Our Sacred Process
From our cacao farm to your table
For the Maya Moon team in Guatemala, working with cacao is a sacred process and a labor of love. Through our work we honor our ancestors, making 100% organic cacao with our hearts open with love. Through our love you can experience the heart-opening magic of Maya Moon Cacao. Your order of 100% pure, fair trade ceremonial cacao provides a dignified living wage to our farmers in Alta Verapaz and our team of Mayan mothers and handicapped youth in San Marcos La Laguna. Learn more below about how we take the cacao from our farm to your table.
At the cacao farm in Alta Verapaz
Our cacao comes from the Lachua farm in the Alta Verapaz region in the remote mountains of Guatemala, where our farmer brothers grow and harvest the cacao beans for Maya Moon Cacao.
Our cacao is fair-trade sourced exclusively from the Lachua farm, which carries on the traditional processes of our ancestors.
Once the cacao fruit is ripened on the tree, we wait while it matures for 45-60 days. On the day of harvest, the sweet white cacao seeds inside the fruit are extracted.
Next, the cacao beans are fermented for 6-8 days in special wooden crates that are lined and covered with platano leaves and turned daily. The fermentation process is critical to develop natural sugars that provide the cacao with its rich taste. Fermentation is much more of an art than a science!
After fermentation the cacao beans are sun-dried on broad wooden trays for 7-9 days. The drying process is key in developing the cacao's rich chocolate aroma and flavor.
The beans arrive in San Marcos La Laguna
After drying, the beans are shipped by truck in large bags called "costales" to San Marcos La Laguna on the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan in the western highlands of Guatemala. The Maya Moon team receives and stores the beans in San Marcos for further hand-crafting.
In San Marcos, the beans are first roasted in small batches in a special oven at a carefully-controlled temperature to prepare the beans for shelling. Our team of Mayan mothers then carefully hand-shells each bean to separate the husk from the seed of the cacao bean. Shelling by hand requires a lot of work but is well worth the efforts - it ensures that all husks are thoroughly removed so that what remains is pure cacao seed for producing pure ceremonial-grade cacao.
Grinding the beans produces cacao paste
Next, the team grinds the cacao beans are crushed in a traditional Guatemalan corn grinder called a "molino." The grinding process delivers a pure cacao paste that is perfect as-is, with no need to add water or anything at all. It is pure ceremonial cacao paste, ready to be molded into shape for delivery to your doorstep.
Molding and cooling the cacao paste
Next, the pure cacao paste is carefully weighed and poured into simple molds. Each mold is cooled in a refrigerator to solidify the pure cacao paste and creates a one-pound block of solid cacao. The cacao blocks can be delivered as blocks or can be hand-grated into fresh-ground cacao. Compared to the cheap, mass-cacao techniques that require dehydration, our hand-grating process yields fresh-ground cacao that is fresh and flavorful. Maya Moon Cacao is 100% pure ceremonial cacao!
Ceremonial cacao to your table
We offer five presentations to meet your needs: an individually-wrapped one-pound block of solid cacao, and several sizes of fresh-ground cacao in sealed packets. All of our packaging is sustainable, recyclable and reusable.
Maya Moon Cacao is pure, fresh, ceremonial-grade cacao. And your order of 100% pure, fair trade ceremonial cacao provides a dignified living wage to our farmers in Alta Verapaz and our team of Mayan mothers and handicapped youth in San Marcos La Laguna.
If you want to know more about Maya Moon Cacao, just let us know!