…and here is my reasoning and experience of 15 years in the cocoa business, and as a chemical engineer.
Cocoa powder and cacao powder is the same.
What is considered “raw” cacao is suppose to be a cocoa powder that has been in a process that never exceeded 110 degrees Fahrenheit…which is already an almost impossible scenario, since cocoa beans are grown in the Equator, and you may exceed that temperature while drying in the patio under the sun covered with black linens (to heat it up and allow the fermentation of the bean)….and yes, you need to dry them, otherwise they will rotten in a few days, and the shell will be too difficult to peel off.
Back to cocoa powder….
ALL cocoa powder comes from the cocoa bean, which without the shell is called cocoa nib (a.k.a. cacao nib). The first step is grinding of the nib (which again, when you grind something to such small particle size you will create a lot of friction with -that’s right - heat!). That will give you the cocoa/cacao paste (a.k.a. cacao mass or liquor), which has about 50 to 56% fat (cocoa butter) in it…and ALL cocoa powders have to go through that stage.
Next stage is to take some of that butter away, which the raw community claims can be done through “cold pressing”. For any that don’t understand that term, cold pressing is done with oils like olive oil to preserve the oil almost intact by cooling the press plates while applying pressure (pressure generates heat, therefore it needs to be cooled). But here is a reminder, olive oil is liquid in room temperature, cocoa butter is SOLID, and it STARTS melting at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit … so, you cannot control and cool it to a point where it will be still in a solid phase, because it cannot be pressed and “flow” out.
Last operation is to grind the solids left in the press, again - heat…and there is your cocoa powder or cacao powder… you tell me if you call it “raw”, a term not defined by the FDA for cocoa, and that can be used by anyone just to sell the cocoa to a much higher price. Maybe that is why bigger, more serious companies don’t have this product, since they do not want to be liable for false advertising…
Regarding “Raw” cocoa nibs or cocoa beans…yes, that is possible, and the only concern is the high bacteriological plate count… but how much you want to train your immune system is up to each individual. And yes, the less manipulated the cocoa, the more polyphenols and healthy chemicals you will obtain from it.
There is also a difference between alkalized or ducthed powders, and the natural ones (which do not contain any potassium carbonate), being the second ones the ones containing more of the healthy properties (antioxidants). But that is totally different than claiming a “raw” cocoa powder.
So, that is my explanation, and again, I respect anyone’s opinion on what they want to eat or how they want to consume it. I just disagree with misleading the general public just to make juicy profits.