The similarity between the terms “cacao” and “cocoa” often creates confusion. The Food and Drug Administration US defines as cacao beans “is the source …” chocolate products such as cocoa powder, chocolate liquor or cocoa butter, depending on how the cocoa bean is processed. Therefore, the cacao bean is the source of cocoa and cocoa powder, and although the terms are often used interchangeably, there are subtle differences.
The Mayan empire began to grow and harvest cocoa over 2000 years ago, and the Aztecs used cacao beans raw as their main form of currency. The Maya used the frikoles to create a spicy drink enjoyed by royalty and consumed during religious ceremonies. Without access to sweeteners spices, cocoa was consumed as a strong, bitter drink. After the Spanish conquistadors invaded Mexico, sent ships loaded with beans back cacao, where it was mixed with sugar and cinnamon to make a drink that was popular among the upper classes. Charles Linnaeus, creator of the modern scientific names, cocoa bean called “Theobroma”, which translates as “food of the gods”. Today, chocolate is one of the world’s most popular flavors.
A cacao bean is a greenish brown shell filled with small pockets called husks. These husks are edible pulp of cacao beans. A bean contains between 12% and 60% fat, and no sugar.
Cocoa Vs Cacao Powder
The pure cacao powder and unsweetened bitter tastes and dense, so it is often used in sweets and treats. For cocoa bean powder, cocoa husks are first ground into strong pasta. Fat is removed and the remaining solids are ground into a fine powder again: cocoa powder. Due to their drying properties, using cocoa powder into a cake usually requires the use of more or butter fat in the recipe. According to FDA guidelines, cocoa powder and cocoa are simply two different terms for the same powder, and are almost interchangeable; however, “cocoa powder” refers specifically to the raw powder, unsweetened. “Cocoa powder”, on the other hand, it could have a very small amount of cocoa butter present to enhance the flavor subtly.
Cocoa Powder :
Cacao Powder :
The chocolate liquor is formed by grinding the husks into a paste; other names for chocolate liquor are chocolate baking, bitter chocolate and cocoa liquor. The chocolate liquor forms the basis of milk and black chocolate, making it the main component of many common edible chocolates and chocolate chips and hot chocolate. The chocolate liquor is also sometimes mixed with alcohol to create chocolate drinks.
The cocoa butter is the last component of cocoa beans and is created first crushing the husks for chocolate liquor. The remains are pressed to separate the solids from fat, leaving the butter with a subtle flavor and aroma of cocoa. The cocoa butter is sometimes mixed with milk and sugar to make white chocolate.