Chocolate Glossary

Below, you will find some commonly used chocolate terms along with their definitions:


Nutrients and enzymes that slow down or prevent tissue cells from oxidizing.

Bittersweet Chocolate:

Dark chocolate contains a minimum of 35% chocolate liquor. While both bittersweet and semi-sweet fall under this definition, traditionally, bittersweet is reserved for chocolate with at least 50% chocolate liquor.


Also known as cocoa. Cocoa beans: seeds from the pod of a Theobroma tree, native to the tropical Amazon forests. Cultivated worldwide in tropical rainforests within 20 degrees latitude of the equator.

Cocoa Nibs:

The center (meat) of the cocoa bean. When ground, the nib becomes chocolate liquor.

Chocolate Liquor:

The ground-up center (nib) of the cocoa bean, known as unsweetened chocolate. Cocoa liquor is extremely bitter and contains no alcohol.

Cocoa Butter:

The fat extracted from the cacao bean or cocoa liquor itself.

Cocoa Powder:

Cocoa solids resulting from pressing cocoa butter out of chocolate liquor. Available in different fat levels, natural or dutched/alkalized. Natural cocoa is the light brown powder resulting from pressing, while dutched or alkalized cocoa powder comes from treating cocoa nibs with alkalizing solutions.


Chocolate with a very high percentage (at least 30%) of cocoa butter. This type of chocolate, due to its high ratio of cocoa butter, melts and tempers easily, creating a smooth, silky texture. Ideal for tempering and enrobing candies, available in dark, milk, and white chocolate varieties.


Also known as confectionery coating. A blend of sugar, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, and other products.


A machine used to keep chocolate under constant agitation, aiding in achieving desired flavors and liquefy the refined chocolate mass.

Dark Chocolate:

Made from cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin, and vanilla. Optional to add cocoa powder.

Dutch Process:

A treatment used during cocoa powder making, treating cocoa solids with an alkaline solution to neutralize acidity, darkening the cocoa and developing a milder chocolate flavor.

Fat Bloom:

Resulting from inadequate tempering or temperature abuse of properly tempered chocolate. Visible as a dull white film on the chocolate surface with a soft or crumbling texture. A visual and textural defect, but safe to eat.


Naturally occurring elements in chocolate, acting as antioxidants that protect the body from aging and damage caused by free radicals.


Made by heating heavy cream poured over chopped dark chocolate, stirring to create a mixture.

Grand Cru Chocolate:

Also known as single-origin chocolate, created with beans from a specific area or region.


A natural emulsifier used in chocolate to improve flow properties.

Milk Chocolate:

Chocolate with at least 10% chocolate liquor and 12% milk solids, combined with sugar, cocoa butter, lecithin, and vanilla. Optional to add cocoa powder.


A filling made of ground caramelized almonds or hazelnuts.

Semi-Sweet Chocolate:

Also known as bittersweet chocolate, containing a minimum of 35% chocolate liquor but sweeter than bittersweet chocolate.

Sugar Bloom:

A dull white film on the chocolate surface due to surface moisture dissolving sugar and recrystallization. A visual and textural defect caused by cold chocolate exposed to warm humid environments.

Sweet Chocolate:

Containing a minimum of 15% chocolate liquor with varying amounts of sweeteners and cocoa butter.


A process preparing chocolate involves heating and cooling to solidify with stable cocoa butter crystal form.


An irregularly shaped confection of ganache coated with chocolate and cocoa powder exterior.

Unsweetened Chocolate:

Same as “chocolate liquor.”


Extracted from split vanilla beans, used for flavoring.


A compound extracted from vanilla beans or manufactured for adding vanilla flavor to chocolate.


Measure of melted chocolate’s flow characteristics.

White Chocolate:

Made from cocoa butter and sugar without any cocoa liquor.


The process of separating the dry shells (husks) of cacao beans from the cocoa nibs for chocolate production.

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