Cacao Hot Chocolate Recipe

There’s nothing quite like a warming cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter day. It may seem like an indulgence, but the chilly day treat actually has a whole host of health benefits, especially if you are using our cacao powder from our Dust collection.

Organic Merchant Dust Canister collection
close up of brass spoon with cacao powder


Cacao Vs Cocoa: What’s the difference?

Chocolate is made from cacao beans from the Theobroma cacao tree. This plant produces large, pod-like fruits, each containing 20–60 beans surrounded by a sticky, sweet-tart white pulp. The contents of the beans provide the basis for chocolate products.

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Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve tried to include some of the most asked questions about our cacao products below. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

General Cacao Information

What is cacao powder?

Chocolate is made from cacao beans from the Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao is the name given to the raw, unroasted and unprocessed powder from cacao beans.

Are cacao and cocoa the same?

Cacao is different to Cocoa firstly in taste and also in the way it is processed as well as having less calorie, fat and sugar content. Cacao products are excellent sources of several minerals, including selenium, magnesium, chromium and manganese.

Can cacao powder go bad?

Yes it can but it generally takes well sealed cacao powder 10 more more years to start going off. The best before date on our Dust Collection is up to 24 months.

How is cacao powder made?

Cacao generally refers to any of the food products derived from the cacao bean that have remained ‘raw’. These products include cacao nibs, cacao butter, cacao mass or paste, but most commonly cacao powder. Raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans, this process retains the living enzymes and removes the fat (cacao butter).

What is ceremonial cacao

Ceremonical cacao generally has the cacao butter content still intact and comes in a paste form. It is made by fermenting and lightly toasting the beans, then peeling the husks and stone-grinding them down to create a paste which is set into a block — nothing added, nothing removed. The bean’s fat remains intact.

How do I prepare my cacao drink?

We recommend using 1-2 teaspoons of Organic Merchant’s Cacao powder to a little bit of hot water to make a paste, then adding 1 cup of milk and stirring vigourously. For a creamier drink add 2-3 teaspoons straight into the milk.

Can I use these cacao powders in baking?

Yes. You can replace any recipe that includes cocao powder with cacao just remember it may need a little natural sweetener like honey.

Health Benefits of Cacao

Is cacao good for you?

Cacao powder is known to have a higher antioxidant content than cocoa, and cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume, which means it is raw and much less processed than cocoa powder or chocolate bars. Cacao is thought to be the highest source of antioxidants of all foods and the highest source of magnesium of all foods.

Does cacao contain caffeine?

All cacao beans contain some amount of naturally occurring caffeine however the amount is slightly less than coffee. Cacao Powder = 6.6mg of caffeine per 1 teaspoon of powder.

Can I drink cacao when pregnant or breastfeeding?

There is evidence to say that drinking cacao is beneficial for pregnant women because of the high vitamin and mineral content. We recommend checking with your health care professional beforehand as our Cacao blends include other herbs that could interfere with medication and pregnancy.

What is cacao good for? What are the health benefits?

Cacao is known as a superfood because of its excellent source of monounsaturated fats, cholesterol-free saturated fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre, natural carbohydrates, and protein.

Why is cacao a superfood?

Cacao contains more antioxidants per gram than blueberries, goji berries, red wine, raisins, prunes and even pomegranates. It can trigger three neurotransmitters that are associated with elevating mood and mental well being: serotonin, dopamine, phenylethylamine. Raw cacao also retains high levels of flavonoids, which have been shown to boost heart health by reducing cholesterol levels, insulin resistance and blood pressure.

Cacao & Sustainability

Where does cacao come from?

Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) is a tropical tree crop originating from the Amazon basin. Cacao trees grow in a limited geographical zone, of about 20° to the north and south of the Equator.

Is your cacao organic?

Our organic cacao powder if certified organic. It has no GMO. No added sugar or preservatives.

Where do cacao trees grow?

Today, cocoa is produced in countries between 10 degrees North and 10 degrees South of the Equator. The largest producers are Cote-d’voire, Ghana and Indonesia.

How are cacao beans processed?

After the raw cacao has been harvested and sorted, it then begins the fermentation phase. This phase can take up to 6 days and the beans are covered with banana leaves with no gaps for air to come in to ensure the beans are not oxidised. They are turned every 24 hours during this time. While the fermentation is happening, the pulp will drip off the beans. After the lengthy fermentation process, the beans are ready to be dried. Cacao is dried in wooden boxes/pallets and similar to coffee, the beans need to be turned to ensure they dry evenly. After the drying stage, cacao beans are aged for up to 75 days and then ground into a fine powder.

Is your packaging recyclable?

Our cacao powder is packed into plant-based cello bags that are home compostable. We then put them into recycled cardboard canisters for better home storage. These can be put into your recycling.