What is the difference between "cacao" and "cocoa?"
Cacao is the bean that comes from the cacao tree, which is known by the scientific name of Theobroma Cacao. Cacao pods - large footballed sized fruits - grow off the trunk and limbs of the cacao tree and the beans are found inside the pods. Cacao powder is the raw ground powder of dried cacao beans. It can be found most health food stores and from online organic retailers. Cacao powder is not fermented, roasted or processed, but rather in raw form unlike Cocoa Powder.
After the Cacao beans or fermented, roasted and ground, the product is then referred to as "cocoa." In other words, "cocoa" is what the bean is called after it has been processed.
Is Cacao really that much better than Cocoa if it's the same bean?
Unlike processed dark chocolate, antioxidants are preserved in raw cacao. Benefits from keeping organic chocolate unheated include; much higher levels of the famous chocolate antioxidants (oligomeric procynanidins, resveratrol and the polyphenols: catechin and epicatechin) as well as the preservation of vitamin C, phenethylamine (PEA, the feel good neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of love!), Omega 6 fatty acids (which when heated become rancid and cause inflammation), tryptophan (a commonly deficient amino acid in those who consume a diet of mostly cooked food) and serotonin. So, not only is it packed with "good for you" stuff, but it tastes great and is an excellent craving reducer!