Some of us can’t just decide on which to choose between coffee and cocoa. I mean, it’s not a bad thing to be friends with both without having a favourite. As a lover of both, have you ever been confused about the relationship between coffee and cocoa beans?
I mean, they seem somewhat like cousins with looks and perhaps taste. Are they indeed related? What are their features, similarities and differences?
This article shall answer these questions, as well as other related questions you probably have been wondering about, on coffee and cocoa beans.
As you may have known, coffee beans are seeds of the coffee cherry. Even though they are mostly known as beans, they are not beans in the real sense. Coffee beans are initially green from their trees. After harvest, they go through the process of roasting that gives them dark, rich, earthy tones and change their colours to dark brown or anything in between.
Cocoa beans look a lot like peas. A pod usually is more significant than the size of a human hand. You will find several beans in a pod, each the size of an almond.
Cocoa trees are evergreen, so the pods are harvested annually.
After the pods are opened, the beans are removed and roasted or dried. After this, they get processed into cocoa powder and cocoa butter. A single bean produces both butter and powder. To extract butter, the seeds go through pressing like the process of pressing olive oil from olive pits. The leftover dried bits then get milled into cocoa powder.
You can either process cocoa pods through Dutch processing or Broma processing.
Similarities Between Coffee Beans and Cocoa Beans
1. Growing Condition
Coffee and cocoa plants thrive in tropical climates, although coffee is a bit more delicate. Aside from the narrow temperature range required for coffee plants, they are both roughly cultivated similarly. This is why most coffee-producing countries also produce cacao.
One of the most significant similarities between cocoa and coffee beans is that they both have to go through roasting to realise the full potential of their colour and flavour. They both have a completely different taste until they are roasted.
Cocoa beans have fleshy white colour before roasting, while coffee beans are primarily green before roasting.
3. Stimulating Effect
The consumption of both chocolate and coffee has a stimulating effect on the human body. Alkaloid theobromine in chocolate stimulates the body but is not more effective than caffeine in coffee.
Differences Between Coffee Beans and Cocoa Beans
While cocoa pods contain several seeds, there is only one coffee bean in each coffee fruit. Also, coffee beans are smaller in shape compared to cocoa beans.
The result of coffee beans is to be turned into a drink, while chocolate from cocoa beans can be enjoyed on its own if not turned into a hot drink like coffee. Chocolate can also complement coffee drinks.
There is no significant calorie count in coffee beans. A cup of coffee usually has between zero to five calories when there’s no additive. With an average amount of sugar and cream, we get about 100-200 calories. Fancy coffees may have more calories.
Cocoa beans, on the other hand, have a bit more calories than coffee beans. Each ounce of cacao beans has about 175 calories. When you have a hot cup of chocolate with milk and sugar components, you get about 200 calories per cup.
Yes, your chocolate is sweet when it’s a finished product, either as a snack or beverage. However, cocoa beans on their own virtually have no sweetness.
Coffee beans, on the other hand, are not so delicious on their own, but they have a little bit of natural sweetness and an earthier flavour. When placed together in their natural form, coffee beans taste better. When mixed with additives, later on, cocoa beans have the upper hand.
Cocoa Health Benefits
Some significant health benefits of consuming cocoa include;
The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published in 2003 established that cocoa possibly has higher antioxidant activity that may help neutralise oxygen-based free radicals in the body than green tea, black tea and red wine.
It also helps fight against oxidative stress that can cause accelerated aging.
The flavonoids (flavanol) present in cocoa help maintain a healthy brain. These neuroprotective benefits may also help with straightforward learning and memory functions.
This flavanol in cocoa-based products can enhance blood flow to the brain.
Researchers established consuming cocoa-based products may help lower blood pressure. The antioxidants it contains help stimulate the production of nitric oxide. It is this nitric oxide that helps keep the blood vessels relaxed.
Taking flavanol-rich cocoa can help decrease the effects of UV-induced erythema, thereby reducing skin scaling and roughness. It may also aid skin hydration, density and elasticity. Epicathechin in cacao also increases oxygen saturation of hemoglobin and stimulates healthy blood flow in the skin. It is also often used in the preparation of some skin care products.
Reduces Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Cocoa powder can help release neurotransmitters like anandamide, phenylethylamine and serotonin in the brain. The process makes it possible for people with chronic fatigue to get a calming effect after consuming cocoa powder.
Coffee Health Benefits
The caffeine in coffee is known to be a stimulant that increases energy levels and also decreases fatigue through the help of some neurotransmitters in the brain.
Moderate consumption of coffee can help lower the risk of some neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. It may also help with reducing the risk of cognitive decline and Dementia.
Taking coffee helps to be physically active, and high levels of physical activity help support weight management in both men and women.
Drinking coffee may benefit heart health by reducing the risk of stroke, heart disease and heart failure.
Coffee consumption can also lead to a decreased risk of liver conditions like liver cancer, liver scarring, and liver stiffness.
Coffee and Chocolate Combination
Now, let’s talk about the magical combination of coffee and cocoa beans. The mixture of coffee and chocolate is called Mocha. It can also be called Cafe Mocha.
Mocha is the combination of coffee, chocolate and milk. So, if you are a great fan of these two cousins without having a favourite, Mocha to the rescue!
FAQs About Coffee and Cocoa Beans’ Relationship
Are Coffee Beans and Cocoa Beans the Same?
No, they are not. These fruits are two different fruits from two completely different plants with different tastes, calorie counts, and textures.
Are Cocoa and Coffee Related?
Although they are not the same, we cannot deny the fact that there are some similarities in their processing and features. More like cousins!
Is Coffee Made from Cocoa Beans?
Coffee is made from coffee beans, while cocoa beans produce cocoa powder and butter.
Why do Coffee and Chocolate Taste Similar?
Coffee and cacao beans used to make chocolate and coffee drinks have a tremendous flavour. The roast level of some coffee may get you thinking you have chocolate.
Does Chocolate Have Caffeine?
Chocolate does have caffeine, but not as much as coffee has.
Can I add Cocoa Powder to Ground Coffee?
It is not advisable to add cocoa powder to your ground coffee, especially in an espresso machine. Cocoa powder tends to leave a residue. Add it to the finished coffee brew instead.
From growing conditions to plants, fruits, taste and texture, Coffee and cocoa beans are not the same. They may have some similarities concerning roasting and look, but the difference is clear.