What is Cacao?

  • 2 min read

The Difference Between Cocoa and Cacao

Almost everyone enjoys chocolate, but few understand the subtle intricacies that give different kinds of chocolate their flavor. Terms such as cacao and cocoa can be easy to mix up and hard to understand for those unfamiliar.

Those who have visited Dilettante’s Mocha Cafés will recognize the chocolate scale. This scale presents five different kinds of chocolate with numbers relating to associated to a "cacao percentage".

A cocoa bean is made of two things, sweet and buttery cocoa butter and solid bean parts. These solids are called cacao. Depending on how much cacao is included in chocolate, the taste and appearance will change. A cacao percentage shows the ratio of solid chocolate bean parts to other ingredients such as vanilla, milk and sugar.

For instance, white chocolate uses more cocoa butter and less cacao, giving it a familiar silky-smooth taste and appearance. On the other end of the spectrum, dark chocolate is made with more cacao, giving it a sophisticated, rich, and almost fruity taste.

The amount of cacao in chocolate can be processed to yield a higher or lower percentage. Dilettante’s Ephemere Sauce comes in two varieties: Bittersweet and Semisweet. While both are dark chocolate, the higher cacao percentage in the bittersweet sauce gives a darker taste than the semisweet.

Cacao often comes with important nutrients, which can be lost when creating sweet chocolate with a lower cacao percentage. That is the reason why dark chocolate is generally healthier than light chocolate.

The diversity in chocolate allows for a lot of creativity, not only in how it is made but also in how it is arranged. Some chocolate assortments will focus on one specific flavor, while others will move across the cacao percentage spectrum.

When buying chocolate for others, try to consider their tastes. Think about whether they are the kind of person who enjoys sweet and light flavors or savory and darker ones. Whether they prefer to have something they know they will enjoy or are comfortable branching out into something new.

To find a favorite chocolate flavor easily, Dilettante’s 4-piece Deluxe Chocolate Truffle Gift Box is the place to start. This assortment features a Dark Chocolate L’Orange, White Chocolate Praline, and Ephemere in Dark and Milk Chocolate, perfect to taste each of Dilettante’s gourmet blends and to personally find the perfect amount of cacao.

Shop Dilettante Chocolates

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Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Ryan has a fondness for the outdoors, music, and coffee. Some of his favorites are Dilettante's Chocolate-Covered Bing Cherries and L'Orange Truffles. Through his writing and content, he hopes to grow the Dilettante community.