Do You Really Know Chocolate?

If you love chocolate, some key terms are worth knowing, such as what is cocoa powder? What is cocoa butter? What is raw chocolate? What is the difference between bittersweet chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate?

The primary raw material of chocolate is cocoa beans. Cocoa beans need to be air-dried and then roasted, crushed, blended, ground, refined, deacidified, and tempered to obtain the corresponding cocoa solids. And these cocoa solids cannot be summarized with the simple term “chocolate.”

01 Cocoa Bean

Cocoa beans are the cacao tree’s fruits, and each fruit contains about 20-25 cocoa beans. These beans are processed into cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and other food materials.

cocoa bean
cocoa bean

The cocoa beans’ production areas are mainly distributed in areas within 20 degrees north and south of the equator. The cocoa beans’ growth requires high temperature and humidity, but each region has its unique flavors, such as fragrant and smoky flavors. The main producing areas of cocoa beans are Central and South America, West Africa, and Southeast Asia.

02 Cocoa Solid Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder is a powdery substance obtained by cocoa beans through fermentation, coarse crushing, peeling, and other processes to obtain cocoa bean fragments, and then degreasing and pulverizing. It has an intense cocoa flavor.

cocoa solid
cocoa solid

Cocoa powder can be classified according to various methods. According to the fat content, it can be divided into high fat, medium fat, and low fat; according to the processing method, it can be divided into natural cocoa powder and alkalized cocoa powder. It is usually an unsweetened dark brown powder, often used to make chocolate, chocolate sauce, and other chocolate candies.

03 Natural Cocoa

Natural cocoa powder is light brown, usually accompanied by a strong cocoa aroma, and the taste is more alkaline. Cocoa powder is slightly bitter and is often used in formulas that need to increase the rich flavor of chocolate, such as brownies and chocolate cookies.

If the food maker needs to use baking soda, he should choose natural cocoa powder.

04 Dark Chocolate

It is mainly made by adding cocoa butter and sugar to cocoa powder. Generally, it contains a small amount of milk composition, and the full content does not exceed 12%. Due to the different cocoa reliable content, the flavor of dark chocolate is also different—the higher the cocoa reliable content, the bitter the taste.

In baking or cooking, dark chocolate with a reliable cocoa content of 70% to 99% is the best choice. If classified by sweetness, it can be divided into three types: sweet, semi-sweet, and unsweet. If only dark chocolate is mentioned in the recipe, it generally refers to semi-sweet dark chocolate.

05 Semi-sweet Chocolate

Semi-sweet chocolate is the most classic baking chocolate. It is made of chocolate syrup, cocoa butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. It usually contains 40%~62% cocoa solids and has a strong cocoa flavor.

Although there is no uniform sugar content standard among countries, the proportion does not exceed 50%. Semi-sweet chocolate is suitable for making desserts, and it can also replace sweet chocolate in some recipes.

The bittersweet chocolate, often used in baking and cooking, is made of pure chocolate syrup (or sugar-free chocolate), cocoa butter, vanilla extract, and a small amount of sugar.

If the formula clearly states that bittersweet chocolate is used, it cannot be replaced with semi-sweet or sweet chocolate, but semi-sweet chocolate can replace with bittersweet chocolate.

European bittersweet chocolate usually contains many cocoa solids: the higher the cocoa solids content, the less sweet the chocolate, and the more assertive the bitterness.

06 Ganache

Ganache is a simple mixture of cream and melted chocolate. It is usually used to make cakes and truffles, chocolate fillings, and chocolate sauces.


Due to different usage, the ratio of cream to chocolate also has specific differences. Generally speaking, the higher the chocolate content, the thicker the ganache’s texture; the higher the cream content, the smoother the mouth of the ganache.

07 Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate is composed of cocoa solids, dairy products, powdered sugar, spices, and surfactants. Cocoa solids should contain cocoa powder and cocoa butter. Dairy products can use whole milk, cream, condensed milk, or milk powder. When baking, it is best to choose a unique milk chocolate formula.Moreover, the fineness of the powdered sugar will affect the taste of milk chocolate. Choose the right Sugar Mill during the production process.

08 White Chocolate

White chocolate contains almost no cocoa powder, so it is not chocolate. Its raw materials mainly include cocoa butter, milk powder, milk fat, and sweeteners. The content of cocoa butter is generally not less than 20%.

White chocolate is ivory white and has a delicate and smooth taste. The high content of dairy products and sugar can reconcile the taste of other raw materials during baking. It is suitable for desserts such as white chocolate mousse.

09 Nama Chocolate Raw Chocolate

The raw materials of raw chocolate are cocoa powder, fresh cream, and various foreign wines. Raw chocolate is called raw chocolate because there is no heating process in the whole production process, and the raw materials are kept in the freshest state, so the shelf life is short.

Raw chocolate is not as hard as heated chocolate in the mouthfeel, but soft and smooth; combined with the slightly bitter cocoa powder sprinkled on the surface, it tastes extraordinary.

10 Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter is a creamy yellow hard natural vegetable oil extracted from processed cocoa beans. Although it contains a high saturated fatty acid content, it is mostly stearic acid, so it does not increase blood cholesterol.

Also, cocoa butter is rich in polyphenols, has a healthy antioxidant function, can protect the body against diseases, and slow down aging.

The melting point of cocoa butter is 34~38℃, so it is solid at room temperature, but it can melt immediately in the mouth. Generally, the higher the cocoa butter content, the smoother the mouthfeel of the chocolate.

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