It’s pretty well known that anything chocolate is the most popular dessert in the United States (the top 5 desserts all include chocolate, if you include #5 which is ice cream), but the main ingredient, cacao, has also become a popular health food over the past decade.
Chocolate and especially cacao are loaded with antioxidants that help prevent cell damage as well as magnesium, one of the biggest and most important minerals that most people are deficient in.
When it comes to cacao there are tons of brands on the market, but in my experience so far one stands above the rest: Joyfuel Cacao, which is made from a rare type of bean with a unique flavor.
Criollo Cacao Beans in Joyfuel Cacao
A few years back I had the opportunity to try a sample of Joyfuel cacao for review purposes, and I came away immediately impressed by its rich and authentic flavor compared with other cacao brands.
I had recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica where I had the opportunity to enjoy some authentic, fresh cacao direct from the (massive) bean itself. The doughy mounds of cacao I shaped into handmade chocolate bars became my newest, most favorite health food obsession.
I felt things I’d never felt before from that chocolate bar: the healthy buzz and energy of coffee mixed with the simultaneously relaxing and exciting taste of chocolate.
Since then I’ve been looking for the best quality cacao, and while I haven’t found anything as good as what I had fresh in Costa Rica, the closest I’ve found is Joyfuel.
The company makes their cacao from the beans of the Criollo variety, which accounts for just 5-15% of the world’s cacao production overall.
This variety has a longer and narrower pod with lighter to white beans, and produces a richer and more complex flavor than most types of cacao you’ll find on health food store shelves. It also tends to be especially high in magnesium and antioxidants.
Overall I enjoyed Joyfuel cacao tremendously because of its rich taste and the way it made me feel. I didn’t get the “buzz” I got from the fresh Costa Rican cacao but I did get the relaxation effects along with extra energy and all the health benefits of this rare and highly beneficial form of cacao.
Cacao in general is much more bitter than regular chocolate, so you may want to try mixing it with raw organic honey, stevia, or other healthy sweeteners.
I like to whip up a rich and creamy “hot cacao” in the morning with a couple spoonfuls of Kerrygold butter, some type of coconut oil such as Brain Octane Oil from Bulletproof or other XCT-style oils (for energy, a metabolism boost and improved brain function), and perhaps a couple drops of organic stevia or a little bit of raw honey.
Joyfuel cacao also goes great in dessert recipes, smoothies, and much more. Organic, fair trade, non-GMO, and the brand can be purchased on Amazon.com where it had 413 reviews at the time this article was published, with the vast majority of them (87%) five stars in ranking.
“This is one of the richest organic dark cocoa powders I believe on the market,” said one reviewer, Budgee, in Febryary 2017 on Amazon.
“It’s so yummy, I use it to flavor my morning coffee. It’s so awesome to bake with too. We make a lot of scratch brownies and there is no comparison to the Dark Hershey’s we have always used,” the reviewer continues. “I will continue to buy this and recommend it.”
Another customer, Sophie, had the following to say:
“As for this brand in particular, I am extremely happy. In addition to the taste being good and fresh (I made a killer mostly-raw peanut butter chocolate bar), Joyfuel sent me a set of original recipes developed by friends of the company. I got great ideas for whole food chocolate puddings, shakes, and bars..”
“It is a solid 5-star product together with the seller’s attention to my product experience.”
The recipe ideas mentioned above are part of an ebook included with Joyfuel called ‘Raw Cacao Revolution: Healthy Recipes for Your Joyfuel Fix.’
The recipes are adapted from an Amazon Kindle ebook I co-authored with Salome Torres, ‘Raw Chocolate Revolution: Healthy Recipes For Your Chocolate Fix.’
Special thanks to the company for providing the sample, meeting with me to discuss their product here in Detroit, and teaching me about Criollo cacao beans.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the chocolate, folks!