Longing for a gentler pick-me-up? Cacao naturally contains a modest amount of caffeine, as well as caffeine's gentler cousin, theobromine. They work together to provide a steadier energy without the crash.
Cacao combines the magic of flavanols and theobromine to literally open your heart and blood vessels and improve circulation. Circulation is necessary for both nourishment and detoxification of your body. Better circulation has been shown to improve focus, mood and memory, while also lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
This so called "love drug" is why people find chocolate, and cacao, to be such a romantic, euphoric treat. It causes your pulse to quicken while also stimulating the production of endorphins, your brain's 'feel-good' hormones.
Serotonin is known to be a natural anti-depressant. One of the chemicals that causes the release of serotonin, tryptophan, happens to be found in cacao.
Popularly known as the "the bliss molecule," anandamide activates a receptor in your brain causing the release of dopamine, a hormone closely associated with pleasure and arousal. Aside from contributing to increased levels of anandamide, cacao contains two additional chemicals that work to slow its breakdown, ultimately extending this natural feeling of pleasure and elation.
Similar to the Bordeaux region of France and its famous wine, 'Arriba' refers to a famous coastal region of Ecuador situated between the Andes Mountains and Pacific Ocean. The cacao grown here is widely considered to be some of the finest in all of the world and is renowned for its full taste and complex fruity, floral notes.
The Legend of Upriver Cacao
How did the 'Arriba' region get its name you ask? In the early 19th century, a Swiss chocolatier traveled to Ecuador in search of a hidden treasure. One foggy morning, while navigating up the Guayas River, he spotted a few natives hauling freshly harvested cacao pods on their backs. The wild cacao's complex fruity, floral aroma captivated him. When he asked them where they had found it, they replied, "rio arriba," or upriver.
"That’s why I found it strange ... she turned to cacao for her early morning pick-me-up. Not coffee. Cacao."
— Our Cacao Love Story
Our Cacao Love Story
Ecuador holds a special place in our hearts. It’s a mysterious country. The size of Colorado. It has everything. Rich coasts. Towering volcanos. Exotic islands. Seductive rainforests. It was in Ecuador that we fell in love. My wife, Claudia, actually grew up in neighboring Colombia. A few years ago, a coffee grower and neighbor to one of her relatives entered his coffee beans into the national coffee competition and won ‘Best Tasting Coffee in Colombia’. Best of the best. That’s why I found it strange when Claudia explained to me that when she was growing up she turned to cacao for her early morning pick-me-up. Not coffee. Cacao.