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Ceremonial cocoa. How to prepare? [5 recipes]

Reading time: 7 minutes

What is ceremonial cocoa?

Cocoa is a native plant of South America, which was used by the indigenous inhabitants of this continent several thousand years ago, as evidenced by traces of cocoa use from the areas of today's Ecuador. The Mayans and Aztecs - societies traditionally inhabiting Central and South America - saw cocoa seeds as food, but this plant and its fruits also had a huge symbolic meaning for them. Access to cocoa drinks could, for example, testify to human status, in addition, in the aztec and Mayan beliefs there was ritual cocoa, and cocoa products were attributed to divine origin and supernatural properties. Finally, South American cultures used cocoa beans as a means of payment. In one form or another, the importance of this product in pre-Columbian cultures could not be overestimated - this is indicated by the archaeological find, which is a huge, 4-liter cup for a cocoa drink. And suddenly, the slogan "just one more cup" takes on a completely different character!

You can learn more about the history of cocoa in this article.

Here, however, we will deal with the answer to the question: what is ceremonial cocoa? Ceremonial cocoa is nothing more than non-degreased cocoa without additives. These are pure ground cocoa beans, which, after solidging, take the form of hard, but crumbling blocks.

Ceremonial Cocoa from Colombia
Ceremonial cocoa in the block

But why this specific name? It comes from the fact that such cocoa is used in the cocoa ceremony, i.e. during the joint consumption of cocoa drink. In practice, however, ceremonial cocoa could be described by another name: it is real cocoa. True in the sense that nothing contained in the cocoa seeds themselves has been taken away from him. The product that we find in every of our kitchens is usually powdered cocoa with a low fat content (eg. 11%). This, on the other hand, is full-fat cocoa. Because the whole secret lies in fat: it is in it that such beneficial substances as phenylethylamine, anandamide or theobromine are dissolved. So full-fat cocoa is the pure essence of health from cocoa fruits!

Cocoa Ceremony

The cocoa ceremony is called a meeting of lovers of such full-fat cocoa, during which its higher doses are drunk (about 40-50g per person). Such an amount of cocoa has a very pleasant effect on well-being: a person relaxes, has a better mood, wants to dance, sing, cuddle - which is why the cocoa ceremony perfectly connects people with each other. Real cocoa guarantees an intense, deep taste, which, when shared with others, acquires even more colors. It is worth joining yourself or even organizing a cocoa ceremony with your loved ones - but before that, prepare well by reading a little more about the types into which ritual cocoa is divided, as well as about the different recipes for preparing the drink!

https://youtu.be/wKI-ngRQJ90

Types of cocoa

Traditionally, the existence of three basic species of cocoa is assumed, namely:

however, this division is very, very simplified and definitely does not reflect one hundred percent reality, because cocoa very willingly interbreeds with each other and even within one plantation, and maybe even within one alley, we can deal with many different species of cocoa. In Peru alone, researchers have distinguished as many as 10 species of cocoa.

You can read more about the species and types of cocoa here - we at the moment let's deal with these three basic branches. And let's answer the question: which ceremonial cocoa is the best? Criollo, trinitario, or maybe forastero?

You can meet with a fairly popular opinion that only cocoa made from the criollo variety deserves the noble title of ceremonial. However, this opinion is erroneous, because ritual cocoa can be prepared from fruits of practically every species of cocoa - although it will of course differ in taste. For example, full-fat cocoa from the criollo variety is less tart than forastero, which can be a disadvantage or an advantage - it all depends on your taste!

How to make ceremonial cocoa?

The recipe for full-fat cocoa begins when raw beans are extracted from the cocoa fruit and closed in special boxes, where they are subjected to the fermentation process for several days. This part is largely responsible for the final taste of the product - even more so than what kind of cocoa we are dealing with. Therefore, the process of cocoa fermentation should be carried out with special care and with appropriate temperatures.

After fermentation, it is already downhill - the grains are subjected to drying and grinding, with grinding should take place at the right temperature (about 40 degrees Celsius). Celsius). The question is: whatceremonial cocoa can also be made at home?

Of course! However, we will not, of course, ferment the grains at home. Having purchased the already pre-processed beans, we roast them in a pan, then get rid of the shells and grind the cocoa: in a grinder or more traditionally - in a mortar. The following video shows how you can also do this using an ordinary stone. Preparing raw cocoa to obtain ceremonial cocoa is easy and fun.

Grinding cocoa beans on a stone


However, if we have already prepared, or simply purchased ready-made ceremonial cocoa, then there are many ways in which we can prepare the drink itself! Real cocoa is said to work best and taste best in the traditional form used by native Americans. About 10-20 grams of ceremonial cocoa block are mixed with water or vegetable milk (about 250 ml) and seasoned with chili, vanilla, cinnamon or cardamom at your discretion. The cocoa block should be slightly crushed with a knife in advance. You can sweeten the whole with honey.

