If you believe cacao and cocoa are the same thing, you’d be wrong – but certainly not alone! So many of us remain unaware of the vast differences between the two, and that’s why we’ve decided to share the many reasons why the former is superior to the latter; from a higher antioxidant count to a richer taste, cacao has the edge over cocoa.
Graphic designed by Grace Martin
Chocolate has been a popular treat for centuries, and for good reason – it’s rich in flavour, satiating and nutritious too. But not all chocolate is created equal. In fact, there is a debate among chocolate enthusiasts about which is better; cacao or cocoa. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, there are some significant differences between the two that could impact your health and your taste buds. We’ll be sharing a few reasons why you should keep your eye out for cacao next time you’re at the shops.
First, let’s clear up the differences between cocoa and cacao. Cacao refers to the raw, unprocessed bean that comes from the Theobroma cacao tree. The bean is the source of all chocolate products, including cocoa powder, chocolate bars, and chocolate chips. Cacao beans are rich in antioxidants, flavanols and other nutrients that have been linked to various health benefits.
Cocoa, on the other hand, is a term used to describe the processed and roasted form of the cacao bean. The beans are roasted at high temperatures, which destroys many of the natural nutrients and antioxidants found in raw cacao. The resulting product is then ground into cocoa powder, which is used to make chocolate products.
Cacao is a more nutrient-dense food than cocoa. Raw cacao beans contain high levels of antioxidants, flavanols and other nutrients that can help improve heart health, reduce inflammation and boost brain function. These nutrients are often lost during the processing of cocoa, making it a less healthy option.
Raw cacao has a complex, almost bitter flavour with fruity undertones that can vary depending on the region in which it’s grown. Cocoa, on the other hand, is often described as having a flat, one-dimensional taste that lacks the depth and complexity of cacao. So many of us miss out on those rich and versatile flavours when we opt for cocoa-based chocolate, so be sure to look for a brand that uses cacao and discover the difference for yourself.
Cacao can be used in a variety of ways, from making raw chocolate and adding it to smoothies and baked goods to using it as a seasoning in savoury dishes. Cocoa, on the other hand, is primarily used to make chocolate products and might taste a bit off-putting in other dishes, particularly the savoury kind.
Keen to put your cacao to good use? Try our delicious Cacao and Coconut Smoothie or our famous Double Choc Raspberry Brownies. Bring these brownies to your next dinner party and by the end of the night there'll be nothing left!
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