Cacao vs. Cocoa: What's the Difference?
We get asked a lot about the cacao in our Cacao Raisin Swell Bites. Cacao has become increasingly popular in the health community as a replacement for regular cocoa. However, many people confuse the two, or don’t know what the difference is. So we decided to shed some light on this tasty superfood.
So What’s the Difference?
Both cacao and cocoa start from the same place: the Theombrama Cacao tree. These trees produce pods packed with beans, which are simply cacao beans.
The difference between cacao and cocoa lies in the processing. Cacao is simply the unprocessed beans. Cocoa is processed, sometimes several times, using very high heat. This causes a significant depletion of its nutrients. When we hear about the health benefits of chocolate, these studies are generally referring to the unprocessed cacao beans.
Cacao has four times the antioxidants as cocoa, and has no added sugars or chemicals. In its pure form, cacao is one of the best food sources of magnesium and helps elevate mood, lower blood pressure and protect your heart. Cocoa retains some of these benefits, especially a nice pure dark chocolate, but again, they are drastically reduced.
The other main difference between the two is the taste. Cacao has a somewhat bitter taste, yet it’s still a great and commonly used replacement for chocolate. Most of us are familiar with, and love, the taste of cocoa. Cocoa is processed to achieve that ultra rich and sweet taste.
Bottom line- Cacao and Cocoa may start from the same place, but they are different foods in the end.