Cacao VS Cocoa

The Difference between Cacao and Cocoa

Cacao is the Spanish word for cocoa, while cocoa is the English word for cacao.

One of the major points of confusion in the chocolate world is the difference between “cocoa” and “cacao.” With only one letter different, it’s easy to understand how some might think this is just a simple misspelling. So, what’s the truth? Are cocoa and cacao the same thing? Can they be used interchangeably?

CACAO is used only for unprocessed products (raw food and superfoods industry). Raw cacao powder is not roasted, relatively unprocessed, and contains no sugar or cocoa butter. Cacao refers to the raw form of chocolate, including the tree and bean.

COCOA is used for processed products, this powder has been roasted, ground, and sometimes mixed with a sweetener and cocoa butter. Cocoa is the type of powder we more commonly see on the grocery store shelves and use in our baked goods.