How to make a ceremonial cacao drink - 7 must-try tips

How to make a ceremonial cacao drink - 7 must-try tips

Wondering how to make a ceremonial cacao drink? This is the article for you because it shares seven top tips for making sure your cup of ceremonial cacao delivers all the benefits and all the taste. 

How to make ceremonial cacao drink


There’s no ‘right’ way to make ceremonial cacao, but there is a specific way to make sure it's like traditional cacao from the Mayan and Aztec cultures it hails from. And this is important because ceremonial cacao isn’t just a food, it’s a medicine. 

Cacao contains specific compounds that improve your physical, mental and spiritual health. By preparing it with care, you’ll protect these substances, so they can get to work in your body.

But if you’ve had ceremonial cacao in its purest form before (just mixed with some water), you’ll know there’s one big problem: it’s very bitter.

And that’s why it’s worth making a few tweaks to make your cup of cacao taste so delicious, you’ll want to drink it over and over again.

Ready to find out how to make a ceremonial cacao drink that’s rich, creamy and activating?

Here are seven ways to maximise your cacao experience today.

 how to make ceremonial cacao

How to make a ceremonial cacao drink 

Let’s begin by dispelling two big myths. First up is the idea that making cacao with water is ‘wrong’. It’s not.

In fact, it couldn’t be more right.

The classic way to make cacao and enjoy it in its unadulterated form? Just add it to warm water and gently heat on a stove. That’s how the Mayans and Aztecs made it. 

The addition of milk is something that happened after the Americas were colonised by Europeans and they introduced cacao to the rest of the world.

Myth number two? 

Ceremonial cacao is made with cacao powder. It’s not.

Cacao is a whole food that consists of the whole bean. Cacao powder is a processed by-product made by removing cacao butter from the ground cacao bean.

If you’re drinking cacao made from powder, you’re literally missing out on half of what makes up cacao. 

Always use the whole bean - either grind it down yourself or buy ceremonial-grade cacao solids (also known as cacao liquor or paste).

So, with those two myths firmly dispelled, it’s time to discover our 7 top tips on how to make a ceremonial cacao drink.

Never use boiling water

Remember how we mentioned that cacao naturally has powerful compounds that can change your physical and mental state? There’s no quicker way to cancel the effects of these compounds than by excessively heating cacao when making it.

This is even more important when making 8 Within's enhanced ceremonial cacao elixirs. They are infused with medicinal plant extracts that help to elevate your mood. Heating them at high temperatures for long periods of time may make them less effective.

So, what should you do?

Boil water, milk or whatever other liquid you want to add to your cacao. Leave it to cool for up to 60 seconds, then add it to your cacao and blend.


hot water for ceremonial cacao drink

Use a pan or blender

Cacao solids are 50% cacao butter, and while this butter contains lots of nutrients (from anti-ageing antioxidants to vitamin D, magnesium, iron, and many other minerals) the true pleasure of cacao butter is its flavour and mouthfeel.

Cacao butter is the reason why the best ceremonial cacao is rich, creamy and incredibly delicious.

To achieve this effect, you need to fully break down the cacao solids, release the butter and emulsify it (mix the fatty droplets thoroughly with the liquid in your cacao). 

A quick and effective way of doing this is to whizz your cacao and warm water/milk in a blender for 20 to 30 seconds. 

But you can also make your cacao in a pan, and use a whisk to thoroughly mix the cacao and liquid together as they gently heat.


Keep it classic 

It’s worth trying your ceremonial cacao with just water at least once. You may find you love the rich intensity of the whole bean without the cover of milk or sweetener - especially after a few mouthfuls.

Try adding extra spices like cinnamon, ginger, chilli and salt to help take the flavour to the next level.

cacao drink

Make it creamy with milk of any type

If taking cacao neat isn’t for you, try it with milk. It’s a quick way to transform the flavour to that of a luscious milky hot chocolate or decadent chocolate milk.

We’re often asked the best type of milk to use for ceremonial cacao. The answer? Whatever milk tastes best to you. Keep in mind that cacao has a powerful flavour, so weak plant milks with no flavour may not shine in cacao. But we’ve found that coconut milk, oat milk, almond milk and cow’s milk all work well.


Don’t be afraid to sweeten it

There’s no need to force yourself to take ceremonial cacao unsweetened if it’s too bitter for you. Just add a sweetener of your choice. It’s best to add a little at a time to avoid making it too sweet. A natural sugar is always best as this works synergistically with the energy of the plant medicine.


Try tahini or cashew butter

For a truly decadent ceremonial cacao experience, try it with honey/maple syrup, milk/plant milk and a tablespoon of light tahini or cashew butter.

This creates a cacao drink that tastes like a dessert. It’s amazing! Just make sure you go for a light tahini instead of dark to minimise its bitterness.


use tahini for a creamy ceremonial cacao drink

Make it on the move with a jam jar

A little trick for making cacao when you’re away from home and you don’t have your trusty blender or whisk?

Simply add the cacao to an empty glass jar with a lid (like a jam jar). Fill with slightly cooled boiled water, but don’t fill it to the very top. Leave enough room to add milk and still have at least a centimetre to spare.

Place the lid on tightly and then shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Open the lid and release the pressure that will have built up. Stir with a spoon and then shake again for another 20 seconds.

Then add your sweetener and milk, and stir well.

You’ll end up with a cacao drink that’s silky smooth.


Now you know how to make a ceremonial cacao drink

Ready to put these top tips into action? You can get started with our range of cacao elixirs.

They’re made from organic, 100% Peruvian ceremonial-grade cacao. We’ve then enhanced them with potent medicinal plant extracts to help you achieve a specific state of mind - like feeling happier or clearing your mind.

This article was a guide to how to make a ceremonial cacao drink. 

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