Coffee vs. Cacao: What’s The Best Choice?

In this article, we compare coffee vs. cacao so you can decide on what’s ideal for your drink.

Cocoa pod in a wooden table. Coffee vs. Cacao.
Cacao has a naturally bitter and aromatic quality

I can’t think of anything if that’s better than coffee and chocolate. When it comes to the world’s most popular beverages and desserts, they are the two beans that reign supreme. 

There are as many similarities as there are differences in the coffee vs. cacao comparison. Let’s take a look at what makes these two so similar and how cacao is emerging as a popular coffee alternative.

Coffee Vs Cacao: The Low Down

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages throughout the entire world while cacao is slowly rising in popularity as an alternative to a classic cup of brew.

Coffee is technically the seed of a wide range of small trees that are all in the same family. Cacao, on the other hand, only grows inside of the fruit of the cacao tree. Cacao is also the main ingredient in chocolate, but if you’re anything like me you definitely knew that one already. 

Coffee Vs Cacao
Coffee is technically the seed of a wide range of small trees that belongs to the same family

Many of us are looking to explore alternatives to coffee and cacao is emerging as one of the most popular options. Let’s take a closer look at some of the similarities and differences between coffee vs. cacao.



95 mg of caffeine per cup

24 mg of caffeine per cup 

Strong flavor 

Milder taste

Readily available everywhere 

Might be harder to find and more expensive 

Easy to brew with different methods

Fewer brewing methods

Decaf options available 

Decaf versions not very common (yet)

What Coffee And Cacao Have In Common

Let’s start with what they have in common. The first thing I want to mention is that they’re both delicious. Coffee and cacao have very similar flavor profiles.

This might be a bit surprising if you’re only used to experiencing cacao once it’s been turned into chocolate. Before becoming chocolate, cacao has a naturally bitter and aromatic quality to it. It’s very similar to a mild coffee that leans into its earthy notes. 

Both of these beverages can also handle your morning caffeine fix. One of the reasons why cacao has become so popular as a coffee alternative is that it has about 25% of the caffeine as coffee. This makes cacao a great option for people who are looking to bring their caffeine intake in check without removing it altogether. 

While both of these beings can be brewed at home with equipment you already own, this is where coffee vs. cacao starts to get a little different.

Coffee Vs. Cacao: The Differences

The biggest difference is going to be available between coffee vs. cacao. I love treating myself to a morning brew of cacao using my french press, but there are just so many more options for brewing coffee.

Coffee gives us everything from shots of espresso to caramel lattes. The world of brewing cacao beverages is just starting to get popular, which means that there are fewer options and a limited range of brewing technologies.

Outside of their availability, the biggest differences are going to be in taste and caffeine. Cacao has a milder flavor and there are fewer varieties of roasts currently available.

Cacao also has less caffeine than your average cup of coffee. Whether these qualities are good or bad all depends on how adventurous you want to be and what type of beverage you’re looking for.

What’s Better About Coffee?

Coffee is everywhere. You can get a quick cup of coffee on your way to work, at your favorite coffee shop, and adventuring in literally any corner of the world. Wherever people have gone, coffee is sure to be there.

Since coffee roasting is so much more popular, there’s a wider range of options when it comes to flavors. From dark roasts to light roasts. Cacao has yet to gain the popularity necessary to have this kind of innovation and impact.

What’s Better About Cacao?

Cacao can break you out of the mold.

Your morning caffeine fix doesn’t have to be another cup of the same coffee you’ve been drinking since time immemorial. Spicing up my morning beverage routine with the occasional cup of brewed cacao has brought some excitement into my routine. You might also be interested in learning if you can make hot chocolate with a milk frother.

Who Should Get Coffee (And Why)?

A close up of coffee beans
Coffee appeals even if you hated sugar or sweet drinks

Coffee is the clear winner of the coffee vs. cacao debate if you’re looking for the most caffeine for your buck as well as more options when it comes to varieties of beverages and brewing methods. Coffee appeals even if you don’t like sugar or sweet drinks and the sheer array of brewing options makes it a good choice.

Who Should Get Cacao (And Why)?

Cacao can help you explore new alternatives to getting your morning caffeine fix. There’s also less caffeine in cacao so you can still get that early morning pick-me-up while cutting back on your overall caffeine intake.

If you have a sweet tooth and don’t need a caffeine pick-up, choose cacao. Cacao and coffee also go great together as these are the two ingredients of mocha. 

No matter which bean you pick, you’re in for a treat!