NUTRITION & SCIENCE

Cacao Mama, Cacao Meditation, Raw Cacao Beans, BigTreeFarms Bali, Ceremony, Berlin

“Western culture has fallen in love with this most amazing substance. Yet, for most of us, it has been a blind date all along. After all, what is chocolate? Where does it come from? The key to chocolate’s super qualities seems to be eating it in its raw, natural state as a cacao bean! When cacao beans are excessively heated, melted, processed, chemicalised and added to dairy products, they lose key nutrient qualities of texture, psychoactive properties, brain nutrition & more. Other properties of the cacao bean are still present yet diminished by cooking, such as dark chocolate flavours, antioxidants, aphrodisiac qualities, mood elevation and others.” - David Wolfe

Cacao Mama, Cacao Meditation, Raw Cacao, Ceremony, Berlin, Baby Cacao Tree

Cacao has the gift to give access to Mother Nature’s herbal pharmacy

acting as a catalyst for many herbs and plants.

 

  • Name - Theobroma cacao
  • Nickname - “Cacao, the food of the gods.”
  • Superfood Type - Nut
  • Colour - Red, orange, yellow, blue, or purple varieties 
  • Taste - Sweet, astringent, bitter
  • Parts that can be used - Pulp, seeds, shells, butter
  • Treasures - Yang jing, qui/qi, shen, blood
  • Atmospheric Energy - Subtly cooling (in excess … heating)
  • Organ Association - Heart, kidneys, spleen
  • Planetary Association - Sun— Center of the Sun
  • Specific Organ Effect Location - Sacred Heart
  • Cosmic lover - Vanilla
  • Geography - 20/20
  • The spirit/deva - Healing properties
  • Legend - The mythology surrounding cacao seems to always revolve around regaining the human heart connection to Mother Nature 

cacao tree plant botanical drawings cacao mama berlin
Dessin Christian Godard - Archives Larousse. Introduit à La Réunion en 1777

“The cocoa bean is a phenomenon, for nowhere else has nature concentrated such a wealth of valuable nourishment in so small a space.” — Alexander von Humboldt, German scientist

COMPLEX FOOD

Cacao is the most complex food on Earth. It contains a number of ingredients that have a positive effect on the mind and body. Raw Cacao is nature's most magical superfood due to its mineral content and nutrients, formed of some 600-1.200 individual chemical components. Like all superfoods, cacao blurs the line between food and medicine.

Cacao contains the highest concentration of antioxidants and magnesium of any food in the world. Raw Cacao is rich in zinc, chromium, theobromine, vitaminC, iron, copper, tryptophan, manganese,  omega-6 fatty acids, serotonin, and more. Cacao is a highly effective natural energy enhancer and is used with great popularity by raw foodists & superfood lovers. 

Cacao contains PEA, a chemical that we produce in our bodies when we fall in love. PEAs also play a role in increasing focus and alertness. Anandamide is an endorphin that the human body naturally produces after exercise. Anandamide is known as the bliss chemical as it is released while we are feeling joy. It has only been found in one plant - Cacao.


AVERAGE CACAO BEAN CHEMISTRY

per 100 grams:

456 calories

3.6 g H2O

12.0 g protein

46.3 g fat (typically 40 to 50 grams, but sometimes as low as 12 grams)

34.7 g total carbohydrate

8.6 g fiber

106 mg calcium

537 mg phosphorus

3.6 mg Fe (iron)

0.17-0.24 mg thiamine

0.14-0.41 mg riboflavin

 

*Credit David Wolfe Naked Chocolate


SOME OF THE KEY NUTRIENTS EXPLAINED

We look at some of the key nutrients such as magnesium, theobromine & caffeine, tryptophan, anandamide, phenylethylamine (PEA), antioxidants, serotonin and monoamine oxidase (MAO) in detail. Read the article Cacao - What's in it?


THEOBROMA  CACAO

The name Theobroma Cacao was given by the scientist Carl von Linnaeus in 1753. Theobroma Cacao is derived from the Greek for "food of the gods"; from θεός (theos), meaning "god," and βρῶμα (broma), meaning "food".

cacao botanical plant drawing cacao mama berlin
By Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A.)

Originally the cacao plant comes from Central & South America. However, it can be found spread along the whole equatorial belt. It grows within about 20 degrees of latitude north and south of the equator. This is called the 20/20 zone.

 

Cacao loves well drained soils with a high content of organic matter and grows best in the shade of larger trees. Each cacao tree delivers a specific composition of nutrients, depending on the soil, the climate and the trees that are neighbouring cacao. 21° C is the ideal temperature with constant high humidity. Cacao prefers to grow in the shade of larger trees such as coconut, banana, and avocado, which protect it from too much sun and wind. It goes along well with avocado trees, mango trees, bananas, coconut palms, coffee, pineapple trees and durian. Permaculture and diversity is naturally encouraged by cacao. 

