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Cacao vs. Cocoa: 6 Sweet Ways to Tell the Difference

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Just one tiny slip of a little “a” and cocoa becomes cacao. And trust me; these two foods share very different properties and health benefits (or lack thereof). Sure there’s cocoa your mom puts in warm milk to make you a hot, cozy beverage on a winter night, and cacao, which your vegan cousin uses to bake her famous black bean brownies. Maybe you enjoy both, but do you know the ins and outs of these very similar sounding foods? Let’s find out…

1. For the Love of Sweet, Sweet Cocoa

For those of you who like to curl up on the coach with a hot cocoa on a frigid winter’s eve, have no doubt sprinkled this dried powder, which is extracted from the fully fermented cocoa bean (theobroma, which translates in Latin to “food of the gods”) by roasting it at high temperatures.

The cocoa seed is used to make cocoa butter, cocoa solids, and most popularly, forms the basis of chocolate. And well chocolate-lovers can rejoice in the many health benefits of cocoa, it’s very different from raw cacao.

Dark Chocolate

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