You may think that cacao and cocoa are the same thing, and you’re not entirely wrong, but the most hard-core cacao lovers would never put them in the same sentence. In case you come into contact with one of these individuals, or if you’re curious, we’ve got the differences below.
The Differences: Cacao v. Cocoa
The short answer is there’s no official standard for what makes “cacao” different from “cocoa” and the names are sometimes used interchangeably. There is only one type of plant, and it can be called by either name, so if you’re shopping for beans or pods it’s the same thing. However, when you get into concoctions like hot cocoa, there are differences.
Cacao is the O.G., with the most health benefits. Cacao powder, chips, and other food products that are explicitly labeled “cacao” are made directly from the beans of the cacao/cocoa plant. Cacao powder is minimally processed: the roasted beans are ground, and that’s it.
Cocoa, even if it’s the unsweetened kind, is cacao that has been processed more. With cocoa, the beans are turned into cocoa liquor, the cocoa butter is pressed out, and the remaining solids are ground and turned into powder. Cocoa often has other ingredients like sugar, milk powder, emulsifiers, and additives. Hot cocoa and baking cocoa, among others, are this more processed “cocoa” product.
Crio Bru is the first kind: 100% cacao, ground straight from the beans.
What is Brewed Cacao?
Brewed cacao is pure cacao, plus water, brewed like coffee. It’s the same idea as hot cocoa, but without the extra processing, so it drinks more like tea or coffee depending on how strong you make it. Crio Bru’s cacao is roasted, ground, and brewed like coffee in your coffee machine or French press, percolator, etc., and it’s got a kick that will perk you up. But it also the amazing flavor and aroma of dark chocolate, which is where it really competes with a cup of cocoa.
Benefits of Drinking Brewed Cacao
If you like chocolate and coffee, but you don’t want to sign up for a mocha, brewed cacao is the answer. Brewed cacao doesn’t have caffeine; instead, it contains a stimulant called theobromine that will heighten your focus, improve your mood, and make you more alert. Theobromine also helps to boost your metabolism for a fitness kick, and cacao is low in calories and carbs and helps to satiate you. Plus, cocoa polyphenols (a class of antioxidants) block an enzyme that absorbs fat… Superior to a mocha all around.
Drinking brewed cacao gives you lots of antioxidants, which means anti-illness and anti-aging. In fact, it’s got more polyphenols than red wine, blueberries, açai, pomegranates, and goji berries combined. It gives a good amount of magnesium which will help your heart, your brain, and your bones, even more than cow’s milk will. And it’s non-acidic — it’s nearly alkaline.
We don’t know many people who don’t love a good cup of hot chocolatey goodness. But why not benefit from it too? With a switch from “oa” to “ao” you can discover a world of difference that will make you healthier and happier. No more cocoa or coffee needed. Go cacao.
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