About Keith's Cacao
Our chocolate is 100% pure, ceremonial grade cacao - nothing added, never chemically altered and nothing taken away (except the peels and moldy beans). It is our joy to offer this exceptional connection and partnership facilitator medicine plant. Our cacao is here to open your heart, focus your mind, and energize your spirit to Bring on Your Magic!
Guided by the Cacao Spirit, Keith buys Criollo (“wild” or “native”) cacao which is harvested, fermented and dried by small-scale family farms in the mountain rain-forests of Guatemala’s Pacific coast. This region of Central America was revered by the ancients because it produced the finest ceremonial cacao. It takes significant time and Keith’s precise intention to find beans with both the right energy and flavor. It’s worth the effort, as our product has batch-to-batch consistency others cannot match.
Our production team is managed by Keith’s long-time friend, Tat Izaias Mendoza, a traditional Mayan Fire Ceremony Shaman. Tat Izaias makes sure our cacao is prepared in the traditional way, to assure full potency, clean product, and the best flavor.
Kaqchikel Mayan women from 20+ local families earn an independent income, while working at home, at their own pace, preparing our cacao beans. There are few employment opportunities for women in our community. As we grow, we will create jobs for many more local, indigenous women, providing them with good pay and flexible hours. We are proud to help our community grow in this way.
The women give our beans a quick, light toast over a wood-fired stove. They are highly skilled because the toasting process for cacao and the locally grown coffee beans is very similar. Their experience getting the “perfect toast” with coffee goes back many generations. This light toasting assures that the complex, subtle flavors of the cacao are not masked by a burnt taste.
Next, the women hand peel and inspect each bean. The process of hand-peeling allows for the moldy beans to be discarded -and NOT incorporated into our products. They give the inferior beans to the chickens, who love them and lay very rich eggs! We don’t want to eat mold, and we don’t want it in our cacao. The women are paid by the weight of cacao they are given to toast, peel and sort, not by the finished weight… so they have no motivation to include poor beans in the batch.
In our workshop, a team of local indigenous workers hand inspect every bean a second time to remove any remaining low-quality beans or other contaminants. Some of the nicest looking, mostly whole, beans are packaged to be sold as our “Hand Peeled Cacao Beans”. But most of our beans are milled to create the smooth, magical cacao paste that we use in our ceremonies and drink every day.
We are proud of our traditional approach; making cacao as the Cacao Spirit directs and as shamans have made it for thousands of years. We are delighted that this magical cacao adds so much to our community, financially and spiritually.
Our cacao workshop is located in the Kaqchikel Mayan community of San Marcos la Laguna, Guatemala, overlooking magnificent Lake Atitlan.