Cacao Glossary

March 29, 2020 claire No comments exist

Learn the right terms and their meaning to talk like a chocolate connoisseur.

Discover, in our cacao glossary 15 words from the chocolate world, to make you appreciate a little bit more one of the finest ingredients in a world.


1 – Cacao Bean: It’s the seed inside of the cacao pod harvested from the Theobroma cacao also known as the cacao tree. The bean will be dried, fermented, roasted to be transform into chocolate.

2 – Cacao Butter: Is the fat of the cacao bean. The cacao butter is extract from the chocolate liquor by press, to separated it form the cacao solids. Some of the cacao butter will be use into the chocolate process. But it’s also use in cosmetic and pharmaceutics’ industries.

3 – Cacao Husk: Loose leaf from the outer shell of the cacao bean. We extract the husk after the beans have been roasted. The cacao husk is naturally rich in antioxidants, vitamins & magnesium. It also contains natural stimulants: theobromine & small amount of caffeine. We can brew the husk like tea, and enjoy it as healthy tea, or it can be use when smoking meat, fish, cheese, etc, to flavored the products.

4 – Cacao Liquor: Or also call Cacao Mass. The liquor is obtain after the cacao beans have been fermented, dried, roasted, broken into cacao nibs. The cacao nibs are grounded to make the cacao liquor. It does not contain any alcohol.

5 – Cacao Nibs: There are from the cacao beans that have been dried, fermented, peeled, extracted from their core and broken into “nibs”. Cacao nibs are high in fiber, protein, antioxidants, healthy fats, iron, magnesium and other minerals. We can use the nibs into baking, smoothie, granola, savoury cooking and much more.

6 – Cacao Pod: It’s the fruit from the Theobroma Cacao (cacao tree) that contain about 30-50 cacao beans. It’s recommended to the cacao farmers to harvest manually with care the pods, to avoid damaging the stem to ensure the growth of  more fruit.

7 – Chocolate Maker: Purchase dried beans and transform them into chocolate, using specific equipment to transform the beans into chocolate bars. Often their finished product is pure chocolate, usually in bar form and using single origin reference of where the beans come from.


8 – Chocolate Percentage: The percentage of cacao represents the quantity of cacao mass excluding the sugar, milk powder and other ingredients. I like to tell this story during my tastings: “ when someone tell you they like the chocolate at 70%, it is the same than saying you like your wine with 12% of alcohol”, you don’t have information about the origins, varieties, process, etc.

9 – Chocolatier: Sourced and blended pure chocolate, made by the chocolate maker, for specific properties and flavour profiles, and then use it to create recipes for their own unique bonbons, confections and bars.

10 – Chocolate Couverture: Is the fine quality chocolate containing not less than 32% of cacao butter. Mostly use by professional chocolatiers for their chocolate bars and bonbons or by pastry chefs for their desserts and ice cream.

11 – Conching: It’s the final and key step in chocolate for the flavor development. A concher simultaneously churns and cooks the chocolate to develop flavors while smoothening the chocolate. The lengths of time and temperature will depend on the expectation of the chocolate maker (used and quality of the chocolate expected).

12 – Single Origin: Chocolate made from the beans from one country. Some chocolate maker blend different origins to create different flavors, aromas and quality.

13 – Tempering: It’s a complex process involving to carefully respecting a cycle of temperatures, allowing the crystals into the cacao butter to be uniform. A well-tempered chocolate has a nice shine, a good snap when braking the chocolate, a smooth appearance and the chocolate will be stable at room temperature. 

14 – Theobroma tree: Also call cacao tree. The trees grows between 20°N and 20°S of the equator. Theobroma mean “food for god”, and we can understand that!

15 – Winnowing: Is a process that come after the beans have been roasted. The beans are removed from their skin, the cacao husk and crack into small pieces calls “cacao nibs”.


I hope you enjoyed learning with our cacao glossary.

There is a word you would like us to give you more information about? Please feel free to contact us

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