“mōCa is a superfood hot beverage made from the Maya Nut, which is also known as the Capomo seed or bread nut, which is native to Latin America, Central America and the Caribbean” where “indigenous people have used it for millennia as a source for vitamins A, K, and E, antioxidants, fiber and all of our essential amino acids,” Nicole Broushet, a co-founder of The Vegan Nest, told FoodNavigator-USA.
Because the Maya Nut is so nutrient dense, people who drink mōCa will still feel energized, even though there is no caffeine, she said.
“Caffeine has really harmful effects on the body. You see it when you become highly energized right after you drink the coffee, which is great, but when you try to come down it can be difficult,” she said. “Also, a lot of people suffer from caffeine withdrawal symptoms, including headaches, elevated heartbeats, high blood pressure, the jitters – it is just really toxic and harmful to the body.”
But with mōCa consumers can enjoy the “really rich flavor of coffee without the harmful side effects of caffeine. In fact, you are actually getting something that is life sustaining and health supportive” instead of potentially damaging, Broushet said.
She noted that the beverage is a great option for anyone interested in cutting back their caffeine, but it is particularly well suited for pregnant and nursing mothers – not just because they need to limit their caffeine content, but because the beverage contains galactagogue to help stimulate milk production.
In addition, Broushet said the beverage can give unborn and nursing children a nutritional leg up because it is so nutrient dense. Even children who are no longer nursing can benefit from the beverage as it is safe for people of all ages to drink, she added.
“My toddler loves it! She asks for it every day,” she added with a laugh.
Building economic stability for suppliers
Beyond the benefits mōCa provides the women who drink it, because of how it is sourced by The Vegan Nest, it also benefits the women who produce it.
Broushet explains that unlike other coffee substitutes on the market made from Maya Nuts, mōCa uses only nuts that are certified by the Maya Nut Institute from a woman-owned coop.
“What is really beautiful about having Maya Nut Institute certified seeds is that a portion of our proceeds … actually goes to fund the Maya Nut Institute, which goes into these villages where the seed is wildly harvested and teaches women … how to harvest this seed, roast the seed, package the seed and ship it to the US,” to help build a more stable economy, Broushet said. “It really is a form of micro-financing for them.”
She also said the Institute promotes nutrition programs in the villages where the seeds are harvested and supports schools so that children also are well fed and educated.
Hitting the road to promote mōCa
With so many benefits on-trend checkmarks, Broushet is confident the beverage, which launched in January, will be a success. But she also recognizes it will be a lot of work to scale up sales.
To support the launch and educate consumers about the existence and benefits of mōCa, Broushet and her husband, who helped co-found The Vegan Nest, will travel to several large trade shows as well as vegan, vegetarian and green-themed festivals around the US.
They also are selling the product on their website and Amazon to help build demand and generate retailer interest, she said.
“I just love to see this happening so much and what it can do for people and that is why I am excited to share it folks – not just as a business, but as a way to really help people live healthier lives and make healthier decisions,” she concluded.