This is one of our most common questions and it is quite confusing on what to call brewed cacao. Unlike coffee and tea, brewed cacao can go by many different names and is often confused with hot chocolate, which is an entirely different product. We'll go over the different names of brewed cacao and go into how those names all relate and mean the same thing.
Brewed cacao and chocolate brew are the same drink that go by different names. Think of it like how some regions will call a fizzy beverage soda, pop, or "Coke". The same rule applies here. Here's a list of the different names brewed cacao can go by:
- cacao brew
- brewed cacao
- chocolate brew
- chocolate tea
- chocolate coffee
- cacao tea
- brewed chocolate
and that may not even be all of them. Let's get into some of these names to better understand what to call this delicious beverage.
We call it cacao brew here at Captain's Chocolate, but do refer to it as brewed cacao as well. For us, this is the simplest and most straight-forward name. Cacao brew, as the name suggests, is pure cacao that has been ground down and ready to be steeped in hot water to make a brewed beverage. There is no ambiguity when it comes to calling it cacao brew.
Cacao brew can also be commonly called chocolate brew/tea which is not technically incorrect, but we feel that having chocolate in the name may confuse customers into thinking it will be similar to hot chocolate/cocoa. These two products couldn't be further apart which we'll go into in a bit.
Chocolate is made from roasted cacao being ground for days at a time until the fats separate and a liquid has been created known as chocolate liquor (sometimes called cocoa liquor), which you can then turn into chocolate bars or baking chocolate. See why we wish to avoid calling it chocolate anything? But the name has stuck and it's not uncommon to see cacao brew referred to as such. Chocolate tea may convey the idea more accurately, but to the chocolate-unaware, they may still believe it is actual chocolate being made into a tea which may not sound all that appetizing to some people.
What cacao brew isn't, is hot chocolate or hot cocoa. These two beverages refer to post-processed cacao in the form of cocoa powder that is common in baking, or even chocolate products melted down with milk or water. In each scenario, the beverage is using actual chocolate, as in cacao that's been turned into a chocolate product, whether it is powder, bar, or baking form. You can make ground cacao without alkalizing it which has rightfully gained lots of popularity, but the process is mostly the same, just without washing it with a neutralizing chemical so it remains whole, pure cacao. With hot cocoa, you consume all the powder, but when it's brewed, you're steeping the ground cacao and extracting the flavor leaving behind wetted grounds.
Cacao coffee and chocolate coffee are tossed around occasionally, and we also believe this is quite misleading for a myriad of reasons. Some brands advertise that ground cacao is brewed like coffee so it can be called "chocolate" or "cacao" coffee. Again, it isn't coffee even though there are similar overlaps in chemical composition, but the stark difference is the flavor and the fact that cacao contains theobromine, a powerful compound that's not found in coffee. We feel it's best to avoid any term using chocolate and especially coffee, as many of our customers are drinking cacao to avoid coffee.
We firmly believe "cacao brew" accurately conveys our beverage and leaves no room for misinterpretation. However, we do describe the flavor as chocolate-y and will even say it's similar to a brewed chocolate experience, but this is purely to explain a flavor profile to a customer who has never heard of cacao or what it could taste like. Since chocolate is made from cacao and cacao does have a natural dark chocolate flavor, it's a good way to describe the flavor, but not a great way to describe the name of the beverage. For these reasons, we will always refer to it as cacao brew or brewed cacao.