This is a meal
Heavy, rich, decadent. It delivers in full force. I would not call it gentle, but indeed it is kind, nourishing, and asserting. It is a beast in its natural state, undomesticated, wild and beautiful but unyielding. It is as it is, do not take it if you are not ready. It wields the fullness of its character upon ingestion so take care to drink in slow sips which allow your body to assimilate it. It demands your undivided attention with each sip. Like a Sheng with a thick, dominating, and assertive Qi.
You can adapt tea around your life but cacao (Theobroma cacao which means food of the gods in Greek) seems to be the type of experience that demands that you adapt to it. Tea can be drank all day, but cacao… it will satisfy with one serving. Not that tea does not satisfy, it’s just that one serving of cacao will literally embody an entire days worth of tea.
Over the last few weeks I have been continuing to explore Cacao. In my last cacao post I talked about my experience with a cacao infusion from Teasource made from shards of the bean, pod and husk. From experimenting with it extensively, I settled on cold brewing being my favorite experience of this particular infusion. Recently I have gone deeper into this rabbit hole and purchased some ceremonial grade cacao from Endorfin foods after having found them online on an article reviewing different brands of ceremonial grade cacao. Ceremonial cacao traditionally comes mostly in thick solid disks which one then needs to break into portions for each serving, however companies have found easier ways to sell it. Many companies sell small flat discs that look like wafers which melt easily. Endorfin however sells their cacao in shavings which was the main selling point for me. Since I wanted something to drink in the morning with breakfast, I figured easier and faster was better. They offer two single origin ceremonial grade cacaos, one from Ecuador and another from Colombia. I bought both and have been comparing them the last few weeks.
Although I’m no where near knowing everything, I’ve learned a lot about cacao and what makes ceremonial grade cacao different than coco powder or other cacao based products. Mainly that ceremonial grade cacao contains all the natural fat in the bean and is much less processed. I had read that dark chocolate has many health benefits, which I used as an excuse to justify my love of dark chocolate, yet I had never actually looked deeper into these claims until now that I have gotten more curious about it. Pure cacao is a wonderful whole food that offers not only healthful benefits but deep and luxurious experiences. I won’t go into the claimed health benefits here as one can easily find those doing some quick research and because this is a documenting of my personal experience.
The beginning paragraph of this blog, I wrote as my initial impression upon the first few sips of drinking the Ecuadorian cacao. Those were the words that came to me. The Colombian one gives off an equally intense qi but with different traits in its character mostly manifested in its flavor. These two cacaos are very different, both are obviously very chocolatey in flavor, incredibly rich and dense but the main difference is the Colombian one is what I would call, a little more “approachable” and familiar- it is smooth, creamy, and comforting. The Ecuadorian one is more liquor like, it is definitely the more “adult” drink. Even when adding a teaspoon of maple syrup it gave off a very “hard liquor, adult” character. It is hard to describe. I thought I preferred the Ecuadorian one more until I tried them both side by side, now I can’t decide- but they are both good. I tried each at the recommended ratios (30-40g cacao to 6oz of water) and then started playing with it. I used 15g cacao instead of 30g in that same amount of water, and I found it a lot more approachable. It wasn’t so heavy on the body and I was able to actually drink the whole cup during breakfast, yet it was a a bit too thin. Made at the recommended ratio, I literally took a few hours to drink it… It’s that rich, at least for me! I have settled that at this time my preferred ratio is 20g cacao to 6oz water. For me, this still gives you all the intense creamy, richness but doesn’t weigh down so heavy on the stomach. Even still, I find that if I try to eat something with it, I get full much faster.
I had originally wanted to see if I could integrate cacao into my morning routine but decided it is too heavy to drink every day and decided that perhaps I’ll drink it on Mondays and Fridays. Intense fuel to start the week and a luxurious treat to end it. Have you tried any ceremonial grade cacaos? What was your experience like?