Cacao butter vs. cocoa butter – is there any difference? It can get a bit confusing!
Some sources say that cacao butter and cocoa butter are the same thing. This is kind of true.
They’re the same product and used the same way, but they’re processed differently.
Generally, cacao butter is raw and cocoa butter is processed at a high temperature, making it not raw. It’s the same with cocoa powder and cacao powder.
But these names aren’t regulated, so if it company wants to make non-raw cocoa butter and call it cacao butter, they can.
So if it’s important to you that it’s raw, then be sure to read the bag or check the company website. I also find that the Q&As on the Amazon product page are helpful because you’ll often find people asking what temperature the cocoa butter was processed at.
Another issue is that raw isn’t a regulated term, either. Some companies might write that on their bag to mean raw, as in not cooked.
Refined vs. unrefined cocoa butter
This is something else you might come across when shopping for cocoa butter.
With food-grade cocoa (or cacao) butter, the products are almost always unrefined.
Some cocoa butter meant for beauty products might be refined. That means the color and aroma/test has been stripped.
You definitely want to use unrefined for your sweet treats! You won’t get that luscious chocolaty taste if you use refined.
What Is Cocoa Butter?
Cocoa butter is a type of vegetable fat that’s made from cocoa beans. Those beans are the seeds of the Theobroma cacao plant, also known as the cocoa tree.
Cocoa butter is found in many, or almost all, types of chocolate. However, it’s also a popular ingredient in products applied to the skin, like soaps, lotions, and creams.
How Is Cocoa Butter Made?
After cocoa beans have been harvested, they’re cleaned and then roasted. Then the shells are removed and the beans are ground down, producing a liquid substance called cocoa liquor.
The liquor is pressed, which allows the fat to be separated. And that fat is cocoa butter!
Although only part of the cocoa bean is converted into cocoa butter, the remaining parts can be used to make other substances. The entire cocoa pod can be used during this process.
What Is Cocoa Butter Used For?
While you’ll find cocoa butter used in almost all chocolate, it has lots of other purposes. Cocoa butter is naturally emollient, and because of that, it’s frequently found in beauty products.
You can find it in everything from soaps to lip balms to moisturizers and skin creams. Cocoa butter products can soothe irritated skin, heal skin that’s rough and dry, and so, so much more.
If you want more info about cocoa butter or need to know which brands are vegan, organic, gluten-free, etc. – be sure to check out my post on Is Cocoa Butter Vegan?