At PCF Foods, we use cacao powder instead of cocoa powder. It’s not a typo, but actually a major difference in nutrition and taste.
Cocoa is more common than cacao because it is a much faster process, only taking 5-7 minutes. Cocoa is made by roasting cacao beans and uses an alkali process to go from bean to powder. This process is an acid treatment and the heat from this treatment destroys many of the nutrients in the bean, making more empty calories in your chocolaty goodness. This process also turns the cocoa a darker color and causes the cocoa to be less acidic. As a result, the taste of chocolate made with cocoa is very different to chocolate made with cacao, and has become the more common flavor for chocolate products in the United States.
The process behind obtaining cacao powder, however, is much safer for your body. Raw cacao beans are cold pressed to remove the cacao butter then ground into a fine powder. This allows the enzymes in cacao to be protected and are kept available because of the absence of heat. Some of these nutrients aid in reducing risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, and can also reduce blood pressure. Cacao also has more antioxidants per gram than blueberries, which is why doctors will support eating dark chocolate. Beyond the nutrients and health benefits, using cacao powder keeps the naturally tart and acidic taste of the bean in your tasty recipes. Using cacao powder provides complexity and a fruitiness to the chocolates that use this powder process.
At PCF Foods, we are dedicated to great food that doesn't just taste good, but is good for you. Looking at the difference between the two, it seems obvious why we use cacao!