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Some say 'Cacao' - some say 'Cocoa'.

Hey what is the difference between CACAO and COCOA? Well in true raw form? Nothing! by Terry Boyle (MA App Ling)

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In language use: Hispanic speakers use CACAO and COCOA interchangably since 1700s because it derived from their native linguistic roots. CACAO is the right or at least, the 'original' spelling and use... Theobroma cacao is the botanical name of the plant. Until the raw food movement, in  English-speaking countries, since the late 1700s, all cacao powder on the market was referred to as cocoa powder. Essentially, it is the same product as the RAW product in keeping with the original usage. i.e. the RAW CACAO is the RAW COCOA and they were/are, so long as RAW, the same product! This is linguistic fact as many language experts explain, there was a transition in the term which was referring to the exact same thing viz, the stuff from the CACAO/COCOA TREE - actually, Johnson's dictionary published the word 'COCO' next to the word 'COCOA' in the 1788 and there has been confusion ever since. And with the introduction of the 'Coco' brand, the processed product, which is heated, more confusion has arisen. Hence a tree produces RAW COCOA or RAW CACAO whatever you wanted to call it be you an Englishman or a Native! But the product Coco, which is also spelt as COCOA is not RAW. It is processed. Are you getting it yet? That RAW COCOA is RAW CACAO, but just 'COCOA' is the processed stuff! The market-speak via the health industry has exploited the use of the more exotic-sounding form of original word CACAO...

...herein lies the beginning of the issue that has become confusing. It started with the introduction of a process to extract the fat from the bean nib to make CACAO/COCOA BUTTER. All cocoa/cacao powder was RAW until now (depending on which term was interchangibly used) when it became distinguished as either alkalized (Dutch-processed) or non-alkalized. The cacao solids (they now call cocoa that are left in the process of making cacao butter are critical in the making of fine chocolate) - basically, the cocoa is the de-fatted nib of the plant. Now, today this is what COCOA AKA COCO means. But this stuff is not RAW COCOA or RAW CACAO (which are the same thing) neither now or then has it ever been so. Of course, no puritan of linguistics could deny these transitions as anything unusual, because language is a living thing and changes, but the marketers are also experts and the new meaning turns out great if promoting the old exotic original word CACAO to sell stuff (you know the raw Cacao/Cocoa the unprocessed stuff from the same tree). It kind of all just worked together to undermine the word 'COCOA' and its association now not so much with a tree, but a processed product. Now it is no longer interchangeable as a term. But it don't change the fact that RAW COCOA IS RAW CACAO, or that COCOA (or COCO) is not RAW and is not either of those!

Manufacturers of health products have usurped the original spelling of the word i.e. 'CACAO', in an attempt to distinguish their products from products which use roasted cacao beans (i.e. cacao powder now called 'cocoa' because it is no longer raw, but processed, it is the stuff that makes chocolate and drinks etc). But the lines as explained above became blurry as the trends in dieting co-mingled with trends in marketing and trends in semantic meaning. And as COCOA is now associated with the processed rubbish, it is easy to see the change is here to stay. But you don't get the same money for RAW COCOA because the word 'COCOA' is used. Now, you get three times the dollars because of the terms 'CACAO' (which is RAW COCOA!) Get it yet?

So, it is all about money and marketing of the exotic! You get a lot more for CACAO than COCOA because of the exploitation of the name! The bottom line is that RAW CACAO and RAW COCOA are the same thing, originally, linguistically and semantically and were interchangably used by locals - they were just simply 'cacao' and 'cocoa' because Europeans pronounced this bean-producing tree itself differently. However, the product COCOA/COCO is not raw - it has been processed at a higher heat to remove the butter components as mentioned already, and is inferior in nutritional and antioxidant benefits to the bean in its RAW state from the CACAO/COCOA TREE!  I am happy to buy RAW COCOA then because it is RAW CACAO. But I ain't buying no COCO OR COCOA, cause that stuf ain't raw!

I am now not sure if this is worth knowing...

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