What is the difference between “cacao” and “cocoa”?
The simple answer is that cacao refers to the fruit in it’s most raw form. The base of this word comes from the Latin plant name given to this small under story tropical tree by the “Father of Taxonomy” Swedish born Carl Linnaeus. The name is a literal translation of the Central Mexican Mayan people’s cherished belief that cacao was “Food of the Gods”.
Cacao remains cacao until it is processed. Once winnowed and roasted, a portion of the cocoa butter is pressed out of the beans and only then is it properly referred to as “cocoa”. When the cacao beans are fully processed without removing any of the rich cocoa butter, sometimes sugar, emulsifiers, and milk solids are added to create our beloved chocolate.
“Raw” chocolates are never fully roasted or processed and are mostly referred to as “raw chocolate” or “raw cacao”.