Cacao versus Cocoa

June Farahan

Posted on May 05 2016

One of my favorite tonics is a hot cacao powder with almond milk. This can be consumed hot or cold and when made cold, it becomes a delicious alternative to chocolate milk. I love drinking hot tonics all day be it in the middle of summer or winter.  In today's concoction I added organic cinnamon. And if you have a yearning for something sweeter add some maple syrup!

So what exactly is the difference between cacao and cocoa and even chocolate? It is all in the processing. They are all derived from the same cocoa bean. The cacao pod is quite large (about the size of a mango or a small papaya) and in it are amazing cacao beans. Cacao powder is a cold-processed form of the cacao bean and therefore retains the highest amount of enzymes and nutrition from the cacao bean. Cacao nibs which are popular as well are the chopped or crushed cacao bean. It has a slightly bitter and oily taste and provides an incredible amount of nutritional benefits. Cocoa powder is basically the cacao bean processed in high temperature rather than a cold process.

Chocolate also starts with the same cacao bean and goes through additional drying, fermentation and processing.

Cacao is very high in antioxidants and fantastic for your skin, mood and energy. Basically it makes you feel good and look good and therefore, an essential staple in my kitchen.