How to Do Chocolate Tasting

Are you ready for a chocolate tasting adventure? In order to provide objective information to help other chocolate lovers in their purchasing decisions, reviews of chocolates need to be based on key evaluation criteria.

See Chocolate Reviews page for evaluations made by other chocoholics.

It is important to give an objective evaluation of any chocolate tasting. The greater number of chocolates you have tasted and the wider variety of types of chocolates you have tasted, the better reviewer you can be – so, if you need any more reasons to try lots of chocolates, there is another one! After all, we all want to be great reviewers. Here are the key criteria on which to base your evaluations:

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Appearance:

Glossy, even shine; no streaks, dots, cracks or “fog”
Rate it from 1-5 with 5 being the best.

Look carefully at the chocolate. Its appearance reveals a lot about the chocolate. It should have a nice glossy shine and be even in its coloration across the surface and through the piece (which shows at a cut or edge). A good shine implies good tempering. The surface of the chocolate should show no whitish streaks or dots which is an indication of “bloom” from bad storage conditions or incorrect handling. The color of chocolate varies depending on the type you choose - the percentage of cacoa and whether it contains milk or cream.

Aroma or smell:

Chocolaty with only a light scent of any flavorings; fresh with no burnt, smoky, chemical smells
Rate it from 1-5 with 5 being the best.

Smell the aroma of the chocolate, as this is one of your first clues about its flavor. It should be sufficient to rub a finger on the chocolate to release its aroma. Take your time and bring the chocolate to your nose to smell. Good chocolate should have a rich, chocolaty, flavorful smell. The best chocolate will not give off any scent of chemicals or impure additives. If this is detected, it is a good time to move on to the next sample. Flavored chocolate can have some smell of the flavorings but those should not overpower the most important element - the chocolate. When fresh “good” chocolate is broken, it will smell as it should of pure chocolate some which may be faint or some more intense.

Snap:

Break clean without crumbling or layering; ideally a crisp pop when broken (loudest for dark chocolate)
Rate it from 1-5 with 5 being the best.

Test the “break” of the chocolate. A thin bar of chocolate should easily break clean and crisp without crumbling or breaking into layers. Be certain the chocolate is at room temperature. Chocolate that is too cold will splinter while chocolate that is too warm will warp and separate. Chocolate should not crumble into numerous pieces or break into layers. This is a sure sign that it is not good quality. It should make a “snap” sound when is broken. Milk and white chocolate will have a softer snap than dark or semi-sweet because they contain “soft” milk and butter fat. Ideally chocolate will break cleanly with an audible snap.

Taste:

Chocolaty, flavors not overpower the chocolate taste. Good aftertaste.
Rate it from 1-5 with 5 being the best.

The primary taste should be rich chocolate. Added flavors should be balanced and secondary, not overpowering, although a flavor(s) will often increase and decrease in intensity as the chocolate melts in your mouth. Additives such as fruits and nuts should have their own fresh taste. Quality ingredients are essential, such as cocoa butter rather than other vegetable fats and real, not imitation, vanilla. While milk or white chocolate will be sweeter than semisweet dark chocolate, even these should not be overly sugary. Sugar is sometimes added to hide the poor flavor of low quality cocoa beans. Finally, quality chocolate will leave a pleasant, lingering aftertaste as well.

Texture:

Creamy and smooth, not waxy; promptly and evenly melts in mouth
Rate it 1-5 with 5 being the best.

Place the chocolate in your mouth and hold it against the roof of your mouth. Let your tongue move across it and observe how it melts and feels. It should begin to melt immediately (because chocolate melts at human body temperature) with an even texture. The texture on the tongue should feel smooth, creamy and soft, not greasy, waxy or oily.


Beginners often skip the first three steps and may not taste or be able to describe the flavors but with practice you will gain expertise. This will be quite pleasurable and rewarding. Enjoy!

When you have done a chocolate tasting evaluation, please let us know your opinion at our Chocolate Reviews.


Just for fun when chocolate tasting...

My favorite chocolate is..

Dark Chocolate
Milk Chocolate
White Chocolate

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