Cacao composition: Cacao fruits with dried cacao beans (nibs), cocoa powder, chocolate bar and chocolate drops (chips).
What's The Difference Between Cacao And Cocoa?
By Chris Day
Chocolate has been adored since as early as 1500 BC, and in 2021, the worldwide market was worth almost 47 billion dollars. However, many don’t know the difference between cacao and cocoa, or how to best use each as an ingredient in our favorite recipes.
The biggest difference between cacao and cocoa powder is in how each is processed, as the roasting temperature used to make cacao is very low, while cocoa is roasted at a higher temperature. Because of this minimal processing, cacao powder is considered purer than cocoa.
There are myriad health benefits to consuming raw cacao, as it is full of magnesium, iron, zinc, and other essential nutrients. This means that replacing cocoa with cacao in certain recipes can make them healthier, and the savory taste can enhance dishes such as chili and mole sauce.
Cacao and cocoa can be used interchangeably in some dishes such as banana bread, where the bitter taste of cacao will not interfere with its flavor. There are still cases where one is needed over the other, as cocoa is needed to dust sweet confections like tiramisu, as the bitter flavor of cacao would conflict with the dish.