Youโ€™ll soon know the optimal amount depending on the time and occasion.

There are lots of factors to consider when it comes to choosing the right amount for you. Depending on your metabolism, size, sensitivity to stimulants, and how clean your diet is in general, cacao will effect you in different ways. A two a day coffee drinker is likely to have a different experience to someone who strictly sticks to water and herbal teas.

If you donโ€™t want cacao to interfere with your sleep, then we donโ€™t recommend more than 1 Tbsp after 2pm.

If you are new to drinking cacao, especially if you aren’t a coffee drinker, then we would recommend starting with 1 Tbsp. Our personal preference is to drink our cacao thick (like a Turkish coffee), so when we prepare a gentle serving we will normally decrease the amount of liquid in this brew. (As a general rule: always start with LESS liquid and add more if your cacao is too thick).

If you want to cosy up with cacao in the evening, then we would also recommend a gentle serve. As you may already know, cacao gives us an energetic boost which is fabulous for the morning and midday, but not ideal if we want to get an early night.

2 Tbsp is our day to day go to. It provides a lovely long lasting boost, but without the jitters. I usually drink 2 Tbsp of cacao every morning (spiced in different ways, according to my mood – check out our earlier post about how to spice/sweeten your cacao).

This amount of cacao can bring enhanced alertness and also kick start creative juices. Often my colleagues will see me on our morning Zoom catch up with cacao in hand, it’s the perfect brew to dust the cobwebs from my eyes and embrace the day with fresh zeal.

What we can say for sure, is to approach a full ceremonial dose with caution. A ceremonial dose cacao is intentionally intended to be felt in the body, particularly for the heart opening effects. Weโ€™ve experienced many ceremonies celebrated with the consumption of cacao, and found ourselves too alert for sleep (we took this as an opportunity for more singing and meditation, but this might not be for everyone!)

The invitation is really to experiment for yourself and most importantly, to enjoy it!

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Fermentation

Thereโ€™s a lot of hype about the different types of cacao beans (similar to the same sort of hype in the coffee biz). Bean type has a significant impact on taste for sure, but perhaps the most important part in developing flavour is actually in the post-harvest fermentation process.

(Ever noticed that some of the most delicious and simultaneously healthy food stuffs are naturally fermented? Kombucha, kimchi, miso, kefir yoghurtโ€ฆ I digress).

The cacao beans are harvested, removed from the colourful pod and then are naturally fermented. The fermentation of the beans is critical as it triggers the chemical changes that develop the unique chocolatey aroma & flavour that we know and love. Without fermentation cacao can be quite bitter and astringent.

The fermentation process takes approx  5-7 days (depending on the process adopted by the artisan, the environment and the particular batch). Itโ€™s a labour intensive process, a lot of love & care is required at this stage to ensure that the beans ferment just right. Just by way of comparison, I tried to make sauerkraut last year and even tending to my small jar was pretty labour intensive – daily pressing to ensure the cabbage is submerged under the brine just right, getting the seasonings just so… let’s just say I’ve decided to support local sauerkraut producers from now on.

Some big companies donโ€™t even both with fermentation. For them, profit margins are the key driver and the fermentation process is expensive, so they mask the missing flavour profile by subjecting the cacao to heavy roasting and then add a whole bunch of artificial preservatives, vegetable oils, flavours and sugar.

Cheap and nasty isnโ€™t our thing. Weโ€™ve been super selective and only partnered with farmers who grow and process their cacao to the highest quality โ€“ this includes having a legit and well managed fermentation process. Itโ€™s such a different buzz connecting to a food thatโ€™s been crafted as a labour of love as opposed to a commodity produced to make shareholders money.

Thanks again to Ubud Raw for the gorgeous picture. These guys are fermentation experts and we are so happy to partner with them.