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Chocolate Terminology


This is a good place to learn basic terms we will be using at all our Kamp Kyya classes.  We can say with confidence that you never "know" chocolate, as we learn something new every week.  
  1. cacao  - pronounced "kakaw" - what the rest of the world calls "cocoa" beans
  2. cocoa - powder you make hot chocolate from
  3. cocoa butter ~ what we make hand lotion from and the "fat" of the cocoa bean.  Each bean is approximately 50%/50% cocoa to cocoa butter.   Most chocolates need a bit of cocoa butter added to the recipe so that it flows or "melts" in your mouth.
  4. Cocoa Butter is expensive.   We make our own with our cocoa press. This is a step most chocolatiers skip. 
  5. Winnowing is the process of separating the cacao bean from it's husk aka shell.   Husk can be as much as 20% of the weight of each bean.
  6. Once a cacao bean is winnowed, it is called "nib" or "nibs".  We make chocolate from nibs.
  7. It takes ~454 cacao beans to make a pound.  Remember you lose 20% of every bean in the winnowing process due to the husk.
  8. Cacao roasts well below coffee temperatures.   Cacao is one of the  "slow and low"  foods when it comes to roasting and conching.  Heat can degrade the quality of chocolate.
  9. Liquor - pure liquefied chocolate,  we first make liquor before making a specific kind/type of chocolate.  The first 24 hours is just liquor. There is not alcohol in chocolate liquor.
  10. There are many, up to 65 distinct flavor "notes" in chocolate.   Some of the major categories include, floral, citrus, nutty, earthy, fruity, chocolaty, spicy, vegetable.   There is not a definitive "one description fits all" approach and many times we will find cacao might have 3-5 different "notes", whisps or flavors in the finished product.  
  11. While Kyya loves all chocolate, we decided to make single origin chocolate, meaning each bar comes from a specific farm, region or country.   The cultivar and terroir (conditions around growing) can significant impact to quality/flavor.  
  12. There are three primary cacao cultivars:  1) Foresto, 2) Criollo and 3) Trinitario.
  13. Water is the enemy of chocolate.  In machinery, water creates chocolate "concrete".  The actual issue is the cocoa butter seizing up and creating a very tough chocolate "plug" to piping in our tempering machines.  
  14. There are 12 steps to bean to bar chocolate.   The ones we will cover include Roasting, Winnowing, Conching, Tempering, Molding and Packaging in our 2 hour window at the shop.
  15. Cacao, once harvested, must be fermented and dried before exporting.  The fermenting process can contribute up to 35% of the flavor of our finished chocolate.
  16. If you see a number on a chocolate bar is normally the ratio of cacao to sugar.   That cacao percentage includes the mass of chocolate and cocoa butter.   The lowest our equipment can effectively make is a 25% Dark (meaning 25% cacao and the balance is sugar.  Hershey milk chocolate is ~10% dark. The higher the number, the less sweet (and more "bitter") the chocolate will be.
  17. If the chocolate bar is a "milk" chocolate, by law it must contain 12% milk, but we cannot use milk, but instead milk powder as the water would seize the chocolate.
  18. We take 72 hours to make every batch of chocolate.  Chocolate can be made in faster batches, but we feel it finishes best at 72 hours.  We know of people that make chocolate in 3 hours.
  19. Chocolate improperly tempered can bloom.  Ambient temperature and humidity can also induce bloom.  Cocoa butter bloom is when the cocoa butter separates from the chocolate.  Bloom will look like "mold", but it is simply the cocoa butter separating from the chocolate.   White Bloom is when the sugar separates from the chocolate.   White bloom is primarily caused by humidity.  Bloomed chocolate can be melted down and re-tempered, so bloom doesn't permanently hurt chocolate.
  20. Tempering is the process of giving chocolate it's shine and snap.  We have machinery that tempers chocolate, but it can be done by hand.   We have 2 tempering machines that also deposit (pour) chocolate into the chocolate molds.
  21. We'll learn much more onsite, but this gives you some background.   One good website to study is www.thechocolatelife.com.   Lots of folks (us included) started learning about chocolate on their blog.  Another website full of information is www.chocolatealchemy.com.   John is a very wise man when it comes to bean to bar chocolate.

We will learn much more onsite.  Looking forward to meeting everyone.