The Ultimate Chocolate Glossary: Ca (page 2)


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The percentage (by weight) of cacao or chocolate liquor in the finished chocolate. In general, a higher cacao percentage indicates a darker chocolate with a lower sugar content and a more intense chocolate flavor. One important note: cacao percentage is never an indication of the quality of the chocolate! A higher percentage merely indicates a greater concentration of whatever quality cacao was used. Since cocoa beans are naturally bitter and tannic, for a finished chocolate to be palatable, the higher the cocoa content, the higher the quality of the cocoa beans that should be used. Even so, there are mass-market companies which use low quality cocoa beans for high cocoa content chocolates, resulting in exceptionally bitter chocolate.



According to US standards, milk chocolate must contain at least 10% chocolate liquor. Sweet chocolate must contain at least 15%, while 35% chocolate liquor is the minimum for semisweet.



The French phrase for a bean-to-bar chocolate producer.



See Cocoa Powder



Yes, chocolate contains caffeine, but only a small quantity. One ounce of chocolate, whether it’s milk or bittersweet, contains only about 5 to 10 mg of caffeine; six ounces of prepared hot cocoa contains roughly 10 mg of caffeine as well. According to the Mayo Clinic website, generic brewed coffee contains 95 to 200 mg of caffeine in eight ounces, while the same quantity of generic instant coffee has 27 to 173 mg of caffeine. Eight ounces of green tea or black tea will have between 14 and 61 mg of caffeine, while a twelve ounce can of a caffeinated soft drink contains in the neighborhood of 27 to 55 mg. So while chocolate contains enough caffeine to possibly be of concern to those with some heart (or other) ailments, many people who are sensitive to caffeine can consume a reasonable amount of chocolate at any time without incurring any of caffeine’s side effects. Depending on the chocolate (especially if it is mass market chocolate with high amounts of sugar), the sugar is likely to make you feel sick long before the caffeine has any significant effect. If you are concerned about this, please ask your doctor.

It should be noted that different types of cocoa have more caffeine than others. Criollo typically has less while Forestero has more. Conversally, Criollo has more theobromine while Forestero has less. The ratio of caffeine to theobromine has allowed scientists to perform genetic testing and develop genetic histories on various strains of cocoa.


A long, thin “scroll” of chocolate used for decoration.


The French word for “square”. A carre is a small tasting square of chocolate, typically of five to ten grams. See also napolitain.

This glossary would not have been possible without the kind assistance of my good friend Karen Hochman who runs the website: The Nibble. Karen gave us permission to base our chocolate glossary on hers. TheNibble is one of the Internet’s greatest resources for food articles, reviews, history, and just about anything when it comes to quality food. Please, if you have a few moments, visit my friend Karen’s website and you’ll be amazed at what a valuable resource it is. Thanks for all your help Karen!

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