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Frequently Asked Questions

About Crio Bru

Where does the name Crio Bru come from?

Crio Bru gets its name after the rarest and finest of cacao bean in the world, the Criollo bean.

How is it produced?

Crio Bru has painstakingly searched the earth to find the very best cacao beans for brewed cacao. Our premium cacao beans are carefully hand-selected and dried naturally by the sun to enhance the full-bodied chocolate flavor. Once the cacao beans are dried, we use our proprietary roasting method to roast our cacao beans to perfection. Once roasted, we use a special grinding method to carefully grind our beans to ensure your Crio Bru batch has the very best pure dark chocolate flavor. Our grounds are then packaged and sold to you.

How did you come up with this idea?

For thousands of years, Central and South American civilizations prepared a chocolaty drink called ka’kao – the drink of the Gods. Served to kings in golden cups, this cacao beverage was prized for its restorative and energizing properties. It was passed down from generation to generation until Cortes landed in the new world and the tradition was lost.

 Enter Crio Bru. Founded in 2010 by renowned chocolatier Eric Durtschi, Crio Bru crafted this ancient tradition into delicious natural/organic brewed cacao beverages.

Is there any caffeine?

Crio Bru Brewed Cacao is 99.9% caffeine free with 10 mg caffeine per 8 oz cup (similar to a cup of decaf coffee).

What is theobromine?

Theobromine is a natural, non-addictive stimulant found in cacao that gives you long lasting energy without the jitters or crash of caffeine. Unlike caffeine, Theobromine is not a central nervous system stimulant and therefore won’t make you feel as on edge or jittery.

What retail stores can I buy Crio Bru Brewed Cacao from?

Availability in retail stores can be a bit unpredictable (though we’re working on it!) so your best bet is online for now.

Brewing Methods

How do you brew it?

Crio Bru is made any way that traditional coffee is brewed. You can make it in a standard auto-drip coffee machine with a permanent gold filter or mesh (not paper), or in a French Press. See brewing guide for more information.

Can I cold brew it?

Short Answer: cold brewing does not work well with Crio Bru Brewed Cacao as the cocoa butter is an oil and repels water unless it is warm enough for it to dissolve and allow the hot water to extract the flavor. Long Answer: some customers have successfully done cold brewed cacao after tinkering with it enough. Also note that many enjoy cold brew coffee because it significantly reduces the acidity of coffee. Crio Bru Brewed Cacao is already near alkaline levels of acidity.

How do I get a stronger brew?

For French Press: Brewed cacao won’t ever be quite as strong as coffee and dark roasts will brew stronger than light roasts. To brew a stronger batch, think more grounds, hotter and longer. Double the amount of grounds, be sure and use boiling water, and steep for 15-20 minutes while stirring occasionally. You should be able to get a nice strong batch out of your dark roast.

 For Coffee Maker: Set your auto-drip to brew more slowly. Typically 1-4 cup setting and a bold setting available on many coffee makers is a way to do this.

Can I brew it in my espresso machine?

Short answer is we don’t recommend it. Espresso machines have settings have a very quick extraction and cacao needs to brew a little slower. Long answer: there are some customers that tinker and tinker and depending on the machine and their brewing method make it workable.

Can I brew it in my Keurig machine?

Short answer is we don’t recommend it. Keurig machines have settings have a very quick extraction and cacao needs to brew a little slower. Long answer: there are some customers that tinker and tinker and depending on the machine and their brewing method make it workable.

Can you brew it with milk?

Yes, and it’s yummy. Crio Bru Brewed Cacao can be brewed with milk and will give you an amazing gourmet “hot chocolate” if you add a little sweetener.

Why can't I use a paper filter?

Cacao brews slower than coffee and it can cause the water to overflow in your coffee machine. A permanent gold tone or mesh filter is recommended because it is more porous and allows for slower brewing.

Crio Bru VS. Other Products

How is this different than hot chocolate?

Single origin varieties of Crio Bru are 100% pure ground cacao. They are unsweetened pure cacao. Hot chocolate is cocoa powder (a processed component of cacao) that often has sugar, milk powder, emulsifiers and additives. These additives often include (e.g. dipotassium phosphate, mono and di-glycerides) and anti-clumping agents (modified whey) and anti-melting agents (hydrogenated oils).

How is Crio Bru different than cocoa/cacao nibs?

Cocoa or cacao nibs usually come from cacao beans for chocolate making. After a batch of cacao beans are roasted, cacao nibs are often a broken-up byproduct. Crio Bru comes from cacao beans selected for brewing and is ground from a full batch of roasted cacao beans.

What is the difference between cacao and cocoa?

