difference between cacao and cocoa

Is Cacao and Cocoa the Same Thing?

Have you ever wondered whether Cacao and Cocoa are identical or entirely two different ingredients?

Well, they are entirely different from each other.  Find out more below.

Cacao – The unprocessed and raw form of the fruit

In simplest of all the definitions, Cacao is raw while Cocoa is a processed form of the fruit of Theobroma Cacao Tree. This plant is known to produce large fruits with a pod-like structure filled with nearly 20 to 60 beans. These beans are surrounded by a gooey white pulp that tastes like sweet-tart. 

So, Cacao and Cocoa are nearly related but bear streak differences when it comes to processing methods, taste, usage, etc. 

If you would ever visit a chocolate professional, you will never find him use the word ‘cocoa’ for beans, pods, and ground-up beans. They will always refer to them with the term ‘Cacao’ while using the term ‘Cocoa’ for powder left out after processing the beans. During the process, Cacao beans are pressed for taking out the fat. 

Cacao is Natural and Super Food

As explained above, Cacao is the purest, natural, and unprocessed state of fruit from theobroma Cacao Tree. That means, it has more nutritional value and health benefits as compared with Cocoa which is processed at very high heat. 

These days, people with a slight tilt toward healthy eating and a Vegan lifestyle, consider using Cacao more over Cocoa. 

Heat creates the whole difference 

A quick glare to powdered Cacao and Cocoa beans will show no difference. You can mistakenly use Cocoa at the place of Cacao because of contrasting similarities. However, an experienced chocolate expert will take no time to distinguish between Cacao and Cocoa. 

But there is a difference between the two which is not visible yet can be felt. As Cacao is fermented for a period of time, it retains the strong flavor even when it is powdered. On the other hand, Cocoa loses its flavor of fermentation and healthy nutrients because of being roasted at high heat. In other words, Cocoa powder may have a stronger chocolate flavor due to the roasting of the beans while Cacao powder may carry a slightly citrusy note due to the lower temperature of processing, hence retaining the natural fermentation flavor. Therefore, if you wish to stay on the healthier side of your lifestyle, you should replace Cocoa powder with Cacao powder. 

Health benefits of Cacao 

  • Better bowel health

Cacao powder has good fiber content which reduces IBS and promotes healthy digestion. 

  • Reduced blood pressure 

Flavonoids are known to work against blood clots and improve blood flow in vessels. 

  • Lowered diabetes risk

The flavonoids found in Cacao increase insulin sensitivity and thus reduce the risk of diabetes. 

  • Improved heart health

A good amount of potassium found in Cacao reduces the chance of heart disease or any kind of cell inflammation. 

  • Reduces inflammation

Unprocessed Cacao has a high amount of flavonoids which are good for treating any kind of inflammation in your body.

Quick Chart to Sum-up the differences

Cacao Cocoa
Raw or minimally processed High heat processed
100% pure and natural without additives Contains additives like alkaline-based solution used in the Dutching process
The high amount of nutritional values The lower amount of nutritional value due to destroyed nutrients by high heat processing
Fermented and low temperature processed Fermented and roasted on high heat

Should you replace Cocoa with Cacao?

Yes, indeed! Cacao is pure, natural, nutrient-densed, and vegan. You will never feel guilty while devouring hot chocolate made from organic Cacao Powder rather than Cocoa Powder. Check out more at our FAQ page on the difference between Cacao vs Cocoa here https://dietangel.com.my/faq

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