We are sure that you know what cacao is. If you've ever had a piece of chocolate you do know exactly what we are talking about. However in this introductory blog post we will share some facts about cacao: what is it and where it comes from. Welcome to our Maya Moon Cacao blog!

What is cacao?

Cacao is a tropical tree that produces cocoa beans, from which chocolate is made. The cacao tree grows in hot, humid climates and can reach up to 50 feet in height. 

Tree with cacao

The beans are found inside pods that grow on the trunk and branches of the tree. Each pod contains anywhere from 20 to 60 beans, which are surrounded by a sweet, fleshy pulp. The cacao beans are used to make chocolate as well as cocoa powder and other products. The beans are also sometimes eaten raw or roasted and have a slightly bitter taste.

Cacao has been cultivated for centuries and was believed to have originated in Central America. Today, it is grown in many countries around the world, including Ecuador, Brazil, and Ghana.

Where can you find cacao?

The cacao tree is native to the Americas, and its beans have been used for centuries to make chocolate. The tree grows best in hot, humid climates, and requires a lot of water to thrive.

The majority of the world's cacao beans are used to make chocolate, which is a popular sweet snack enjoyed by people of all ages. Chocolate is made by combining cacao beans with sugar and milk, and it can be flavoured with a variety of different ingredients. In recent years, there has been a growing demand for dark chocolate, which is made with a higher percentage of cacao. While some people view chocolate as a treat, others see it as an essential part of their diet. Regardless of how it is perceived, there is no denying that chocolate plays a significant role in our lives.  

 The origins of cacao

The exact origins of cacao are still a mystery, but archaeologists believe that it was first cultivated in the lowland rain forests of South America. Unlike most other crops, cacao does not grow well in cleared fields or at high altitudes. This suggests that it was first domesticated by hunter-gatherers who lived deep in the forest. Cacao was a valuable commodity in ancient Mesoamerica, and it was often used as a form of currency. The Maya and Aztec peoples worshiped a god of cacao, and royalty drank chocolate as a symbol of their power and status. Thanks to advances in transportation and processing, chocolate is now enjoyed by people all over the globe.

 Why is Guatemalan cacao so special? 

Guatemala is home to the best cacao in the world. The country's rich, volcanic soil and warm climate provide the perfect conditions for growing cacao trees. As a result, Guatemalan cacao beans are prized for their distinctive flavor and high quality. For that reason, many of the world's top chocolatiers source their cacao from Guatemala. If you're looking for a truly delicious chocolate experience, be sure to try chocolate made with Guatemalan cacao. You'll be glad you did!

Love cacao

Maya Moon Cacao beans are sourced directly from our farmers in Alta Verapaz in the highlands of Central Guatemala, where the fruits of the cacao trees are harvested and the beans extracted, fermented, and dried. The cacao beans are then ready for our team of Mayan mothers to work their loving magic! In our cacao home in San Marcos La Laguna on Lake Atitlan, our cacao beans are roasted, hand-peeled, and ground into a paste before being molded into the blocks of 100% pure cacao. The blocks can then be finely grated to create a form of cacao that will delight you with ease, convenience and delight! 

Enjoy the finest Guatemalan cacao in our shop.

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