Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Note on Cocao vs. Cocoa

I've noticed that there seems to be no universal understanding or use of a distinction between the concepts "cocao" and "cocoa." I've seen them used interchangeably, even by chocolate companies. While there may be no agreement on how such terms should be used, maybe even no ongoing conversation about it, I'd like to make explicit to my readers that I personally do make a distinguishment that has an effect on the meaning of what I write.

When I write "cocao" I refer to the actual substance of which pure chocolate is composed of, so when I write about cocao percentages and all that I'm referring to the pure chocolate content of a product. A 70% cocao chocolate bar, for instance, is 70% pure chocolate and 30% other stuff. If I were to ever write about "cocoa," however, I would be referring to the beverage. A subject where this distinguishment comes in handy would be cocao powder vs. cocoa powder: cocao powder would simply be chocolate powder, fats removed and whatnot, while cocoa powder would be chocolate powder processed a different way and intended to be used as a beverage mix. I also pronounce the words differently: cocao as ko-kow and cocoa as ko-ko.

In the future let this be the guide for understanding my intentional use of these concepts. Chocolate companies may treat them as interchangeable or as sharing the exact same meaning, but I don't.

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