Why would we say “I plant Cacao trees, you are reaping cacao beans, she loves cocoa nibs”…?
…And why can’t we say “we drink cocoa juice, you are visiting a cocoa plantation, they can’t make a tiramisu without cacao powder” ?
…And why are we called “The Cocoa Project”, and not “The Cacao Project”?
Cacao refers to a tropical plant, the Theobroma cacao tree. It can also refer to the beans of this plant and a specific type of product made from the beans. Products made from non-roasted cacao seeds are cacao products, while cocoa products are made from roasted cacao seeds.
To appreciate this distinction, you need to understand about the chocolate making process from bean to bar, which consists in the following main steps:
Each step of the process transforms the cacao fruit into a product (see below). If the product is unroasted, it is a cacao product. For example, the cacao juice is made by pressing the wet beans freshly collected form the cacao pod, to extract its juice. This step happens before the roasting process, and therefore we call the product cacao juice.
If the product is roasted, it is a cocoa product. For example, nibs obtained by crushing roasted beans are called cocoa nibs. See the illustration below, it’s that simple!
And to conclude this post, what would have meant “The Cacao Project”? The Cacao Project would mean a focus on the cacao tree. We are firm believers in the importance of partnering very closely with our farmers, to bring best practices and sustainability at the level of the plantation where cacao trees are farmed. You obviously need great cacao to make great cocoa products. But cocoa is the link from the cacao tree to the chocolate. Our expertise lies in this connection. The way we make chocolate is through this connected process. The Cocoa Project is what we are and what we do.
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