Ceremonial Cocoa from Guatemala
Ceremonial cocoa bar from Guatemala

However, this is not the only method of preparing a cocoa drink! We advise you to try all of them, because each of them changes the finally obtained taste of the drink.

5 recipes for a real cocoa drink


Traditional American recipe

Grind with a knife 10-20g of cocoa from the block and mix with hot or cold water / vegetable milk (approx. 250ml). Add spices as desired: you can use, for example, chili, vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom. If you fancy a sweet drink, add a little honey at the end. Ready!

Cocoa from the blender

Mix 10-20g of cocoa with hot or cold water/vegetable milk (approx. 250ml) with the help of a blender. This is the fastest method of preparation. Cocoa prepared in this way has a silky texture and taste similar to milk chocolate, and also gently stimulates.

Ceremonial cocoa prepared in a blender
Natural Ceremonial Cocoa prepared in a blender for a minute

Dissolved cocoa

Dissolve 10-20g of cocoa in a pot of hot water or vegetable milk (approx. 250ml). Note: the temperature should be about 70 degrees. Celsius! Make sure not to make the mixture boil! Cocoa will be more dense and more intense in taste compared to the recipe using a blender. This is how cocoa is most often prepared during the ceremony: it has both calming and stimulating properties, gives an injection of positive, relaxing energy.

Boiled cocoa

Dissolve 10-20g of cocoa in a pot of hot water or vegetable milk (approx. 250ml) and bring the substance to a boil. Cook for another 3 minutes. Such cocoa retains most of its nutritional value, but it is easily digestible and gently stimulates.

Cocoa cooked for a long time

Dissolve 10-20g of cocoa in a pot of hot water or vegetable milk (approx. 250ml), bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes. Finally, add spices (e.g. vanilla, cinnamon) and honey. Thanks to such cooking, the fiber contained in cocoa is broken down, and the drink gains a rare consistency.

Boiled ceremonial cocoa for 30 minutes
Boiled ceremonial cocoa for 30 minutes

Questions and answers about ceremonial cocoa

Does cooking destroy the ingredients of cocoa?

Most of the active substances contained in cocoa have fairly high decomposition temperatures, so cooking at 100 degrees Celsius does not harm them. However, some vitamins may be broken down.

Learn about the properties of cocoa.

Is ceremonial cocoa kosher?

So. According to the information on this page: https://www.koszernapolska.pl/herbata-kawa-kakao, every 100% natural cocoa is kosher.

Do we dissolve cocoa in cow's milk or water?

It is definitely better to use water or vegetable milk, but you can use cow's milk if it does not harm someone.

Does ceremonial cocoa fatten?

Ceremonial cocoa is a high-calorie product, so drinking 20-30g in a drink can replace a meal. However, it is a meal full of valuable substances, so unless we add sugar to cocoa, it is difficult to call it fattening. There is also additional good news: after ceremonial cocoa, you generally do not want to eat.

How many calories does ceremonial cocoa have?

100 grams of cocoa has approx. 600 kcal. If we assume that we need 20 grams of cocoa for a 250 ml cup, it turns out that a decent cup of ceremonial cocoa has 120 kcal.

What can be added to ceremonial cocoa?

Everything that is healthy and we like, i.e. honey, vanilla (not vanillin), cardamom, nutmeg, chilli or cinnamon.

Cocoa protip: it does not cook cocoa together with cinnamon, because the consistency of the drink prepared in this way leaves much to be desired! Cinnamon and other spices are best added at the very end.

What are the contraindications to drinking ceremonial cocoa?

Real cocoa is a slightly stimulant, so it is not recommended to drink it before bedtime or in combination with other energizing substances (e.g. coffee) or drugs that act on the nervous system. If in doubt, take the advice of a doctor or pharmacist!

Can children drink ceremonial cocoa?

Yes, they can, but the dose of cocoa should be correspondingly less.

Can I drive a car for cocoa?

Yes, if you have not drunk more than 40 grams. Then it is best to wait a few hours.

How much ceremonial cocoa can I drink?

The dose that is usually taken during a cocoa ceremony is about 40-50 grams and is not recommended to exceed it. Ceremonial cocoa tastes good already at 10-20 grams per cup.

How to drink cocoa?

Cocoa is drunk slowly, in small sips. Depending on your preferences, hot, warm or cold.

For the photos in this entry we would like to thank Mateusz Torbus from Torb.us – Culinary Photography

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Our ambition is to import cocoa powder and ceremonial cocoa from all over the world. We try to import organic cocoa (BIO), but not all farmers can afford to make bio certificates, and they grow great organic cocoa. That's why here you will find simply good cocoa :). Fortunately, all cocoa beans are 100% vegan and kosher.


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