Most quality chocolate will indiciate a cocoa solids percentage on the packaging. This number tells you how much of the chocolate comes from the cocoa bean. It is a percentage by weight of the final product and includes any extra cocoa butter that may have been added to the chocolate.
Generally speaking, the higher the number, the better, as you’re getting more cocoa and less sugar in the final product. However, the quality of the final chocolate depends on many, many factors including bean variety and how the beans are treated at every stage of the chocolate making process.
Some definitions of the term ‘cocoa solids’, including this entry in Wikipedia, specifically exclude all cocoa butter, however for labeling purposes, cocoa butter is included when talking about percentage.
Added cocoa butter in bars like Pralus Le 100 Criollo 100% chocolate give an exceptional smoothness, but as that cocoa butter also comes from cocoa beans, it can still be classed as cocoa solids on the packaging.
Cocoa Solids Distribution in Chocablog reviews
The graph below shows the distribution of cocoa solids percentage in Chocablog chocolate reviews for products where we have a definitive number. Click on a bar in the graph to see all the chocolate we’ve looked at with that cocoa content.
Currently indexing 858 reviews.
Analysis of the data so far
- The numbers are both a reflection of our own tastes here at Chocablog, as well as the state of the market; products with lower cocoa percentages are less likely to advertise their cocoa content at all.
- The spikes at 60% and 70% reflect manufacturers' desire to hit perceived quality thresholds. 70% cocoa solids in particular is considered the minimum percentage for good quality dark chocolates, so you'll rarely see anyone promoting a 69% chocolate.
- The blip at the far left around 20-21%? That's Cadbury Dairy Milk.
Related: See our Cacao Origin Map