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Cacao vs. Cocoa – Is There a Difference & Which One is Best?

March 6, 2019 Honest to Goodness

When baking or checking the ingredients list on products you are buying you may have spent some time wondering what the difference actually is between Cacao and Cocoa. Are they the same? Are they different? There are actually quite a few difference between the two starting with how they are processed. 

Cacao and cocoa may sound similar, but both of them are unique when it comes to processing, nutrition and taste. 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!


Both cacao and cocoa come from the cacao plant and that is why they have a similar look and smell - however, their taste is different. The reason for that all comes down to the way these two ingredients are made.

Organic Cacao Beans

Organic Cocoa Powder is made by fermenting, drying, and roasting the cacao bean at high temperatures. It is then pressed until all of the oils are separated out and the solids remaining are turned into a dry powder. Dutch-processed cocoa powder has been processed with an alkalized solution, which makes it less acidic and much richer in taste.

Organic Cacao Powder is made in a very similar matter. Cacao beans are still pressed to separate the oils and solids, however, the beans are processed at very low temperatures. This is why cacao is often referred to as "raw," as the temperatures used in the process are so low that it can still be considered raw.

Organic Cacao Powder Baking Substitute Cocoa


It has long been said that chocolate is actually good for you, all thanks to the star ingredient: cacao!

Having been processed at a lower temperature, cacao powder has retained more nutrients that may have otherwise been heat affected. Organic Cacao Powder is one of the highest plant-based sources of iron and magnesium as well as being super rich in calcium, zinc, potassium and antioxidants such as flavonoids.

While some of the original antioxidants in cacao are lost through the heating process, Organic Cocoa Powder still retains many of the same nutritional benefits as cacao powder. The vitamins and minerals found in cocoa are excellent for your heart, skin, blood pressure, and even your stress levels.

Organic Cacao Powder Baking Substitute Cocoa


One of the most distinctive differences between cacao and cocoa is the taste.

Organic Cacao Powder has a bitter, more intense and richer chocolate flavour than cocoa. It can take a little while to get used to - especially when first making the switch from cocoa to cacao - and often a little bit more sweetener can be added in order to help do so.

As the beans have been roasted and the powder has been alkalised, Organic Cocoa Powder is much less bitter and sweeter tasting, making it the preferred choice when it comes to baking sweet treats.


You can use Organic Cocoa Powder and Organic Cacao Powder as a substitute for each other in baking recipes, smoothies, desserts, homemade raw treats, or even stir them into your coffee for a homemade mocha! Both cacao and cocoa are highly nutritious for you and are sure to satisfy your chocolate cravings.

Organic Cacao Powder Baking Substitute Cocoa

Which one do you prefer — cacao or cocoa?

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