Why cacao is the new coffee

Why cacao is the new coffee

Why Cacao Is The New Coffee

Coffee can feel like a life-saver when you wake up from a rough night's sleep or struggle to get through a mountain of work. It gives you an instant energy boost, allowing you to tackle whatever your day brings… until you start to crash.

Aside from the well-known energy slump after drinking coffee, this high-caffeine beverage can become addictive, give you the jitters, and heighten feelings of anxiety. If you've ever experienced this, you might wonder if there is an effective coffee alternative.

You'll be pleased to hear that cacao can give you the boost you need to get through the day while sustaining your energy levels. It also contains many other health benefits, making it an all-round better choice. So let's explore why cacao is the new coffee.

4 reasons to replace coffee with cacao

1. Cacao is high in the natural stimulant Theobromine

Cacao can be just as energising as coffee but in a dissimilar way as it contains a different natural stimulant. While coffee contains caffeine, cacao is high in the alkaloid theobromine. 

Both caffeine and theobromine are Methylxanthines. However, the main difference is that theobromine affects the cardiovascular system, whereas caffeine affects the nervous system. This is why some people get jittery from drinking coffee but not from drinking cacao. Theobromine is a more grounded energy source than caffeine and without the unwanted side effects like headaches.

Theobromine is what gives cacao and dark chocolate that bitter taste. Aside from boosting your energy, studies have shown that theobromine can help with asthma and other respiratory tract problems, partly due to the stimulant's anti-inflammatory properties. 

2. Cacao gives a steady energy boost without the crash 

Nibbed cacao energy theobromine

Coffee is known for its sudden and intense energy boost. Cacao, on the other hand, increases your energy in a gentler and more sustained way. This is because cacao is very low in caffeine, but high in theobromine. So you might not feel instantly energised when you drink cacao, but you'll notice your energy levels are much more stable during the day.

We've tested our cacao beans, and they have less than 0.22% caffeine, which is even less than a decaf coffee. So even if you are very sensitive to caffeine, you won't experience an energy peak and crash with cacao. 

3. Cacao boosts cognitive function, increasing focus and alertness

nibbed cacao cognitive function focus

PEA (phenylethylamine) is a compound found naturally in cacao. PEA signals the brain to become more alert, increasing focus and concentration and boosting memory. It also speeds up metabolism and releases dopamine, the 'feel-good neurotransmitter' that elevates our mood.

A 2017 study on Enhancing Human Cognition with Cocoa Flavonoids found that cacao effectively sustains cognitive performance and improves attention, processing speed, memory, and more.

Therefore, cacao's brain-boosting advantages make it an excellent coffee alternative for studying and working. With cacao, you can enjoy the same enhanced focus and concentration of drinking coffee, but you don't have to deal with the fatigue that comes after the energy crash. 

4. Cacao has a long history as a mood and energy enhancer

nibbed cacao good mood

Cacao was famously introduced in Europe by Christopher Columbus in 1502. Shortly after this discovery, Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes described chocolate as "the divine drink which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food."

Still, well before cacao arrived in the western world, indigenous cultures in Mexico, Central and South America enjoyed its health benefits. The Aztecs and Mayans drank it in a similar way to how we enjoy our hot cacao drinks. They also would drink it as part of a celebratory event or ceremony, a shamanic healing ritual. It is believed cacao was chosen to be a ceremonial drink because of the mood-boosting and heart-opening sensation it gives.

What is healthier, coffee or cacao?

cacao versus coffee

Aside from giving a gentler energy boost without the jittery effects and crashes, cacao is significantly healthier than coffee, possessing more nutritional benefits.

  • It is a high (and plant-based) source of iron, which is essential for helping many vital functions, including gastrointestinal processes and maintaining focus and energy levels
  • One cup of cacao contains roughly 420 mg of magnesium, which helps calm the nervous system and moderate the release of stress hormones.
  • It is a high source of fibre, helping with healthy bowel movements. Our Cacao beans contain 34% fibre
  • Cacao beans are one of the richest sources of antioxidants, which protect your cells against free radicals. Antioxidants may reduce the chance of developing heart disease, cancer and other diseases

It's also worth noting that while coffee can give us a much-needed energy boost, drinking it in excess can cause some people some unpleasant symptoms. These include headaches, irritability, anxiety and addiction. So if you notice symptoms like these, you could consider switching your 2nd or 3rd cup of coffee to cacao instead. 

How to make cacao

pure cacao block chopping board

Making cacao is just as easy and quick as making a brew. Plus, like coffee, you can drink cacao hot or cold, making it a beverage for all seasons. 

We recommend making hot cacao with a mix of water and plant-based milk, but it's still tasty if you use only water, which will make it keto too! Simply add cacao to the milk/water in a pot, add spices and sweetener, heat until melted and then whizz in a blender.

Iced cacao requires the same ingredients, plus ice, and you can do it with or without a blender.

So, if you worry about consuming too much caffeine or have noticed unpleasant symptoms from drinking coffee, why not switch your morning drink to cacao instead?

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