Is There A Difference?
Cacao and cocoa come from the seed pods of the Theobroma Cacao tree which is native to Central and South America.
It’s believed that “cocoa” is an English misspelling/transliteration of “cacao”.
So…what’s the difference? It depends on your source of information. It seems that calling it “cacao” vs. “cocoa” is like “tomato” vs. “tomato”. What really matters is how the seed pods are processed. Raw cacao/cocoa is the unroasted cacao seed with the fat (cacao or cocoa butter) removed resulting in the enzymes and nutrients remaining intact. In contrast, if the cacao/cocoa seed is roasted, then the enzymes and nutrients present may be destroyed due to the temperatures used in the roasting process. Afterwards, sugar, milk powder, and other flavorings are added to produce what we commonly refer to as chocolate (chocolate bars, cocoa powder, etc.).
Benefits of Both:
- four times the antioxidant power of average dark chocolate – more than 20 times that of blueberries
- protein, calcium, carotene, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, sulfur, flavonoids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids are also present
- lowers LDL cholesterol, improves heart function, and reduces cancer risk
- elevates mood when feeling down or slightly depressed
- can improve cholesterol, stress levels, and inflammation
(commonly called “cocoa”)
- economical choice, try to avoid ones with added sugar and/or milk
- purchase darker cocoa as it may keep most of the antioxidant content of cacao
- powder is a rich source of fiber, has little fat, and has a bit of protein in it as well
Cacao As A Coffee Alternative?
I’ve never liked the taste of coffee (although I love the smell) and some time ago my husband happened upon a yummy recipe for a coffee alternative drink that uses cacao/cocoa. It has become my go to drink when I need a pick me up. I find that it’s great at suppressing my appetite and for helping me focus on tasks. I don’t remember where he got the original recipe or even if I am following it correctly but what I drink works for me (recipe below)!
Coffee Alternative Drink
(Feel free to make adjustments)
- 1 tablespoon of cacao powder (or 1/2 tablespoon of cacao nibs ground my preference)
- 1 teaspoon of maca powder
- 1-3 tablespoons of monkfruit (or other preferred sweetener to taste)
- 1 cup of non-dairy milk or water
- 1 teaspoon or more of coconut oil or cocoa butter (optional)
- Heat up non-dairy milk or water. You want it warm, not boiling or scalding.
- Add dry ingredients to cup and mix together.
- Add heated non-dairy milk or water to the cup of dry ingredients and mix well
- Add coconut oil or cocoa butter (if using) and mix until melted
- Enjoy and drink up the goodness
Please note that the above post contains affiliate links. This means by clicking on them I may make a small commission which would go towards helping me run and maintain this blog. Thank you!