Spiced Adaptogenic Ceremonial Cacao

With ingredients sourced from around the world, I’ve made my ritual of creating a Cacao elixir more than just about the Ceremony. This one is for those quiet times with friends, intimate conversations during a rain storm, and silent reflective days like Nyepi here in Bali 🌴.

With Mendoza's Lava Love ceremonial grade Cacao from Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, coconut sugar and fresh ginger from Bali, cinnamon sticks from the souks of Morocco, dōTERRA essential oil blends made for Cacao at The Yoga Forest, and an Adaptogenic Herb blend from Essential Medicina called Tonic Latte Adrenal Essence that I found in Los Angeles, I bring the essence of my travels to my cup. The intention? To feel the nourishment of all the spaces that I call home. The experience is filled with nostalgia and a sense of being connected to all the teachers and beautiful people I've met on this journey.

There are many ways to approach making ceremonial style cacao. If using raw cacao like I find here from Ubud Raw, I would use a double boiler and preserve the lower temp of the cacao, melting the cacao first and then adding water. However, usually I am making cacao in various kitchens for large groups and so this method I have found to be the easiest given what kitchen supplies are typically available. I still try and not overheat the cacao, preventing it from ever reaching a boil, but over the years I also have become a bit less strict about the principles of staying raw. That said, this recipe is scaleable as I will share it with you to measure by the number of people sitting in ceremony.


200ml or about 7 oz of water per person

50grams or about 2 oz (6TBS) of finely shaved cacao paste per person

Peeled and sliced ginger - small handful per batch for 2 people

1-2 cinnamon whole sticks per batch for 2 people

adaptogenic herbs - I like to use ashwaghanda, astragalus, cordyceps, or licorice root

coconut palm sugar

sea salt

essential oils

Keith, the chocolate shaman from San Marcos La Laguna in Guatemala has a few variations on the ratios to be found here.

Start by measuring out your water per person, and set in a saucepan to boil with a few slivers of peeled and sliced ginger, and broken cinnamon sticks. No exact math on the cinnamon and ginger, however obviously with more water, you will need more of the spices. Let the water slowly get to a simmer and just start to boil, making sure the water begins to take on the color of the cinnamon and smells sweet on the nose. Allow the water then to cool to the touch. While waiting for the water, shave your brick of cacao paste. Measure out for each person and then add the cacao to the water, stirring until fully melted. Add coconut sugar slowly, tasting it as you go until it has just cut the bitterness. Add a pinch of sea salt and any adaptogenic powders and continue to spice or sweeten to taste.

Next slowly reheat the cacao in a semi-tempering effect to froth the cacao and give it some more body and thickness. I bring the whole thing back up to just below a simmer. The cacao should not be too hot to taste so at this stage, you may find you want to sweeten a little more to taste. Remember that sweetness is more prevalent when things are colder so consider how you are planning to serve and to whom. First timers to cacao may need it sweeter.

I know many cacao facilitators who never make chocolate or understand the full alchemy but find their own special way to prepare the medicine. Some people I know prefer not to add sweeteners, some serve it quite watery, and personally, I like to serve it as the most delicious cacao I have ever tasted. I believe that the medicine will work even more if you can celebrate its flavor and texture. Give yourself some time to understand the right thickness and strength for you. Go slow as you drink it and be sure to take plenty of water after consumption as it the cacao can tend to dehydrate.

Once you have sweetened to taste, you may choose to add dried spices such as cayenne, cardamom, black pepper, licorice, maca, or others. I personally have been loving carrying these tiny vials of cacao-ready essentials oils to add in as a final step as I'm around a lot of ceremonies and its nice to make it extra special for those around me or for when I have few ingredients in my suitcase.

doTERRA essential oil blends for cacao:

1. Orange spice blend - wild orange, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, clove, and cinnamon.

2. Mint spice blend - peppermint, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, clove, and cinnamon.

Looking for exact recipes?

In small 1ML bottles, the oil comes out in small 1/4 drop doses that allow you to flavor the elixir much easier than the larger bottles where you may over accidentally over flavor the cacao with an oil.

Enjoy the subtleties.


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