When you discover a chocolate you love in your Cocoa Runners box, we want to be able to recommend similar bars. To that end, we looked at many systems for analysing and categorising chocolate, from flavour wheels to graphs, but none were quite right.
We wanted to be able to classify chocolate based on common attributes such as chocolate type, texture and flavour notes, but we also wanted to present that information in clear and concise way.
What we came up with was a set of simple icons. We taste and analyse every bar in the Chocolate Library and mark every attribute that applies so you can search by it. Then we pick the three attributes that we think best describe that chocolate to display on our tasting cards and product pages.
These icons let you know if it’s a dark, milk or white chocolate. Some chocolate is also classified as “raw”, meaning the cocoa beans are unroasted, or only gently heated during the chocolate making process.
Some chocolate has added flavours such as fruit oils or ground spices. Others have inclusions – solid pieces of fruit, cocoa nibs or nuts that add to the texture as well. Sometimes chocolate makers add vanilla to enhance the flavour, and if that’s particularly evident, we’ll use the Vanilla icon.
Is the chocolate particularly smooth or coarse? Some chocolates are unrefined (sometimes called Stone Ground), meaning the chocolate has not been conched, but the cocoa and sugar have been simply mixed, resulting in a biscuity texture.
Is the chocolate particularly intense or sweet?
This set of icons describe the natural flavour notes present in the chocolate, and we think they’re the real key to describing chocolate. There are actually over 400 flavour notes present in chocolate, but we’ve narrowed that to a few common categories that best describe the range of flavours you’ll find.