When it comes down to the battle of the beans we drink, Cocoa beans Vs Coffee beans, we need to look at it objectively and at the many different aspects.
Of course there is a natural bias here – being a coffee blog and all. However, in the name of professional integrity, I will remain as impartial as possible – I am also a chocolate lover and a sucker for white chocolate!
Let’s start with a little more accuracy – neither are actually beans: coffee beans are seeds from the coffee plant while cocoa beans are the seeds from the cocoa pod.
In a section I discuss the health benefits of coffee and cacao beans as a disclaimer and for clarification purposes, I am not a medic nor do I claim to be. No health advice is given nor should it be taken in the relevant section below. The information provided can easily be verified by highly trusted sources.
Cocoa Beans And Coffee Beans – What Are They?
Let’s talk a little about the two beans (ok seeds) in question.
The Cocoa bean, also known as cacao bean or simply cacao, is the fully dried and fermented seed from the Cacao plant from which cocoa butter and cocoa solids are extracted from. It is the basis of, and base solids that make chocolate.
In its raw form, contrary to common belief, they have aan earthy bitter taste with a texture that is similar to coffee.
Like coffee, they do contain caffeine, which I’ll talk about that in more detail later. The cocao tree and the cacao pod grow predominantly in the Amazon basin region of South America and all across the tropics – almost the same areas and elevations as coffee all over what you may know as “the coffee belt”.
Read: How much caffeine in espresso beans?
Coffee beans are the seeds of the coffea plant. They are often and accurately referred to as coffee cherries, inside of which is the seed which is what we use to brew a cup of coffee. It is thus fair as well as accurate to call them a coffee fruit.
It is the coffee seeds that get dried, roasted and then brewed. Most people and regular coffee drinkers will wrongfully think there are only two main coffee beans that make the coffee drinks that we enjoy – Robusta and Arabic.
This is pretty normal as these two contribute to 90% of all coffee beans sold. Arabica dominates, selling 2x as many as Robusta on a 60% Vs 30% basis. Often, both are used in a blend to enhance caffeine content.
The other two are Excelsa and Liberia that make up the remaining 10% (7% Excelsa, 3% Liberica). Notably, all 4 have very, very, very different taste profiles that even the average coffee drinker will notice.
All 4 start off as green coffee beans, literally undrinkable despite being reportedly very healthy; they have a very grassy taste. All coffee beans need to go through a roasting process to become the drinkable product that we know. Any bean can be taken to any of the 4 main roasting profiles: light roast, medium roast, medium-dark roast and dark roast.
It is this roasting process that brings out the taste of coffee that we are all familiar with.
Cocoa Beans Vs Coffee Beans Caffeine Content
While it is clear and very well known that Cacao pod fruit and products of it contain caffeine. The relationship is not something that is easy to compare as we must, for accuracy reasons, compare like with like.
There are many different coffee beans, coffee types, roast profiles, brewing methods and coffee drinks.
The same can be said by cacao consumers – there are different cacao trees and cacao roasting profiles like dark roasted cacao and cacao type that alter not just the taste, they also alter the caffeine content also.
What is clear, Cacao-based beverages have considerably less caffeine than a similar coffee drink. The difference can range from 50% less to as much as 95% less. That is to say it will have one half to one twentieth (1/2 to 1/20th) of the equivalent coffee drink.
This is what makes Chocolate a great, maybe even a better alternative to coffee as a late evening drink.
Cocoa Beans Vs Coffee Beans Health Benefits
Both coffee beans and cacao beans are known to have health benefits but the edge and by a long shot, goes to cacao consumers as they will have a reduced risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and heart disease as well as type 2 diabetes.
The health benefits extend to improved memory, attention span, processing speed of information and is good for your gut health.
There are also studies that indicate it is good for the reduction of wrinkles and stress. All the more reason to perhaps switch out your evening cup of coffee for a cup of cacao. Note, not talking about regular hot chocolate here, raw organic natural cacao.
There are health benefits in coffee as well, which also extend to cardiovascular disease, gut health, reduction in type 2 diabetes, gout, liver cancer and strokes.
To get maximum benefits for your health, you will need to reduce the amount of milk and sugar in your coffee and cacao.
Cacao, it really has to be said, is a true super food.
Which Has More Antioxidants Cocoa Or Coffee?
The winner here, and by a long distance, is hot cocoa. Hot cocoa in a study I found on research gate shows that it has more antioxidants than wine, coffee, green tea, white tea, black tea and almost all other common beverages.
1 cup of hot cocoa can contain as much as 325 mg of antioxidants. Incredible!
What Kind Of Cocoa Powder Is Healthiest?
