It is hard to resist the exquisite taste of cacao powder. It is well known that cacao is popularly used in almost every dessert, sweet drink, and food like protein bars, shakes, or snacks.
Cacao powder is a product that comes from raw cacao nibs that didn’t go through the process of roasting. It has a unique taste because the butter is not taken out of the product, and you can find it as a part of many natural, vegan, and raw food recipes or products.
It is less soluble than the roasted types of powder, so you need more time while preparing a dessert.
Because of its more natural form and some components, cacao powder is an acid-forming food.
Related: Is Chocolate Alkaline Or Acidic?
What is the pH of cocoa powder?
Olmecs and Mayans are the first civilizations to record the trees’ cultivation process and write the first evidence about the existence of cocoa beans.
They would ferment the nibs, roast them and make them as a powder. Later in the 19th century, Dutch chemist C.J Van Houten invented the alkalization process of cocoa powder. In this process, the powder gets some alkali that gives a better rich taste and color.
Nowadays, alkalization is spread everywhere, and almost all cocoa powder is alkaline.
So, you may be a little bit confused with cocoa/cacao writing. Yes, cocoa and cacao are different types of products that is derived from nibs.
Cocoa beans are the raw ingredients where cacao comes from, and they are the source of all the tasty chocolate products that we love.
In order to make cocoa powder, the nibs must go through a process of roasting and alkalization. This is why cocoa powder has an alkaline pH value of 7-8.
Are cacao grounds acidic?
Cacao grounds are produced by blending the roasted cacao beans and then grinding them. The grounds represent a combination of nibs and husk.
Cacao grounds consistency can vary depending on the grounding method that a person will choose. But it is similar to coffee grounding.
Cacao grounds are natural and didn’t go through the process of alkalization. They are roasted, and because of that, they are considered acidic products.
Is cacao powder non-alkalized?
Cacao powder is the raw form of the powder product. It is made from only fermented seeds, which are then dried at low temperatures and, in the end, milled like a powder. In this process, all nutritional values are preserved, and the full flavor is intact.
Cacao powder is used in many healthy recipes, smoothies, and bakeries exactly because of its unique and rich taste.
Modern cuisine uses cacao powder even in salty main dishes like pork ribs or grilled meats.
Cacao powder is a product that comes in natural raw form, produced from cocoa nibs only with blending. It has a strong flavor and needs smaller doses once it is used.
Because it is a standard product with a written process of production, it is non-alkalized.
Related: Is Cacao Powder Alkaline Or Acidic?
What is alkalized cocoa powder?
Back in history, the 19th century is the greatest period that shaped the cocoa and chocolate products that we enjoy today.
Rudolph Lindt developed the first chocolate in 1879, leading to chocolate flavor improvement. Daniel Peter was the first person who successfully incorporated milk into chocolate in 1876. We should mention, that many others tried and failed.
In 1847, Joseph Fry added additional cocoa butter into the chocolate, giving us the ability to form the chocolate bars of today. In order for Joseph Fry to have access to cocoa butter, Casparus Van Houten developed and patented the cocoa press in 1828.
So, how can we explain cocoa alkalization? Cocoa alkalization is a process that adds value to the cocoa in order to get a better taste, and color of the powder. Alkalization starts with the treatment of cocoa nibs with a food-grade alkali solution to raise the pH, producing darker colors and more robust flavors.
We can break down the process of alkalization into three main categories:
- Nib alkalization
- Cocoa cake alkalization
- Chocolate liquor alkalization
Each approach has distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Cacao powder vs. cocoa powder difference and alkalinity
Isn’t it all a part of chocolate? Well, some techniques are employed in making different products like cocoa and cacao. If you ask me, it is up to a person’s taste to choose the better one.
1. Cacao powder:
Cacao has considerable popularity these days because of its health benefits. It is produced from fermented beans and no roasting is applied. That is why it has great nutritive values.
Because cacao powder is the raw form of cocoa nibs, and it is an acidic product. So, when we discuss pH value, it has a low pH value.
On the other hand, for nutrition values and mineral aspects, cacao powder has a more excellent score.
2. Cocoa powder:
It is for sure that you know better the cocoa powder taste, as it’s commonly used for baking brownies or chocolate cakes. Because of the alkalization process during the making of cocoa powder, it is an alkaline food product.
Cocoa is the powder you know and always buy for baking, cooking, or preparing hot chocolate. The process of getting cocoa powder starts with the roasting of the fermented beans. After that, they are crushed into small pieces that you know as cocoa nibs that are blended into cocoa liquor.
From here, the cocoa liquor is pressed to separate both cocoa solids and cocoa butter— and in this part, all of the butter is taken out. Then is the grounding process and the process of alkalization.
Depending on the cocoa varieties, darker or lighter powders can create an intense, rich, chocolatey taste. Because of the alkalization process, cocoa powder is an alkaline product.
Related: Is Date Sugar Alkaline?
There is an incredible difference between cocoa and cacao powder. Basically, the process of production is the main thing that separates them.
Cacao powder is an acid product but still has many health benefits for the body and is highly nutritious. This is because it is a simple, natural, and raw form directly produced from cocoa beans.
Cocoa powder, on the other hand, is an alkaline product thanks to the process of alkalization that it goes through, but with the high temperatures treatment, it loses some of the valuable nutrients.