Blog: Raw Food for One
by The Wanted

Cacao Nibs Versus Cacao Powder

At the beginning, I thought it would be "no contest"!

Date:   7/10/2009 11:00:13 PM   ( 13 y ) ... viewed 17902 times

I wasn't really planning to review a comparison between cacao powder and cacao nibs. I had been excited and happy when cacao powder first came out and never really looked back. I had a shadow of a doubt but never dwelled on it. Until today.

I've been enjoying a cacao drink nearly daily lately and was almost out of cacao powder. Went to the nearby health food co-op, and they were OUT of the cacao powder. They had the Navitas organic "Cacao Power," though. In other words, they had raw organic cacao NIBS but no powder. The nibs are a little bit cheaper than the powder though the same weight.

I really wanted my chocolate today, and I DO have an awesome and big and heavy 9-inch-diameter Thai granite mortar and pestle, so I thought what the heck, I used nibs before and used (a different, i.e., not as good) mortar and pestle and I can do it again. When home, put a tablespoon or two of the nibs in the mortar and pestle and plundered it down to something you might call a powder in very little time. As I was concocting my drink, I first put in the blender the cacao powder I still had left from before -- and then threw in the newly pulverized raw cacao.

I was astonished to see the difference in color of the two! They were both the same brand, both "raw," both organic and supposedly the only difference was that one bag was the nibs and the other bag was the powder. However, seeing the two sit in the bowl side by side, I was astonished to note the vast difference in color of the two! While my freshly pulverized nibs were a deep and dark, rich brown the cacao powder was so light as to be 3 to 5 (or more) shades lighter than the newly powdered cacao nibs.

I don't know what method is used to make the powder, but I'm convinced just by seeing the color difference that the powder is more processed than I want. I am very happy to have run out of cacao powder when the store was out of the powder too or it could have been years before I would have come to this same conclusion.

If I still had a lot of cacao powder I would still eat it, sure. I just would switch to the nibs when re-ordering.

Oh. This reminds me of the first (and only) song I ever wrote, when I was about 10 years old and learning rudimentary bits of Spanish language in school. Sorry I don't know how to convey the tune that goes with it, other than to say it is a Mexican tune. Note: chocolate is pronounced choe-koe-LAH-tay in Spanish (choe and koe rhyming with Joe). Or at least, that is what our Spanish teacher said, and that is how it is pronounced in this song:

"Aiye, yie-yie-yie,
Oh choe-koe-LAH-tay
es un amigo mia
Oh voy contarle!"

That's the whole song, which I never forgot. I did however forget what some of the words meant over the years. According to at least one bilingual friend, the song says,

"Aiye, yie-yie-yie
Oh chocolate [or Oh cacao]
is a friend of mine
I sing about it!"

Well, that does pretty much sum up the sentiment anyhow, eh? (smile)

Cheers,
Michele

P.S. For those without a good mortar and pestle, another way to get something approaching a powder from the cacao nibs is to use an electric coffee grinder -- that two-armed kind that spins.

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