Raw organic unsweetened cacao made from unroasted, dried, fermented cacao beans are best. They have gone through less processing and are said to be much healthier. It is also said by Healthline that good quality standard 70% to 80% cocoa is a great source of minerals and antioxidants.
Dark Chocolate Vs Coffee
When it comes to the health benefits, dark chocolate wins out. Taste wise, it is a hard choice as this is subjective and opinion based. Plus, you can mix them for a very good mocha.
I find it tough to decide on which! I’ll say in the morning – coffee, late evening dark chocolate. Which brings me to the caffeine point – by far, coffee has much, much more caffeine.
This is exactly why I said coffee wins for the morning time caffeine kick, which is the last thing I want late in the evening when I want to enjoy a nice hot (or iced) chocolate drink. An espresso late at night is never a good idea.
Brewed Cacoa Vs Coffee
I absolutely recommend you try the following drink – brewed cacoa. It is not you regular powdered cocoa at all, it is much better and much healthier.
What Is Brewed Cacoa?
This I absolutely have to admit that I have never thought of. It is brewed cacoa which simply brewing cacoa in the same way that you do for coffee, except you use cacao beans.
Over the past few days, I have experimented with French press, espresso and drip coffee. This is a game changer. Perhaps because I am new to it – (Percolated and Moka pot cacao are on my “to try” list). The chocolate flavor and taste is stronger and more present and more pronounced than regular powder.
This is the healthy way to enjoy chocolate – and probably the best way to enjoy this hot beverage. No calories, no fat, no sugar.
What is truly worth some serious experimentation is mixing both and attempting to brew a truly awesome mocha.
This is how the Incas make their hot chocolate – if you are curious.
It’s hard to say, I am siding with Brewed Cacoa here, and I seriously do recommend that you try it.
Is Brewed Cacao Good For You?
brewed cacao is great for improving your mood, and helps you lose weight. It contains all the right chemicals like tryptophan, serotonin, anandamide – all the right ones to uplift your spirits and aid in weight loss.
What Does Brewed Cacao Taste Like?
Brewed cacao tastes great, probably the best tasting hot chocolate you will try – period. It has a very strong and aromatic chocolate taste and is naturally sweet. It goes very well with a variety of milk, including almond milk, plant based milk and dairy milk.
Is Brewed Cacao The Same As Hot Chocolate?
brewed cacao is a more pure and less processed version of what you would consider as a regular chocolate. There is no extra processing and is more like a hot tea or chocolate. It is a properly intense flavored hot chocolate.
The best part is it is much healthier.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cocoa Beans Vs Coffee Beans
What Is Difference Between Cocoa And Coffee?
Due to their fat content, cocoa beans are less dense than coffee beans. Cocoa roasters are at a minimum able to roast twice as much (by weight) when compared to coffee beans. If a roaster has capacity for coffee of 15 kg, the capacity for cocoa is 30 kg.
Are Cacao Beans Better Than Coffee?
Cocao beans are healthier than coffee and make a great compliment to coffee and can be added to coffee. Cacao is 99.9% caffeine free and contains theobromine, which is very good for your heart.
It is not uncommon for me to add cacao to my coffee or enjoy cacao at night.
Can You Use Cocoa Beans Like Coffee?
Yes, brewed ground cocoa beans will quite probably make the best tasting cup of hot chocolate you have ever tasted. The cocoa beans that you brew like coffee are specially roasted whole coca beans and ground so that they are easy for brewing.
Use your coffee gear to brew them; experiment with which method you prefer.
Is Drinking Raw Cacao Good For You?
Yes, raw organic cacao is a legitimate superfood that is packed with nutrients, antioxidants and flavonoids. Research indicates they are great for aiding your circulation to heart and brain and reducing blood flow.
Will Cacao Keep Me Awake?
Cacao is low in caffeine, typically half as much as coffee and often even less. There is not enough caffeine to keep you awake or inhibit deep sleep. The tryptophan and magnesium content will help you have a calm night.
What Bean Is Higher In Caffeine?
Robusta coffee beans have considerably more caffeine than other coffee beans. It has on average 2.2 to 2.7 times as much caffeine as an Arabica coffee bean. Often an espresso blend will contain up to 25% Robusta to give the blend a caffeine boost.
Frappé-Ing It All Up – Cocoa Beans Vs Coffee Beans
The winner hands down in the Cocoa Beans Vs Coffee Beans battle is, perhaps surprising for a coffee blog to say is Cocoa Beans. I say this as I really, really do want you to go out and try it what is proper chocolate the real way and brew it using your coffee gear.
You will be amazed, and you will certainly enjoy the health benefits.
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