Cacao FAQ - Become an expert
We want you to be well.
Cacao is called a superfood and used by some even as a medicine dating all the way back to Mesoamerica. It's filled with flavonoids, which are antioxidant compounds that are said to protect against cell damage caused by free radicals, and can help reduce inflammation in the body.*
Who makes the chocolate at Sonhab?
There’s two of us listening to the Grateful Dead and staying up in the wee hours making every bar of chocolate together. Kristen founded Sonhab as an experiment in passion.
Through working together Kristen and Cody partner in creative direction, making chocolate, recording music, developing inspiring flavor combinations, and running the day to day business operations.
What are the potiential the health benefits of chocolate?
︎ Antioxidants: Chocolates have a higher flavonoid content by weight than any other food. Raw Organic Cacao has over 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and reduce damage from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress refers to the damage that excessive amounts of free radicals can inflict on cells and tissues in the body. Oxidative stress contributes to the natural aging process, which is why you often see high antioxidant foods being promoted for beauty/anti aging.
︎ Serotonin, Dopamine, and Phenylethalmine: There are three key ingredients here- tyrosine (precursor to dopamine,) tryptophan (precursor to serotonin,) and Phenylethalmine. These chemicals are responsible for mood regulation. These act on the emotional center of the brain (limbic system), and may be responsible for the feelings of euphoria that humans feel when they experience new love. Cacao circles all over the world have been using it to open the heart, and some nightclubs even promote cacao as a natural high with cacao dance nights.
︎ Anandamide: The word “anandamide” originates from the sanskrit “ananda,” which roughly translates to “bliss” or “joy.”
︎ Iron: Cacao is the highest plant-based source of iron known at 7.3mg per 100g. This compares to beef and lamb at 2.5mg, and spinach at 3.6mg.
︎ Magnesium: Cacoa is also one of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium - the most commonly deficient mineral in Western diets. Magnesium is important for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Magnesium also relaxes the body.
︎ No Refined Sugar: We use coconut sugar that is chemically untreated, unrefined, and organic. Coconut sugar has a low glycemic index and prevents you from getting a sugar hangover or spiking cravings in the way that refined sugar does. Coconut sugar has a glycemic index of 35. (For comparison, refined table sugar’s glycemic index ranges from 60 to 75).
What are adaptogens?
You may have already heard of adaptogens as their use has become more widespread in the past few years. For their adaptogenic effects we use mushrooms, herbs/roots like ashwagandha, maca, as well as exotic berries.
Adaptogens *are said to* help you to avert stress reactions in your body*, reduce inflammation*, boost your energy*, calm your nerves*, and help your body adapt to stressful environments*. Adaptogens are traditional wellness tools ~ plant medicine and have been used for thousands of years across the world. We offer chocolate with and without adaptogens.
*While this information has been taken from scientific and/or medical studies and ancient wisdom, Sonhab not claim to heal or cure any diseases or provide any medical health benefits. We only claim to have delicious chocolate.
What does bean to bar mean? How is your chocolate made?
It takes us a week of labor to turn raw cacao beans into a microbatch of handcrafted chocolate. We trace each cacao bean origin back to the farm. Each cacao bean origin tastes very different.
Steps to turn raw cacao beans into bean to bar chocolate:
1. Cacao begins in the plant world in pods on trees.
2. The cacao pods are harvested and the raw cacao beans are fermented and dried.
3. We handsort our beans, taste them raw, and develop a flavor profile. Cody is our roaster.
4. He roasts each batch.
5. We then crush and winnow the beans which is a very labor intensive process.
6. The cacao then goes into a stone grind melanger machine. The cacao is refined and coconut sugar is added. This refining process goes on for days.
7. The chocolate is conched, exposed to air and further refinement. This develops the flavors further and rounds out any acidity. We also do particle testing to ensure it will melt in your mouth.
8. Tempering - aligning the crystal structures in chocolate to ensure it has a smooth snap and shine. This is the most challenging part and most chocolate makers use fillers and stabalizers to accomplish this. We use love and patience.
10. Hand wrapping every bar
Why does sourcing matter?
Chocolate’s (often) troublesome origin
Farming cacao is hard work and requires great skill and knowledge. The farmers analyze the terrior of their environment, understanding how it will alter their flavor. They harvest the cacao pods, ferment the beans, and dry them. Every step of the way it can alter the flavor of the bean.
Chocolate is known to be tied to human trafficking, child slavery, pesticides, and severe deforestation. We source our beans from a small company who does transparent direct trade with farmers. We pay more for our cacao beans and know where they come from. The company we work with focuses on producers that value the environment and work to maintain the biodiversity of their land while keeping their workers healthy and safe.
Every bar includes an insert discussing how that specific origin of cacao was grown, the terroir of the environment, and information about the farm or fementary that worked on it. Good chocolate starts on the farm and it’s important to us that we highlight this work.
We have opened up our cacao supply chain for audit and were awarded the Pono Certification for using 100% child slave labor free cacao in our bars.
As part of the chocolate making process, we create food waste with cacao husk and mulch. This can be great for gardening. We are partnering with local community food gardens to donate our mulch. Our food waste is going back into the earth to create more food.
We do process nuts and dairy in our facility - although we very rarely work with dairy- actually only once in December 2020. We work hard to ensure our products are almost always soy and refined sugar free and we strive to find the highest quality ingredients (such as organic, thoughtfully sourced, and non-GMO). Our kitchen is a gluten free space and the oats we use for oat milk chocolates are gluten free oats.
Where can we buy your cacao?
︎CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE ︎
︎CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE ︎
Do you do wholesale?
We’re a small team that handcrafts our products. We are slowly adding new stockists who have an appreciation for thoughtfully sourced and intentional products.