Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Upriver Nitro Cacao?

A: Upriver Nitro Cacao is a line of plant-based, nitrogen-infused functional cacao beverages that energize and uplift the body and mind. We harness the power of cacao (theobromine, magnesium, antioxidants & neurotransmitters) so that you can enjoy your personal cacao ceremony anywhere and anytime you choose.

Q: What is a cacao ceremony?

A: Cacao ceremonies are a type of shamanic healing, but they don’t have hallucinogenic or “out of body” effects. Cacao ceremonies are rooted in helping to re-balance the energies within us. Many different cacao ceremonies exist today. Some will lead you on a journey of dance, while others will center around meditation and inner reflection. Oftentimes, cacao ceremonies will involve a group of people sitting in a sacred circle praying and setting intentions. Each person shares what they want to let go of and also what they would like to call into their hearts. The ceremony ends in dance allowing the cacao to activate within the heart and body and create transformation. In this way, cacao enables us to listen to our true self, work through blockages and past traumas, and integrate any hidden energy within, ultimately helping us align with who we truly are.

Q: Where did the name ‘Upriver’ come from?

A: Upriver was inspired by a legend told amongst cacaoteros along the coast of Ecuador. It’s said that a Swiss chocolatier traveled to the region in the 19th century in search of a hidden treasure. Navigating up the Guayas River one foggy morning, he came across a few natives hauling freshly harvested cacao. After asking if he could try some, he was blown away by the fruity floral aroma and flavor. “Where did you find this?!” he pleaded. They replied, “rio arriba,” or upriver.

Q: Where do you source your cacao from?

A: We partner with small cacao farmers in the coastal, upriver region of Ecuador who implement Biodynamic farming practices.

Q: What does Biodynamic mean?

A: Biodynamics is a form of regenerative agriculture. While conventional farming tends to leave the land worse than before and organic farming leaves it about the same, regenerative agriculture strives to improve the fertility of the land. The goal of Biodynamics is to improve biodiversity and abide by the rules of nature. Learn more here.  

Q: How is cacao pronounced?

A: Cacao’s phonetic spelling is /kəˈkɑːəʊ/. You can listen to a pronunciation here.

Q: What is the difference between cacao and cocoa?

A: Cacao is the bean that is harvested from the large football-shaped fruit pods of the trunk and limbs of the cacao tree. Cocoa is simply raw cacao that has been roasted at high temperatures.

Q: When is the best time to drink nitro cacao?

A: We recommend enjoying our drinks in the afternoon and even later in the day when you need an extra boost of energy that won’t interrupt your sleep later that night.

Q: How is cold brew cacao made?

A: Similar to cold brew coffee, cold brew cacao refers to the process of soaking coarsely ground cacao beans in room temperature water for an extended period of time, usually 12 hours or more. The combination of lower water temperature and an extended steeping period allows for cacao’s complex, subtle flavor notes to shine without the traditional bitterness that accompanies the darkest of chocolates.

Q: How much caffeine is in each nitro cacao drink?

A: Our drinks contain between 15-30mg of caffeine in each serving, which is similar to a green tea.

Q: What is theobromine?

A: Theobromine is a heart stimulant and an active ingredient in cacao.

Q: What are the health benefits of theobromine?

A: Theobromine has been shown to provide a myriad of health benefits. Some of those health benefits include reduced blood pressure, increased blood flow, improved artery function, lower levels of bad cholesterol, reduced insulin resistance, reduced inflammation, and protection against stroke and dementia. Theobromine also has shown promise as a replacement for fluoride as it is twice as effective at remineralizing cavities.

Q: What type of sweeteners do you use?

A: While our original flavor, Dark Wild, is unsweetened, our other flavors use organic maple syrup.

Q: Are your drinks vegan?

A: Yes! All of our products are vegan.

Q: Are your beverages perishable or shelf stable?

A: All of our beverages are perishable and require refrigeration.

Q: Why do you use sea salt?

A: Salt has been found to neutralize bitter flavors more effectively than even sugar. We also just love the flavor of dark chocolate and sea salt together.

Q: Where do you source your sea salt from?

A: Our sea salt is sourced from Australia and is certified authentic, Optically Clean® and organic compliant. First, it’s solar evaporated from salt ponds, made white by the sun and the sea. Then, it’s carefully crushed and screened to size. Finally, it’s run through our supplier’s proprietary Optically Clean® technology in their state-of-the-art facility. Every step of the process guarantees the purity of the salt, while protecting the unique characteristics of each grain. The sea salt we use is simple and pure and contains no additives, allergens, or anti-caking agents.