This has always made me confused. When I google it, the results seem confusing. For example, some of them says:
Cocoa and cacao are kind of the same thing. They're also very different.
What is the difference between "cacao" and "cocoa"?
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"Cacao" is the bean that comes from the cacao tree, which is known by the scientific name of Theobroma Cacao. Cacao pods - large football-shaped fruits - grow off the trunk and limbs of the cacao tree, and cacao beans are found inside the pods.
The beans are harvested, fermented and dried. They are then cleaned and roasted, after which point the products are often referred to as "cocoa." In other words, "cocoa" is what the bean is called after it has been processed.
From Raw cacao vs cocoa:
The studies that boast of chocolate’s amazing health benefits are not referring to your average store-bought chocolate bar (damn misleading researchers). The chocolate that they’re referring to is raw cacao.
Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing un-roasted cacao beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cacao and removes the fat (cacao butter).
Cocoa looks the same but it’s not. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures. Sadly, roasting changes the molecular structure of the cacao bean, reducing the enzyme content and lowering the overall nutritional value.