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Hans has a very thought provoking article in Cocoa Content called "Why cocoa content matters". In it he shows a very insightful way to determine the amount of cocoa butter. Here's the essence of it:

Cocoa content only tells you how much of the bar’s weight is comprised of cocoa solids. Now, it’s important to understand that “cocoa solids” refers to the chocolate’s combined weight of cocoa butter and dry cocoa particles (i.e. cocoa powder). You can find the amount of cocoa butter from the amount of fat, though. Once you have that you can determine the percentage of the rest of the solids.
Follow these steps from the nutrition label:
1. Note the serving size, since it varies.
2. Note the Total Fat The Fat is from cocoa butter
3. Divide the Total Fat by the Serving size (Fat/Size), then multiply by 100 to get the percentage of fat
4. Subtract the percentage of fat from the cacao percentage and the difference will tell you what percentage of the bar consists of dry cocoa solids. Cocoa butter percentage + cocoa solids percentage = Total cacao percentage.
For example, consider a bar of Lindt Excellence 70%. The Nutrition Facts show the serving size as 42g, with 17g of fat. Divide 17 by 42 and multiply the result by 100, and you’ll get 40. This means there’s 40% cocoa butter. Subtract that number from 70, which in this case is 30% dry cocoa solids . (40 + 30 = 70)

What do you think of this?

Tags: butter, fat

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Here are a few questions that came to my mind about this:
•Does any other part of cocoa contribute fat?
•Is cocoa butter 100% fat? If it’s not, then there is even more cocoa butter than the fat content shows.
•What are the typical weights (or percentages) of soy lecithin and vanilla? These must use some part of the cocoa total, but maybe it’s negligible.
My ultimate objective with this is to take another step forward in my quest for finding great chocolate. I'm wondering if any correlation can be drawn between the amount of cocoa butter and the quality of the chocolate.

My initial impression is that there isn't any direct correlation, especially since added cocoa butter is sometimes used to mask inferior beans.

What do you think?
Yeah, you really can't say that extra cocoa butter is cutting corners because cocoa butter is pretty pricey. I've noticed that it can be used to muffle the flavor of bad beans and to improve texture of bars. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if makers add cocoa butter solely to appeal to a certain clientele, namely those who favor texture over flavor and to ease the transition into higher percentages for those folks who are just too reticent of going that route. Cocoa butter is a better way of doing that than a stronger 60%-class bar because you don't get excess sugar in the way. At least with cocoa butter, you taste more of the cacao even if it is subdued.
Lindt, sadly only uses vanillin. The amount of vanilla is less than 1% for almost every chocolate mnfctr.

Soy lecithin is not absolutely neccesary. Although lecithin is used as an emulsifier, in very small quantities it makes the product thinner. In other words it mimics the use of more cocoa butter. However only 1/2 of 1% is usually added
Whatever is right or wrong with Lindt - their "Excellence" bars do have real vanilla - and a fair bit of it.
I'm one of those "certain clientele" who likes creamy chocolate. I have no idea what I means, but I'm pretty sure it's code for uneducated consumer. I'm extremely well educated, but I still like my cacao fat in my chocolate bar.
Any fine bar out there now is going to have a fair bit of fat in it, regardless of whether they add separate cocoa butter. Often, it seems to me, extra cocoa butter seems to be for the smoothing of the texture (at best) or the dilution of unpleasant flavors (at the more "worst" end of the spectrum).

Fortunately, chocolate can have a fantastic texture without overloading the fat content with cocoa butter or vegetable oils or other "texture-enhancers." Particle size achieved through the grinding and refining has much to do with the finished texture, and Domori has worked out how to have their chocolates feel like pure silk without refining them to death. Cluizel tends to be more on the VERY refined side, and I think some of the innate flavors suffer accordingly.
I was wondering how Domori does it?
Cocoa butter is a favor carrier, on its own it is tasteless.

Cocoa butter is essential as an ingredient as far as encapsulating the non-soluble particles, with insufficient fat, chocolate will not melt smoothly in the mouth. The ideal amount of fat is thus dictated by the particle size, smaller sizes 15-18 microns will require more butter to encapsulate due to a larger surface area. Even smaller sizes don't make sense as our tongues cannot identify particles beyond this range, and the chocolate will feel muddy.

Cocoa butter is priced between premium beans and commodity-grade beans. So for premium chocolates, quantity of cocoa butter will tend to be at least sufficient because it reduces cost to use cocoa butter. For commodity chocolates, cocoa butter may be insufficient if the producer wants to cut costs.
I like a creamy texture just as much as the next person, but I know some folks who downright dislike a chocolate just because the texture is slightly off. Think about it this way. The average person on the street, when asked to describe a bar of chocolate, tends to mention texture first and then flavor, which could be attributable to a number of things:

1) cocoa butter's low melting point causes the texture to be noticed first
2) chocolate's flavor takes some time to fully develop, so to render a final opinion before the flavor develops is not really useful
3) natural preference towards fatty foods

So, if a company wishes to target a particular audience, that's fine--by no means does it infer that the product is only intended for that audience because everyone has different tastes for different reasons. I still eat M&M's whenever I can :)
Alot of companies don't have the nutritional information on the package either. It's my understanding that different bean types have different cacao solid/cacao butter ratio but 54% percent cocoa butter per bean is considered the average. In this way you could calculate the amount of cacao solids in a bar without fat content indicated on the package. A rough estimate of 50% is even easier to calculate. I forget which beans have more fat but I think it is forastero from Ghana. At least I remember that the butter content in those beans is supposed to be harder, which makes them more suitable for milk bars.
Olorin- The discussion has went in another direction, but I found some things tonight that might interest you. (Taken from Cocoa by Wood and Lass): Fat(cocoa butter) content of a bean is normally between 45- 65% of a dry bean. Most forasteros fall between 55-59% and criollo beans have a lower content of about 53%. Fat content of the bean also varies according to the growing season or environment. Beans developing during a dry season have a lower fat content.


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