Cocoa vs cacao... should you care


While I was doing a pantry revamp with a client this week, we came across 100% cocoa that she uses in her smoothies. Momentarily, I was thinking oh no, no honey, you want cacao.

But then I got to thinking... Is that just superfood hype? Did they add an a in place of an o so that we would have to sound fancy while asking what aisle it's in? Thus they could charge more for it?

After doing some research I got some clarification and I want to share it with you guys so that we can be more informed when buying powdered chocolate :)


Cocoa butter: the fleshy part of the cacao fruit, outside of the bean. This can be used as lotion or to make other dessertly treats. Let your imagination run wild with that one ;P

Cacao powder: ground up cacao bean and can be used in smoothies, desserts, and even chilis.

Cacao nibs: roughly chopped cacao beans. I like to add these for the last 5 seconds of smoothie blending or on the top of some nice-cream for a little crunch.


Similarities: Cacao & Cocoa

  • Great source of fiber.
  • Antioxidants to prevent oxidative damage to your cells.
  • Promote anti-inflammation in your body (inflammation is a primary cause of disease and weight gain).


  • Dubbed a superfood.
  • Excellent source of magnesium: Lowers blood pressure, strong bones, and healthy nervous system activity.
  • Great source of iron
  • PEA (phenylethylamine) known as the "love drug" which can boost your mood. Must be why I need it at 2pm Mon-Fri :P
  • $$$


  • Roasted at very high temperatures which removes a lot of the bitterness of raw cacao
  • Often part of a mixture with added sugars, dairy products, artificial sweeteners, and fillers.
  • $$

Get your cacao on with some delicious homemade chocolate sauce topped with banana nice-cream.