There’s no true standard of identity for either cacao or cocoa. Both names are often used interchangeably. For example, cacao beans and cocoa beans are the same thing. Generally, however, when cacao becomes more processed with several manufacturing steps it is referred to as cocoa. For example, products such as cocoa powder, cocoa liquor, and hot cocoa typically refer to more processed components of cacao. Our product uses the full cacao bean and is processed by just roasting and grinding which is why we refer to it as 100% pure ground cacao.

Is Crio Bru Brewed Cacao more like coffee or tea?

Crio Bru light roasts brew to a similar consistency to tea. Crio Bru french (dark) roasts brew to a similar consistency to coffee. Still others say all varieties a whole different thing. You be the judge!

What is the difference between this and cocoa powder?

Unlike most processed cocoa products, Crio Bru Brewed Cacao uses the full cacao bean to retain more of its important nutrients. Cocoa powder is a more processed component of the cacao bean. Cocoa powder is processed from roasted cacao beans into cocoa liquor. The cocoa butter is then pressed out and the resulting cocoa solids are ground up and turned into a powder.

Freshness

If I brew Crio Bru, how long will it stay fresh for?

When refrigerated, Crio Bru Brewed Cacao will stay fresh for at least 2 days. Use the carafe or pour it into a separate container.

Does it lose freshness over time like coffee grounds?

Nearly all of our ground cacao products have a shelf life of over 3 years. And, unlike coffee which loses freshness and oxidizes over time, the natural cacao butter in the grounds keeps the product fresh and prevents oxidation.

What is the shelf life of Crio Bru Brewed Cacao?

2-3 years.

Health

Is your product alkalized?

No. We make great efforts to minimally process the product to retain its health benefits.

Is brewed cacao addictive?

No. Crio Bru Brewed Cacao contains a natural stimulant from the cacao bean called theobromine and it is not addictive

Is Crio Bru Brewed Cacao high in acidity?

Brewed cacao is near to pH Neutral (6.4 - 6.8) and is significantly less acidic than coffee. Many people that have had to avoid coffee due to the acidity have happily switched to Crio Bru and have not had any problems. Cacao beans are also very high in magnesium which helps to reduce acidity.

Is Crio Bru organic?

All of our varieties are organically grown but some of the countries that we source from do not offer organic certifications. We do buy organic certified beans whenever possible. Current certified organic varieties are Ecuador Light Roast, Ecuador French Roast, Ecuador Spanish Roast (Uber Dark), Peppermint, Pumpkin Spice, and Maya.

Is Crio Gluten free, Dairy free, Kosher, Non GMO?

Yes

How does cacao help people lose weight?

Cocoa polyphenols (a class of antioxidants) block an enzyme that absorbs fat so some of the fat passes through. Cacao also has neurotransmitters that make you feel satisfied and curb appetite. Theobromine also helps to boost your metabolism.

What are the health benefits of Crio?

Cacao is packed with nutrients like antioxidants to boost your immune system and magnesium to support bone, brain, and heart health. Additionally, while low in carbs and calories, Cacao also acts as a natural appetite suppressant. Best of all, cacao is loaded with natural mood enhancers that can help you feel great, increase focus, reduce stress, and sleep better. Crio Bru Brewed Cacao is also made from 100% pure ground cacao and is Whole 30, Paleo, Keto, and Kosher.

Grinding Process

If Crio Bru Brewed Cacao is roasted and ground how do you ensure that the nutrients are still intact?

We have done all of our nutritional testing on roasted, ground and brewed Crio Bru so the numbers you see are specific and accurate to brewed Crio.

Do you sell any whole cacao beans to grind at home?

Not at this time. Cacao is tricky to grind and inevitably jams up most grinders. We do the grinding work for you.

What else can I do with the Crio Bru grounds after I brew them?

  • Makes great compost for rich soil (as long as the grounds are not pet accessible)
  • Add the grounds to shakes for added nutrition and fiber
  • Add the grounds to many of your favorite recipes (see our blog for recipe ideas!)
  • The grounds also make an excellent skin exfoliant

What happens to the fat?

The fat stays in the grounds that remain in the filter basket and only trace amounts are in the finished product.

Farming & Fair Trade

Are your beans fair trade certified?

Crio Bru is committed to supporting the people and plantations that grow our product. That’s why we cultivate personal relationships with our farmers to ensure our cacao beans come from direct sources whenever possible.

We work with officially Fair Trade Certified farmers as often as possible. As some of the most prized Cacao beans come from remote regions where Fair Trade Certifications are not viable, we verify the process on our own whenever possible. This is called Direct Trade. Throughout the supply chain, we ensure that cacao beans are acquired at a fair price, cultivated sustainably, and grown under safe and fair work conditions.

How do you know synthetic pesticides have not been used?

Crio Bru works directly with the farmers to ensure all of our high standards are upheld and we have them analyzed periodically to ensure they are organically grown.