How To Speak “Chocolate”

Melted Chocolate

Chocolate Glossary



A dullness, graying or white discoloration of the surface of the chocolate. Can be created by poor tempering, or temperature changes, and is caused by one of two things. The fat separating out of the chocolate, or from moisture on the surface of the chocolate dissolving the sugar and causing it to re-crystallize on the chocolates surface. Both forms of bloom are not harmful, do not affect the taste of the product (although sugar bloom can create a crumbly texture), and are safe to eat. Tempering (see below) the chocolate is a way to prevent blooming.

Cacao Beans/Cocoa Beans


Grown in tropical rainforests within 20° latitude of the equator, from the Theobroma Cocoa Tree. The almond-sized beans are grown inside a hard pod, about the size of a football. Each pod contains between 30-40 beans. Cocao and cocoa spellings are used interchangeably.


Pronounced “kuh-KOW” or “kuh-KAY -oh”. On a chocolate label it can refer to its total cocoa bean content of the chocolate or cocoa solids percentage, or chocolate liquor or cocoa mass. Not to be confused with cocoa powder.

Cocoa Powder (Natural or Broma Process)

Pure chocolate liquor that has been heated and pressed to remove most of its fat, then pulverized into a powder. It has a lighter color, a high acidity level, and a strong chocolate flavor. Because of its high pH, it acts as a leavening agent in recipes that also call for baking soda. The two react together and create a rise in batters of baked goods. Raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing un-roasted cacao beans (or roasted at very low temperatures). It has substantially more nutritional value than processed cocoa powder, however they both can be used interchangeably. One thing to be aware of is that raw cocao powder does a have more pronounced bitter taste, so depending on what types of recipes you use it in, you may notice a difference in your the overall taste of your baked good, etc.

See also
How to Brown Butter


Cocoa Powder (Dutch Process)

Pure chocolate liquor that has been heated and pressed to remove most of its fat, then pulverized into a powder. Then an alkaline solution is added during to neutralize its acidity. The result is a dark color with a mild and smooth chocolate flavor, which makes it the cocoa of choice for most baking. It also is much more soluble which makes it great for dissolving in liquids like hot chocolate.

Cocoa Butter


Ivory in color, with little flavor, it is the fat from the roasted cocoa bean. It is what allows the chocolate to become fluid when melted, and crisp when hardened. Cocoa butter contributes to chocolate’s creamy smooth texture, and since it melts at body temperature, it’s what makes it so decadent as it dissolves on the tongue.

Chocolate Liquor

The liquid state of the ground up cocoa nib. Contrary to its name, it contains no alcohol.

Cocoa Nib

The center of the cocoa bean which is roasted and what is used to create the base ingredient in chocolate (chocolate liquor).


Made from soy, it is a natural emulsifier that is added to chocolate to promote fluidity when the chocolate is melted.

Raw Chocolate

Made from unroasted cocoa beans, and has not been processed, heated, or mixed with other ingredients.

See also
How To Make Candied Orange


Step 3 - bring back up to temperature

The process of melting and cooling chocolate, to create the perfect crystal structure within the chocolates’ cocoa butter. Once hardened the chocolate becomes, glossy and shiny, breaks with a crisp snap, has a higher melting point (so won’t melt in your fingers when handling), and prevents blooming. Learn how to temper chocolate.

More in The Gluten Free Club Chocolate Series:
Tempering Chocolate  |  Chocolate’s History & Future  |  Types of Chocolate & Those Most Likely to Contain Gluten

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for the info on chocolate. I gather from your articles that Swiss Processed chocolate is safe to eat if you are gluten intolerant. Thanks again. Hazel W.

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