Cocoa? Cacao? What’s the deal?
The terms cocoa and cacao used to confuse me. Are they the same? Different things entirely? Today I’ll be dispelling some confusion about chocolate (because, come on, you know the questions are burning in your mind).
Cacao: cacao refers to the raw, unchanged form of chocolate (aka: without milk or sugar). If that isn’t a turnoff, I don’t know what is! When you see cacao nibs, cacao powder, or cacao beans at the grocery store, they are in a raw, uncooked state. No additives, just the cacao itself. Sounds healthy, huh? Recently, I bought cacao nibs to get a taste of that healthier, heartier, crunchier chocolate.
The results were less than satisfactory (or in other words, it was terrible). It was bitter, like, really really bitter. It made my Hershey’s bar look overwhelmingly sweet.
Verdict: cacao nibs are a bit gross, but they are more natural and healthy than any processed chocolate could dream of being. You can get used to their taste with time, but they’ll never taste like Hershey’s.
Cocoa: after cacao beans are cooked and processed, they become cocoa. Many brands of cocoa powder also have cocoa butter and sweeteners in them. Chocolate made from cocoa is more like the Hershey’s bar we’ve all grown to love, sweet and processed (it’s a guilty pleasure thing).
Verdict: Though it is undoubtedly sprinkled with artificial flavors, byproducts of refining, and sweeteners, nothing can beat a good piece of chocolate. Cozying up on a comfy couch with Hershey’s in hand…cacao nibs don’t make the cut like good ol’ chocolate does.