Difference Between Cacao and Cocoa Powder

Difference Between Cacao and Cocoa Powder

Billions of people would agree that chocolate is one of the greatest discoveries in the history of mankind. The fact that there are so many types, varieties, and brands of chocolate, also adds to the size of the chocolate-lover crowd.

One thing a lot of people don’t know is what the difference is between ‘cacao’ and ‘cocoa powder’. They are both spelled alike and sound alike but are quite unique in their taste, cost, and nutritional value. Many have bought one by mistake and found out the hard way. If you are unsure about how to tell one from the other, then you’re in the right place.


This is chocolate in its purest edible form. That means that it’s raw and has not been through the processing that cocoa powder and chocolate bars go through. Out of all the antioxidants and magnesium you can get from all foods, cacao is considered to have the most. Many cultures over many years have found it very useful in regard to good health, and it has long been a valued high-trade commodity.

Cacao comes from a fruit tree (Theobroma Cacao), that produces the cacao pods the release the cacao beans when cracked. Those beans are then put through various processes. The fattiest part of this fruit is the Cacao butter, and it is the outer lining on the inside of every single cacao bean. It is not dark, like most would think, but white with a rich, butter-like texture to it that is much like how white chocolate looks and tastes. During production, the cacao butter is separated from the bean. The part that is left is the basis for producing raw cacao powder.


This term is used to describe a form of cacao after it’s been heated. This is the form most people are familiar with growing up and buying at their local supermarket. While cocoa might seem a bit inferior compared to raw cacao, it is really good for you and a whole lot less expensive.

Cocoa powder is processed in a similar fashion as cacao, only cocao goes through much higher temperatures during the process. In spite of these higher temperatures, it still manages to retain a large portion of antioxidants that our bodies love. They help with blood pressure, stress levels, skin, and the heart.

Both cacao powder and cocoa powder can be used interchangeably in making smoothies, baking cookies, homemade treats, or you can stir either one into a cup of coffee and make some homemade mocha. There are literally thousands of ways you can use both to satisfy that chocolate craving anytime you need to. Both are highly nutritious and healthy, so make sure you take advantage of this delicious gift from nature itself.