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Does Cacao Have Caffeine?


I get asked quite a lot by people wanting to join a cacao ceremonies: "Does cacao have caffeine?".


The answer is yes, cacao does have caffeine in it, but it is less than the amount of caffeine you will find in a cup of coffee or a dark chocolate bar. The theobromine in cacao may also contribute to boosting your energy.


But how much caffeine is in cacao? According to the USDA, cacao has 12.4 milligrams of caffeine per tablespoon in powder form. A tablespoon of cacao nibs is estimated to have the same caffeine as the powder per teaspoon. While this is not a significant amount of caffeine compared to many other products, caffeine-sensitive individuals may want to keep this in mind.


How does cacao compare to coffee?

So we know that cacao has caffeine, but how does this stack up to a cup of coffee? Cacao falls far below the amount of caffeine in coffee.


One tablespoon of cacao powder has about 12.4 milligrams of caffeine, while an eight-ounce cup of drip coffee is estimated to have anywhere from 70 milligrams to 120 milligrams of caffeine.

Unless you consume excessive amounts of cacao daily, the amount of caffeine will not come close to coffee.


While theobromine & caffeine have some things in common, cacao compared to coffee is:

  • More focused on the heart (compared to the central nervous system)

  • More grounded and less jittery feeling

  • A superfood source of nutrients & essential minerals

  • Around 50% by weight healthy fats, which helps the body integrate the stimulating effects

Cacao does contain both caffeine & theobromine. However, the amount of theobromine is 5-10 higher than the caffeine, making it the primary psychoactive compound in cacao.

  • The caffeine content in cacao ranges from about 0.1 - 0.3 % by weight

  • A cacao drink containing 1-ounce of pure cacao has around 60mg of caffeine, which is close to a strong cup of black tea (avg. 47 mg caffeine), and only about 2/3's the amount in an 8-ounce cup of coffee (95mg caffeine)

  • The theobromine content in cacao ranges from about 1-2% by weight, so a cacao drink with 1-ounce of pure cacao has around 450mg theobromine

It's important to remember in 100% pure ceremonial grade cacao, nothing is added or removed

To begin with, it's 100% pure. There is nothing removed from the whole cacao beans, and nothing added back in. 100% pure cacao has the right balance of nutrients & compounds that make it the medicine it is in ceremony as well as a superfood!


When you use single-origin ceremonial cacao, you'll notice a wide range of flavor profiles and energetic experiences. This is because ceremonial cacao is all about optimizing a particular small batch of cacao, from fermentation through roasting. Having single-origin cacao means we can focus on each batch, instead of having wide generalizations that produce a homogenous end product. It's easier to connect with the cacao when the origin comes through more clearly, and this is only possible when it's from one origin that has expertise in handling their own unique situation.


Within an our cacao ceremonies there is no pressure to drink all the cacao, you are welcome to follow your intuition and drink the amount you wish. We also welcome people whom don't wish to drink cacao, but want to experience the sacred circle and ceremony, simply let us know beforehand and we'll prepare a special herbal tea for you to enjoy.


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