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What is the Difference Between “Cacao” and “Cocoa”?

December 20, 2011

Besides reversing “o’s” and “a’s” in the spelling of these two words, technically there is no real difference in the meanings. Our modern pronunciation of “cocoa” is how the British mistakenly pronounced “cacao” when the food was first introduced to the British Isles.

Today the FDA defines cacao as the source bean, and cocoa powder (along with chocolate liquor and cocoa butter) as products.  At the time these products are processed from the cacao bean, they are still raw and unsweetened.

It’s when a long refining process that adds sugar, other flavorings, and chemicals to lengthen shelf life are added to the chocolate product that “cocoa” veers widely from natural, raw, cacao. And during the refining process much of the antioxidants are destroyed by the heat.

Since that is what most consumers think of as cocoa, that’s where the difference lies.

Most chocolate candy, cakes, cookies, ice cream and milk sold to the American public contain only 10% raw cocoa and the other 90% is made up of high caloric, high carbohydrate  sugar, cream, oils, etc.  Many of these commercial items contain transfats, and up to 40 grams of sugar.

For example, “milk chocolate” contains just 10% pure chocolate liquor while dark chocolate has a minimum of 75%. When sold as candy bars, both, of course, also contain sugars and fats.

This is why it’s been hammered into our heads for years that to eat healthy is to stay away from chocolate, and no wonder since chocolate in the supermarket form has had most of the original nutritional qualities processed out.

Mayesa uses organic raw cacao. In this state cacao contains the highest concentration of antioxidants by weight – more than acai, blueberries, pomegranates, red wine and goji berries.  It is also a natural source of iron, magnesium, and theobromine (which supports the cardiovascular system).

When you drink Mayesa, you are getting all of the rich chocolate flavor and natural nutrients of cacao, and none of the refined sugars, transfats , and nutrient loss of that “other cocoa.”

Photo Credit: zupas.com