“Cacao” looks, sounds, and tastes a lot like “cocoa”! Learn the difference between cocoa and cacao to enjoy deep chocolatey goodness with a healthy dose of nutrients.

We know we’re not alone in our passion for chocolate. It’s a food humans have revered for thousands of years. At Nourish, our favorite way to access the delicious flavor and power of chocolate is with raw cacao nibs and cacao powder. Keep reading to learn the difference between cocoa and cacao, and then visit us at Nourish to enjoy cacao in a variety of delicious menu items. Our menu is organic, plant based, and full of locally sourced ingredients. Here, you can satisfy your chocolate craving in the most nourishing way possible!

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An Ancient Ingredient

Originally prepared as a bitter, spiced or fermented beverage, cacao was believed to have aphrodisiac powers, and give the drinker strength. Its seeds were even used as currency in ancient Aztec civilization! Today, we are lucky to enjoy chocolate in many forms – and raw cacao has got to be one of our all-time favorite ingredients. It provides the rich, deep chocolate flavor we’ve loved since childhood. Not only is it delicious, but because of how raw cacao is processed, it retains many nutrients that are lost during the process of turning cacao beans into cocoa. This is the main source of difference between cacao and cocoa, which impacts the nutritional value of the end product.

The Difference Between Cacao and Cocoa Processing

Cacao powder, like we use at Nourish, is made from ground cacao beans that have been warmed just enough to separate out the fattiest parts of the cacao bean, or cacao butter. After the butter is separated, the parts of the bean that remain are ground into the powder we use in our smoothies and sweet treats, including gluten-free cookies and avocado chocolate mousse! Raw or minimally-processed cacao powder and nibs (chopped up bits of the cacao bean) are superfoods offering many benefits to those who consume them. Cacao contains flavonoids and phenolic phytochemicals which protect cells against free radical damage; epicatechin, which boosts mood, improves cognitive abilities, and regulates glucose production; and procyanidins, which protect the heart, along with flavanols! Cacao is rich in the nutrients iron, potassium, copper, manganese, and zinc, and is known for being one of the best sources of magnesium available. But what’s the difference between cacao and cocoa?

The main difference between cacao and cocoa is that, to make cocoa powder, the beans are roasted at high temperatures before being ground. Roasting the beans gives them a slightly sweeter flavor. However, during the roasting process, beneficial live enzymes and flavonols are destroyed, and chemicals are often added that further degrade cocoa’s nutritional profile. Because of this difference between cacao and cocoa, we use cacao (liberally) at Nourish!

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Ways to Enjoy the Benefits of Cacao

At Nourish, you can enjoy cacao nibs atop our creamy Green Goddess Bowl, or blended into our Coffee-Cacao smoothie. We use cacao powder, coconut milk, and coffee or Dandi Blend to make our rich, spiced Mayan Mocha. And we blend cacao powder with banana, almond butter, date, maca, and coconut milk to make our Cacao Superfood Shake. In fact, we’re going to whip one up right now. See you at the counter!

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Sources for This Article:

History of Chocolate – Wikipedia
Cacao vs. Cocoa: The Difference and Why It Matters – Paleohacks
The Benefits of Cacao Powder is Trending–Here’s Why – Women’s Health

Photo by Rachael Gorjestani on Unsplash

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