Our USDA-certified organic and raw hand-peeled cacao beans are ready to eat. Sourced from Ecuador and/or Peru, these peeled cacao beans are the Arriba Nacionale variety. These low-temperature dried cacao beans have their thin outer peel removed, so you can enjoy them immediately.
16 oz in resealable packaging.
We also offer these hand-peeled cacao beans in 10 lb bulk packaging, found here.
Many people consider eating chocolate a “guilty pleasure.” But the reputation of chocolate as a junk food should more accurately be attributed to the harmful effects of commercial processing and refining techniques, and the other ingredients commonly added, most notably white sugar. All chocolate is made from the cacao (cocoa) bean, and cacao beans in their natural, unprocessed, unadulterated state are rich in nutrients and beneficial to health.
The raw beans are actually the seeds from the cacao pod. They're protected by a paper-thin shell, which has been removed.
Excellent with lucuma, vanilla powder, agave nectar, yacon syrup and coconut oil.
Antioxidants: Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea. Health benefits of these antioxidants include:
Neurotransmitters: By increasing the levels of specific neurotransmitters in our brains, cacao promotes positive outlook, facilitates rejuvenation and simply helps us feel good.
Essential Minerals: Cacao beans are rich in a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese.
Essential fats: There is a misperception that chocolate is fattening. In truth, the fats in cocoa butter are healthy fats. Cacao contains oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, also found in olive oil, that may raise good cholesterol. Also, substances found in cacao are known to help reduce appetite.
Important note: To fully benefit from chocolate’s wide array of nutrients, eat chocolate that is as close to its natural state as possible. Whole cacao beans and nibs are best. You lose many of the health benefits when you eat commercially produced chocolate.
The cacao tree has been cultivated in Mexico and Central and South America for thousands of years, and it has been so highly valued that some Native peoples once used its seed, or bean, as currency. The Aztecs believed cacao to be of divine origin, and both they and the Mayans used the roasted bean in the famous beverage Chocolatl, together with vanilla and other flavorings.
In the early 16th century, Columbus brought sacks of cacao back to Europe, but he did not realize its economic value. Then, in 1519, Cortez brought cacao back to Spain, and it was soon made into a luxury drink for the upper classes. By the 17th and early 18th centuries, chocolate was considered a cure for many illnesses, as well as a catalyst for provoking passion, although it was still too expensive for the general populace. Finally, in the 18th century, chocolate houses were established in London, making chocolate available to a broader spectrum of society, and their popularity quickly surpassed that of the coffee houses.
Today cacao is planted on over 43,000 square miles worldwide. Forty percent of production is from Cote d’Ivoire, while Ghana and Indonesia produce about 15% each, and Brazil, Nigeria, and Cameroon provide smaller quantities.
Cacao beans are harvested today in much the same way as they were by the Aztecs. After the pods ripen, which takes 5 to 6 months, they are removed from the tree and carefully cut open with a machete, and the cacao beans are extracted.
After harvesting, the beans are placed on banana leaves in large wooden boxes and left to ferment for several days. During fermentation, complex chemical changes take place. The bitterness of the bean is reduced and the rich chocolate flavor begins to develop. The beans are dried after fermentation, and during this drying process, the brown color develops and further flavor development occurs.
There are three main cultivar groups of cacao beans grown today:
Many types of chocolate are made from the cacao bean:
If you are using whole beans, simply crunch them between your fingers to loosen and remove the peel. You can use the beans whole or grind them in a spice mill/coffee grinder or food processor. Then add them to smoothies, teas, desserts, raw food bars or any dish that calls for the delicious flavor of chocolate. They are especially good when used in recipes with our vanilla beans. Here are some more detailed suggestions for enjoying the exquisite flavor of cacao:
1. Try eating them straight, a tablespoon at a time. Chew thoroughly and experience the taste extravaganza of raw (or roasted) chocolate.
2. Sprinkle on yogurt, granola, desserts, etc.
3. Make a delicious chocolate shake with dairy or nut milk, coconut oil, a frozen banana, agave nectar, and cacao beans.
4. Add agave nectar, yacon sweetener, or honey to the raw cacao nibs and chew!
5. Freeze cacao nibs with sweeteners (agave nectar or honey is fantastic). Eat cold.
6. Blend powdered cacao into herbal teas with the Peruvian superfood maca.
7. Add cacao nibs to ice creams for the healthiest chocolate chip ice cream in the world.
8. Create a raw chocolate bar! Blend the following raw ingredients together: cacao, agave nectar, carob powder, maca, coconut oil, and cashews. Pour into a mold and freeze. Eat cold and experience the truth about the food of the gods!
9. Grind whole beans or nibs into a powder and combine with coconut oil to make a chocolate sauce. Use in cookies, brownies or other raw or baked desserts.
10. If you have a Champion juicer, you can make unsweetened baker’s chocolate by running the nibs or unpeeled whole beans through it. To make a “liquor” run the powder through the Champion several more times until it separates into powder and liquid.
11. Make a scrumptious chocolate nut fudge. In a food processor or blender, start with your favorite nut (cashews or almonds are particularly good) and add coconut oil, agave nectar or honey, coconut flakes, cacao beans, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.
Cacao beans keep well in cool, dry conditions.