 

The main growing area of cacao, especially for large-scale chocolate production, is now Western Africa. Historically, the shift of the main growing area from the Americas to West Africa coincides with the abolition of slavery. Since the slaves could no longer be brought from Africa to America, the cacao was brought to the areas of their homeland, to continue the production of cheap cacao for Europe under forced labour conditions. Read more in Global Market.

 


'Cocoa' is a British industrial name for cacao. The word describes the defatted, alkalized powder (the process called 'dutching' which was originally developed by a Dutchman). Cacao Mama works with the whole bean and therefore uses the term 'Cacao'.

THE CACAO TREE

wild cacao jungle bolivia
The wild cacao trees are usually taller than the cultivated ones, they reach up looking for sunlight © Baure
  • The (cultivated) tree grows 3-10m high, it branches very close to the ground and has dark green, avocado tree-like leaves.
  • The five-petalled flower of cacao grows directly from the trunk and is pollinated by a specific, very small species of insect (so far 6 are known).
  • From each fertilized flower grows a cacao fruit. The fruit is 18-20cm long and contains 20-50 almond-like seeds / beans.
  • As it begins to grow the sprout sends a tap root deep in the ground, whilst simultaneously growing upwards in stem.
  • In a good environment a young tree can bear fruits within three to five years. A mature cacao tree will produce about 50 fruits, which are harvested twice a year.
  • The fruits develop into red, orange, yellow, blue or purple varieties.
  • In five to six months a fruit pod ripens, containing 20-50 seeds, surrounded by a sweet pulp.
  • The bean has a dark brown-reddish to purple colour and can bear a resemblance in its appearance to organs such as a kidney, heart or sometimes a brain. Appropriately, it is these organs that are most addressed by cacao.
  • One fruit is sufficient to make 3-4 high quality dark chocolate bars.
  • Cacao absorbs the flavours of the surrounding plants. Cacao connoisseurs can sense the flavours of the other plants growing in its surrounding such as vanilla, tobacco, coffee, coconut.
  • A cacao tree in a natural environment can live up to 200 years, with only about 25 years bearing fruit. However, on plantations, especially in monoculture, the trees often live for no longer than seven years.
  • The Cacao tree on the left side is a wild Cacao that grows in remote areas of  the Bolivian Amazon. The tree grows much taller than a cultivated tree. These trees have not seen (m)any human beings for centuries, and date back to pre-Columbian times. The wild  flavor is a clear differentiation from the other cacao species, the taste is exceptional - Wild Cacao from Bolivia in the Cacao Mama Store

MAIN CACAO VARIETIES

‘Criollo’ in Spanish means someone or something originally from some place. ‘Forastero’ is from somewhere else.

"Classifying cacao as Criollo/Forastero/Trinitario was one of the great foundational linguistic screw-ups in the history of the New World, though rather short of Columbus calling the Arawak peoples he met Indians. - Steve Bergin, Conservation Cacao

  • There are about a dozen known varieties of Theobroma Cacao, however only four major species variations of Cacao are cultivated worldwide: Criollo = 5%, Forastero 80%, Trinitario 10-15% and Nacional >1%.  
  • Criollo (means 'native' in Spanish) is a sensitive strain, it is very susceptible to disease. Because of its mild, aromatic taste, this cacao variety is considered a "true premium cacao". The growth form is more delicate and the fruits much smaller than those of the Forastero.
  • The Forastero (means 'foreign' in Spanish) is the rough, hardy giant among the cacao plants. It is less susceptible to disease and is less demanding in terms of soil quality. Its flavor is much less pronounced and it is therefore not considered fine cacao. Forastero is the most consumed cacao, as it is used to make large-scale chocolate. 
  • A cross between Criollo & Forastero was bred in Trinidad. Trinidario is a mixture of the two, more robust than the Criollo and more aromatic than the Forastero.
  • Arriba Nacional is the most delicate species, cultivated almost exclusively in Ecuador. This cacao variety has a particularly intense aroma and is considered 'fine cacao'. 
  • Since all traditional cacao varieties are relatively sensitive and need very good climatic conditions and fertile soils, there are more and more attempts to grow even more robust cacao varieties. The hybrid CNN51 was created, which, however, doesn’t contain many constituents of the noble cacao and is therefore ceremonially unusable. In addition, it requires strong fertilizers, which causes lasting damage to the earth. 

THE CACAO FLOWER

Cacao Mama, Cacao Meditation, Raw Cacao, Ceremony, Berlin, Cacao Flower, Bali

A FRESH CACAO POD

cacao beans and pod sacred cacao ceremony cacao mama berlin
© Serap Kara

FLORAL DIAGRAM

The number 5 is the number that represents the inner symmetry number of the cacao plant, and is found throughout its physiology. The flowers of the cacao tree consist of five petals, the fruits form five chambers.

theobroma cacao floral diagram cacao mama berlin

Partial inflorescence of Theobroma cacao (after Ronse De Craene). Floral formula: ✶ K5 C5 A(5°+5²) G(5) 

RELATED TOPICS


Serap Kara for CACAO MAMA • © 2020 • made with stellar earth ❤ in Berlin • privacy policy