FAQ: What's the difference between cacao and cocoa powder

Is there a difference between the cocoa powder you buy at the supermarket and the cacao powder we sell in store? Absolutely. It's all in the processing.

The main difference between cacao powder and cocoa powder is heat. Both powders are extracted from the cacao bean (which is also where we get cacao butter from) but cocoa powder is extracted from beans that are roasted. Cacao powder is extracted from beans that are raw. This gives cacao powder a higher concentration of minerals and fibre.

When you purchase cacao powder, especially from us, you're just getting the cacao powder and nothing else. It's in its raw state and it only has one ingredient, cacao powder. While most people think of chocolate as being sweet, the raw ingredient is actually bitter. Stirring cacao powder in to a glass of milk does not give you a sweet chocolate drink, it gives you a bitter one. Chocolate, whether it's cacao or cocoa based, needs to be sweetened with something before you eat it. In the case of cocoa powder, when you buy a box from the supermarket, there's a pretty good chance that cocoa isn't the only ingredient and it's already sweetened with cane sugar. If you're staying away from processed sugar, it can be difficult to find an unsweetened cocoa powder.

Cacao / cocoa is an antioxidant with an ORAC rating 40 times that of blueberries (dark chocolate blueberries anyone?). Pound for pound, it has more iron in it than beef or lamb and is the highest plant source of iron around (7.3mg per 100g but this can vary between brands). Unlike animal iron sources, you do need to have vitamin C with the cacao to be able to effectively absorb the iron in to your body. You could eat an orange, but the superfoods gubinge and camu camu have a much higher concentration. You can find both of these in the Loving Earth category of our store and you'll find that the addition of these superfood powders in to some of their raw chocolate is not a happy co-incidence, it's done for the maximum nutritional benefit of the product as a whole.

It is also a good plant source of magnesium, a mineral needed for many functions in the body and one that many of us are deficient in. Since fluoride inhibits magnesium absorption, getting a good source away from drinking tap water is a good thing. Using a fluoride water filter is even better.

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