We started working with siblings Florencia and Federico Fridman in 2018 when we opened our first Soho pop-up. At the time, Hannah was sourcing a cacao partner whose mission aligned with that of Matchaful. New York-founded Cacao Lab honors tradition and celebrates the origins of a product at its highest quality—needless to say we became fast friends.
In 2016, Florencia traveled to Guatemala and participated in a personally transformational cacao ceremony. Soon after, she founded Cacao Lab with her brother to not only import ceremonial cacao from Guatemala and Ecuador but also to share knowledge about the deep connection between cacao, our spirits, and nature. Today, Federico is in charge of operations, while Florencia hosts cacao ceremonies (both online and in-person) and leads the educational offerings.
What is Ceremonial Cacao?
Cacao is a fruit native to MesoAmerica. Today it’s grown in tropical climates around the world. A cacao tree starts producing fruit after 4 to 5 years, and a mature tree only bears around 20 pods, making traditional cacao farming a slow and small-scale practice. Cacao itself is made from fruit seeds that are fermented and then ground into a paste.
Ceremonial Cacao is grown from heirloom seeds that are 99% genetically different from their commercial counterparts. Furthermore, ceremonial cacao is minimally processed, keeping the healthy fats and valuable nutrients intact. Beyond genetics and production, the ‘ceremonial’ classification relates to an energetic state that reflects the proper respect shown to cacao as a plant with wisdom and power. Further, ‘ceremonial’ represents the:
- Care and intention that accompany cacao from seed to cup
- Love and ritual that endow cacao with a sacredness one can imbibe
- Role of indigenous traditions as guardians and guides of cacao
“The integration of indigenous cultures into the modern world has sparked global curiosity around ancient practices. Cacao ceremonies are making their way into yoga studios, conscious co-working spaces, and even sober dance parties. Although this greatly benefits us in modern cities, we need to become aware of our impact in the other direction. With the opportunity to connect to the people responsible for keeping these sacred practices alive, we become more cognoscente of how we affect others through cultural appropriation, pollution and the unintentional degradation of practices from marginalized people. With clearer insight we can make choices that allow us to give back with appreciation and respect.”
- Florencia & Federico
Cacao and Matcha
Combining cacao and matcha means combining their unique benefits and crafting items that are energizing and encourage deep introspection. Florencia says “cacao opens the heart and fills you with a deep love towards others; drinking or eating cacao fosters a desire to be kind.” At Matchaful, you can experience these qualities in our fan-favorite Cacao Dream matcha latte and the newly added, sugar-free and keto-friendly Pots de Cacao from our spring menu.
This week, we’re featuring our friends from Cacao Lab on our Instagram page, @matchaful. If you’re in New York, stop by one of our cafés to enjoy a ceremonial cacao drink or snack.