When you're buying chocolate, you're likely to come across a cocoa mass percentage on the packaging. It might say 70%, 80%, or even higher! But what does this percentage really mean? Is a higher percentage always better? In this blog post, we'll dive into the world of cocoa percentage and unravel the mystery behind it.
What does Cocoa Percentage Refer To?
Cocoa percentage refers to the amount of cocoa solids in a bar of chocolate. Cocoa solids are the non-fat portion of cocoa beans that are ground into a fine powder. They contain all the flavours and aromas that make chocolate so delicious. The higher the cocoa percentage, the more cocoa solids there are in the chocolate.
Generally speaking, a higher cocoa percentage means a more intense chocolate flavour. This is because cocoa solids have a bitter taste. As a result, chocolate products with a higher cocoa percentage tend to be more bitter and less sweet. They also have a stronger, more complex flavour profile. If you're a fan of dark and bittersweet chocolate, look for chocolates with higher cocoa percentages.
However, it's worth noting that cocoa percentage is not the only factor that determines the flavour of chocolate. Factors such as the origin of the cocoa beans, how they were roasted, and the amount of added sugar and other ingredients added to the chocolate can also have a significant impact on the final flavour. That's why two chocolates with the same cocoa percentage can taste very different.
What else can affect the flavour?
With many vegan, non-dairy chocolates, the additional ingredients that contribute towards the mouth feel also contribute massively towards the additional flavour. Whilst many vegan chocolates such as those created by Pure Heavenly only contain natural flavourings and ingredient, with this type of chocolate the cocoa percentage is just one of the factors.
In addition to affecting flavour, cocoa percentage can also affect the texture and mouthfeel of chocolate. This is because cocoa solids contribute to the viscosity of the chocolate, making it thicker and creamier. A higher cocoa percentage often results in a denser and more substantial chocolate that takes longer to melt in your mouth. This is one reason why high cocoa content chocolate is often favoured by chocolate connoisseurs.
The type of chocolate you buy also makes a massive difference as dark chocolate bars for instance have a lot higher levels of cocoa content than other types of chocolate such as Milk Chocolate and White Chocolate. White Chocolate for instance tends to have a cocoa percentage of between 35-40%, whereas a milk chocolate bar (silk chocolate to our loyal fans) typically has a cocoa mass index of between 40-50%.
Which Percentage is best for me?
So, how do you know what cocoa percentage is right for you? It really comes down to personal preference. If you prefer sweeter chocolate, look for lower cocoa percentages. If you prefer a more intense, unsweetened chocolate with a complex flavour, go for higher cocoa percentages. And if you're not sure, experiment with different percentages and find what works best for you.
Cocoa percentage is a useful way to gauge the intensity and flavour of chocolate, but it's not the only factor that matters. The next time you're shopping for chocolate, pay attention to the cocoa percentage and keep in mind how it might impact the taste and texture of the chocolate. And most importantly, don't be afraid to try different percentages and flavours to find the one that you enjoy the most. Happy chocolate tasting!