Cacao and cocoa may sound similar, but both of them are unique when it comes to taste, nutrition, and cost. If you’re unsure if you should buy cacao or cocoa, check out these differences below so you can make a well informed, choco-licious decision!
- Cocoa is the term used to refer to the heated form of cacao that you probably grew up buying at the store in the form of cocoa powder.
- Though cocoa may seem inferior to raw cacao, it’s actually very good for you (and less expensive) if you choose a variety without added sugars and milk fats or oils.
- Cocoa powder is produced similarly to cacao except cocoa undergoes a higher temperature of heat during processing. Surprisingly, it still retains a large amount of antioxidants in the process and is still excellent for your heart, skin, blood pressure, and even your stress levels.
- If you buy cocoa powder, be sure you buy plain cocoa powder, not cocoa mixes which often contain sugar. Look for either regular cocoa powder or Dutch-processed (a.k.a. dark) cocoa powder.
- Dutch-processed cocoa powder (dark cocoa) is cocoa powder that has been processed with an alkalized solution, making it less acidic and much richer in taste. Regular cocoa powder retains a more acidic nature and bitter taste, and is used in baking recipes with baking soda where Dutch-processed cocoa powder is not since it has already been alkalized.
- Cocoa powder is a rich source of fiber, has little fat, and has a bit of protein in it as well.
You can use cocoa powder and cacao powder interchangeably in baking recipes, smoothies, oatmeal, cookies, homemade raw treats, or even stir them into your coffee for a homemade mocha. Both cacao and cocoa are highly nutritious and are sure to satisfy your chocolate cravings around the clock. If you want more nutrients, I would suggest you choose cacao, but if you want less calories and and decent source of antioxidants, then definitely go with cocoa powder.
Which one do you prefer — cacao or cocoa?
Article courtesy of One Green Planet