Cacao, Cocoa, and Chocolate: What are the Differences?

Mia Teal

E-Commerce Marketing Department

‘Tis the season for curling up by the fire while drinking a delicious cup of hot cocoa. Cocoa can be used for so many different food recipes, as well as in drinks. Before we get into that, what exactly is cocoa, and what is the difference between cacao, cocoa, and chocolate? Let’s dive in!

Cacao (pronounced kuh-kau) comes from the Theobroma cacao tree which is Native to South America, West Africa, and parts of Asia. Cacao and cocoa are essentially the same thing, but in different forms. Cocoa is made from cacao, to put it simply. Cacao is the natural form, whereas cocoa is more processed. Cacao tends to have a bitter taste compared to cocoa which is sweeter.

Now that we understand the difference between cacao and cocoa, where does chocolate fit into the picture? Chocolate is made from cocoa powder mixed with other products, such as milk, sugar, and cream. Depending on the type of chocolate and where you buy it from, there may be other ingredients mixed in, such as almonds, cranberries, sea salt, etc.

Check out some of our easy and delicious recipes! Happy National Cocoa Day! 

Spinach, Black Bean, & Corn Salad with Chipotle-Cocoa Vinaigrette: Who says salads can’t be fun? Try this nutrient-packed salad with a cocoa twist! 

Chocolate-Zucchini Muffins: Are you a fan of muffins? Try this super easy recipe for a breakfast on-the-go!

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches: It may be cold outside, but a warm chocolate chip cookie with ice cream in the middle will make anyone’s heart melt!