View Full Version : difference between cocoa and cacao
01-31-2010, 03:34 PM
Hi everyone, I am new here and I've been exploring raw food for the past couple of months.
I have been eating 60% raw foods, but I don't eat only organic vegetables because I can't afford it. I buy food from a farmers' market, but not all organic. Even just 60% raw I am feeling a big difference in my life in regards to how I feel. Anyway, I went to look for cacao powder, and couldn't find anything labeled this- I did find some products that had 100% natural cocoa powder. When I got home I looked up the difference between the two words "cocoa" and "cacao" and what I found in wikipedia is this
The word "cocoa" is derivative of "cacao". "Cocoa" can often also refer to the drink commonly known as hot chocolate; to cocoa powder, the dry powder made by grinding cocoa seeds and removing the cocoa butter from the dark, bitter cocoa solids; or to a mixture of cocoa powder and cocoa butter.
another site stated:
What is the difference between “cacao” and “cocoa”? Historically, “cacao” and “cocoa” were used interchangeably since “cocoa” is easier to understand. However, technically, “cocoa” should be used in referenced to powder products, while “cacao” should be used when referring to the bean, which yields the cacao components - chocolate liquor, cocoa butter and cocoa powder.
Is this just semantics?? Why is it that most online raw food stores refer to cocoa powder as "cacao powder", but outside of the raw food community, it's called cocoa powder?
01-31-2010, 04:33 PM
Seems to me the raw food community uses the term "cacao" to differentiate it from cocoa. Cocoa is always heat processed. Cacao is supposedly processed without heat and contains up to 20 times the nutrients that cocoa has.
Google and wikipedia are great resources, but are not always up on raw food terminology. Good thing we have RawFoodTalk to chat about it. :)
01-31-2010, 05:24 PM
Cacao is not processed using heat, so it's a raw product and it has more antioxidants and nutrients. Also, generally, cacao is organic while cocoa rarely is, and cacao is often grown using sustainable practices and growers are paid a fair salary - while cocoa plantations are usually not very ethical to say the least!
Hope this helps :)
01-31-2010, 06:43 PM
Thanks guys. I have to say it has been hard to find the products to make some of the things I've found recipes for, especially super foods. For example, nowhere can I find things like maca powder, mesquite powder, goji berries, spirulina. Not only that but I haven't been able to find hemp seeds or flax seeds that I can grind...I've looked at all the supermarkets and whole foods, I have found some products that have one of these in their ingredients but I've not been able to find them in their raw form. And I don't know of any health food stores around me. I am scared of buying food online, it just seems odd to eat something that has been shipped through USPS or something..So I am just eating things like salad with avocados and some nuts for one meal, a green smoothie for breakfast and a something cooked for my third meal and dried fruit or nuts for snacks. But, I'd love to be able to make more creative things, and it's unfortunate that there aren't any health food stores around me or any affordable ways to get raw organic foods. I am thinking of starting a garden, but I can't help but wonder, wouldn't insects eat all of the produce unless I use pesticides in the garden as well? And in that case, it wouldn't be organic would it?
Anyway, I also don't have a food processor nor dehydrator so that limits what I can make even more..But even eating the way I am right now, I feel much better and I haven't had any pimples since I've been eating like this.
02-01-2010, 07:50 PM
buying online is good for unique raw food
02-02-2010, 10:34 AM
I hear you, I am always really hesitant to buy online. But you can check out what is in Alissa's store, or ask for recommendations of reputable online retailers. For example, and I hope this is ok with the mods here (please delete if not!!), rawvegansource dot com is a little shop near where I work that also does online ordering. I've purchased loads of things there, and the owners are really sweet. Hope that helps, edelweiss!
09-13-2010, 10:43 PM
"Cocoa powder and cacao powder is the same.
What is considered "raw" cacao is suppose to be a cocoa powder that has been in a process that never exceeded 110 degrees Fahrenheit...which is already an almost impossible scenario, since cocoa beans are grown in the Equator, and you may exceed that temperature while drying in the patio under the sun covered with black linens (to heat it up and allow the fermentation of the bean)....and yes, you need to dry them, otherwise they will rotten in a few days, and the shell will be too difficult to peel off.
Back to cocoa powder....
ALL cocoa powder comes from the cocoa bean, which without the shell is called cocoa nib (a.k.a. cacao nib). The first step is grinding of the nib (which again, when you grind something to such small particle size you will create a lot of friction with -that's right - heat!). That will give you the cocoa/cacao paste (a.k.a. cacao mass or liquor), which has about 50 to 56% fat (cocoa butter) in it...and ALL cocoa powders have to go through that stage.
Next stage is to take some of that butter away, which the raw community claims can be done through "cold pressing". For any that don't understand that term, cold pressing is done with oils like olive oil to preserve the oil almost intact by cooling the press plates while applying pressure (pressure generates heat, therefore it needs to be cooled). But here is a reminder, olive oil is liquid in room temperature, cocoa butter is SOLID, and it STARTS melting at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit ... so, you cannot control and cool it to a point where it will be still in a solid phase, because it cannot be pressed and "flow" out.
Last operation is to grind the solids left in the press, again - heat...and there is your cocoa powder or cacao powder... you tell me if you call it "raw", a term not defined by the FDA for cocoa, and that can be used by anyone just to sell the cocoa to a much higher price. Maybe that is why bigger, more serious companies don't have this product, since they do not want to be liable for false advertising...
Regarding "Raw" cocoa nibs or cocoa beans...yes, that is possible, and the only concern is the high bacteriological plate count... but how much you want to train your immune system is up to each individual. And yes, the less manipulated the cocoa, the more polyphenols and healthy chemicals you will obtain from it."
04-13-2011, 04:46 AM
Interesting, so the whole raw cacao thing is just a marketing gimmick you reckon?
06-26-2011, 10:48 PM
My understanding is that CACAO is the original, native name and COCOA is the Englis version.
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