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Cacao vs. Cocoa: Basic Differences between Cocoa vs. Cacao


Cacao vs. cocoa! When you go to a coffee shop on a cold winter afternoon, what’s the chocolate-flavored hot drink that will be one of your first choices? Is it cacao or cocoa? Though the barista probably won’t notice if you have or haven’t used the correct word, in writing it’s important to remember that cacao and cocoa refer to different things. Read on to never confuse these two words again.

Cacao vs. Cocoa

CACAO is a plant, native to South America, while COCOA is a powder made from roasted seeds of this plant.

Cacao can also refer to the beans of the cacao tree. When you call something a cacao product, e.g. powder, you mean that it is made from non-roasted cacao seeds. This is where the difference between cacao and cocoa is even more apparent: to make cocoa products, the seeds must be roasted at a high temperature.

Cocoa can be both a noun and an adjective. As a noun, it usually refers to that hot chocolate-flavored drink you can order in a coffee shop in your neighborhood. As an adjective, it describes products that are related to or made from cocoa, such as cocoa butter or cocoa powder.

Since these two words are related so closely, it’s possible to meet them in the same sentence. One example would be stating that, in order to buy pure cocoa powder, you need to look for a label that says “100% cacao“.

How do you remember which is which? One of the things you can do is look at the words cocoa and roasted. Both have only one “a” in them, so you can easily associate them with each other. This way, you won’t forget that cocoa refers to roasted cacao seeds.

Cacao vs. Cocoa Examples

  • Chocolate comes from the cacao tree.
  • The spread of the cacao tree started during the age of Colonialism, as did the spread of cacao beans, and of chocolate itself.
  • They valued the cacao tree.
  • Cacao trees grow well as understorey plants in humid forest ecosystems.
  • Venezuela’s cacao harvest begins in October and runs through September.
  • West Africa was the pivot of the cocoa trade.
  • They always had a cup of cocoa last thing at night.
  • Kate finished her cocoa, listening to Mr Blakey breathing while he drank his tea beside her.
  • This chocolate bar has the highest percentage of cocoa on the market.
  • Ted was making cocoa for two, using real sugar.

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Cacao vs. Cocoa: Basic Difference between Cacao vs. Coco

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