There remains widespread debate over the usage of cacao vs. cocoa. The word cacao can be traced back to indigenous Mesoamerican languages, whereas cocoa is an exclusively English word that is believed to be the result of an English importer misspelling cacao.
Additionally, there are bean-to-bar chocolatiers who use the word cacao when referring to cacao pods and cacao beans, and cocoa when referring to their processed form such as, say, cocoa powder. At To’ak, we prefer to use the original cacao to refer to every aspect of our chocolate, from the pods and beans to cacao powder.
Is Cacao the Same As Chocolate?
Theobroma cacao, also known as the cacao tree, grows cacao pods. Within each pod are 20 to 50 cacao beans, and within each bean is the cacao nib used to make chocolate. Dark chocolate, in its purest form, is 100% cacao. However, it is often paired with sugar, vanilla, lecithin, and other ingredients (such as milk solids in the case of milk chocolate) to complement or enhance its flavor.
While many of our Signature and Origin rain harvest collections are not 100% cacao, they may be considered “pure” as they contain only cacao and cane sugar. Our 100% cacao chocolate bars are considered some of the smoothest and most approachable 100% bars in the market. Decadent and with very minimal bitterness, they serve up complex and intriguing flavors.
Is Cacao Chocolate Healthy?
There are plenty of health benefits to enjoying cacao chocolate. It’s packed with polyphenols, flavonoids, and antioxidants which offer anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects. It also contains theobromine, which is a stimulant similar to caffeine but without the jitters or energy crash.