What Doesn’t 70% Indicate?

What Doesn’t 70% Indicate?

Taking on misconceptions about chocolate one topic at a time in 200 words or less.


Not what you have probably been led to believe.

The only somewhat reliable indication 70% cocoa content provides is the amount sugar in the chocolate: ~30%.

Cocoa content is a quantitative measure, not a qualitative measure. Cocoa content does not tell you anything about the beans used to make the chocolate, how well the beans were treated post-harvest, how they were roasted, or total fat content – because added cocoa butter is included in the calculation of total cocoa content.

Raining on the Cocoa Content Parade

Contrary to popular belief, cocoa content is also not a reliable indicator of bitterness, which is the result of a complex interplay of the bean varietal, fermentation, roasting, and other processes.

  • A chocolate made from perfectly fermented and roasted Porcelanas with no added cocoa butter will not be bitter at 70%.
  • Over-roast those same beans – a travesty to be sure – and the same recipe will likely turn out bitter.
Raining on the cocoa content parade. Original image by MItodru Ghosh on Unsplash.

The Bitter Truth

Cocoa content tells you nothing about how a chocolate will taste or potential health benefits, which are also affected by alkalization.

Listing image credit: Original by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

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