At first few glances you would just think that cacao is just cocoa spelled wrong. And it’s an honest mistake made by those of us who don’t keep up with either the coffee or chocolate ingredients.
They might have some similarities but there is a huge difference between the two. Many of you might have questions such as, “Can I Use Cacao Instead Of Cocoa In Baking?” or “How Does Cacao Differ From Cocoa?”.
This post should answer all of your questions regarding the differences as well as their uses.
We’ll begin by defining each and understanding how it’s made.
What is cacao powder?
Let’s talk about the basic similarity between the two. They are both made from cocoa beans. These beans come from the cocoa pod that the plant Theobroma Cacao bears. The pod is then cracked open to get the beans out.
Cacao powder is different from cocoa powder because cacao powder is made from either fermented cocoa bean or just plain cocoa beans. These beans are ground and the cocoa butter i.e. the fruit fat is removed to create cacao beans. The cocoa beans used to prepare cacao powder are unroasted.
The fermentation process preserves the antioxidants from the cocoa beans.
What is cocoa powder?
While cacao powder is made from unroasted cacao beans, cocoa powder is made from roasted beans. Before the cocoa powder is made the cocoa fat i.e. cocoa butter is extracted.
As you can see both the process of creating cocoa powder and cacao powder are quite similar. So, what’s the difference you ask?
Cocoa powder undergoes higher temperature as compared to cacao powder.
Many have claimed that roasting the cocoa beans reduces its nutritional value. Whether it’s true or not still remains to be seen.
It’s the same cocoa powder that you have been buying from the stores for decades now. It is cheap as compared to cacao powder.
People have been swapping cacao for cocoa, not really comprehending the difference between them. They might have a lot of similarities but it’s their differences that have earned them their unique names, cacao, and cocoa.
# Cacao vs Cocoa taste
Let’s talk about how the taste of cocoa powder differs from that of a cacao powder.
Cacao is pure chocolate. That’s all you have to know. It’s chocolate in its raw form. And it tastes that much better from the cocoa powder or any of the chocolate bars you might find.
Cocoa powder, on the other hand, can be acidic or bitter in taste. There are two types of cocoa powder. The regular cocoa powder and Dutch-processed cocoa powder.
The Dutch-processed cocoa powder is processed with an alkaline solution which helps in diluting the acidic taste making the cocoa powder tastes much better and rich whereas the regular cocoa powder retains the bitter taste.
# Cacao powder benefits vs Cocoa powder benefits.
The benefits of cocoa are abundant. But how different are they from benefits of cacao powder?
➔ Cacao powder benefits
1. Facilitate the production of the happy chemical:
The happy chemical is Serotonin. It is known as such because the low levels of serotonin can cause depression. The chemical is created when an amino acid tryptophan is combined with chemical reactor tryptophan hydroxylase. Deficiency of tryptophan can lead to the deficiency of serotonin which in turn would be very bad because it will mean low levels of your happy chemical. This might have you suffering from mood disorders such as depression which start with low mood and anxiety as well.
2. Preserves Antioxidants:
As the fermented bean preserved antioxidants. Cacao powder has more amount of antioxidants as compared to any other food ingredient. Therefore it has all the benefits that antioxidants have to offer you. Some of which are low blood pressure, better blood circulation, improved heart functions and it even has some amazing skin benefits that facilitate anti-aging. And let’s not forget the boost in the immune system that’s a boon we experience thanks to the antioxidants in our food.
3. Mineral elements content:
We are talking about the zinc, magnesium and chromium content present in the cacao powder and the benefits they provide us with.
Chromium is known to balance the blood sugar level.
Zinc has a big role in boosting your immune system and it also keeps your liver, skin, and pancreas healthy.
Magnesium works on relaxing you and can provide great relief to your body muscles as it works on healing you. Magnesium also provides various other benefits including calming your nerves and sensitivity to pain. We have already seen how it is good for your muscles, it is also good for your teeth.
➔ Cocoa powder benefits.
One of the benefits of cocoa powder also happens to be its antioxidants capacity. It is not as high as cacao powder but it is higher compared to black tea and red wine. So, it does have somewhat similar benefits to that of cacao powder such as stabilizing blood pressure and being good for heart health.
We’ll see a few benefits of Cocoa powder.
We all know the effect chocolate has on obesity. It just adds more calories and fats to our body. But we aren’t just talking about any chocolate here, we are talking about cocoa or you can call it dark chocolate. A recent study has shown that cocoa can affect obesity in a positive manner because of its effect on the carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It is also known to make you feel less hungry and keeps you sated.
2. Constipation treatment:
If you have read the benefits of Cacao powder you must have noticed that Magnesium is known to relax your muscles. Same can be said for the muscles of your digestive tract hence letting you relieve yourself. The high magnesium content of cocoa powder treats constipation. If for some reason you cannot eat cocoa powder in any forms including chocolate, then you might want to try food that’s rich in Magnesium.
3. Diabetes treatment:
Cocoa is known to stabilize your blood sugar levels and it also prevents the formation of cataract is induced by diabetes in your blood. Antioxidants in the cocoa are one of the major reason why it is known to treat Diabetes.
You must have noticed that both cocoa and cacao have their differences as well as benefits. We just wanted to educate you on both. This way there’s a less likelihood of you mistaking one for the other despite their similarities.