I'm moving some info over from another thread because I think this is better home for it:
In my experience, the general practice seems to be that the higher the overall percentage, the higher the relative percentage of cocoa butter (without increasing the cocoa solids much).
[My guess on why they do this is it that this it's for economic reasons. That assumes that cocoa butter is cheaper than solids.]
Some terminology because I know you love this stuff.
What we think of as cocoa powder is what the industry technically calls "non-fat cocoa solids." Cocoa butter is also cocoa solids - so it's good to be careful in differentiating between the two when the goal is to be accurate and precise.
Cocoa powder almost always contains cocoa butter. A "high-fat" cocoa powder will consist of 20-24% fat by weight; a "low-fat" cocoa powder will consist of 10-12% fat by weight. It's really expensive (in part because it's time consuming) to go much lower than this. Cocoa powders making "non-fat" claims can do this because of labeling regulations that allow "non-fat" claims when the amount is below a certain threshold per serving (usually less than 1/2 gram).
FYI generally, cocoa butter is generally more expensive than cocoa powder- often much more expensive.
Thanks. Using the most precise language possible helps to avoid confusion, so I'm all for using the most accurate terms possible.
Unfortunately, many people aren't that precise or use terms in the wrong way. I think I took my use of these terms from an article in The Nibble: "“Cocoa butter is the natural vegetable fat present in the cacao bean. Beans are approximately 52% cocoa butter by weight (the amount varies by the variety of cacao bean); the rest is cocoa solids"
My line of inquiry started with wondering if there was any correlation between fat content and my enjoyment level (designated by my rating). Thus far I haven't really found out any such correlation, but I still want to differentiate them. So overall a cacao bean has fat and non-fat. I'm trying to be even more precise than cocoa powder since that also has some fat in it. For example, the Mast Bros and Rogue Piura bars that I'm currently reviewing only list cacao/cocoa beans and sugar as their only ingredients. What are the best terms for the 2 components of the beans? How about "cacao fat" or just "fat" for one? What is the other part? Solids, powder, liquor, or mass all seem problematic since they actually have some fat. Is there any term for the non-fat part? It sounds like "non-fat cocoa solids" may be the closest even if that contains some fat.
BTW, I've also been using "cocoa butter" as synonymous with "cacao fat" although I guess they're not really identical. I assume that all of the fat is in the cocoa butter, but that cocoa butter has more than just fat. Is that accurate?
Thanks for your patient help with splitting hairs in this minutia.
From Clay "FYI generally, cocoa butter is generally more expensive than cocoa powder- often much more expensive."
So why do think there's generally higher fat content in higher percentage bars? By adding extra cocoa butter the makers are decreasing their profit margin. It doesn't seem like it's for taste because IMO extra cocoa butter weakens the taste. But maybe the makers just think most people couldn't handle that much "non-fat cocoa solids". What's your opinion?
Is there anything other than fat in cocoa butter? Or is cocoa butter 100% fat?
Here's information I got from The Nibble: “Cocoa butter is the natural vegetable fat present in the cacao bean... It solidifies into a yellowish-white fat, solid at room temperature." Is this completely accurate?
Lowe, in the linked thread about migraines, Clay said that "Cocoa butter has more than fat in it in the same way that butter has more than fat in it".
This is incorrect. Minifie, Beckett, and the USFDA all agree that the term "cocoa butter" means the _edible fat_ obtained from cocoa beans.
It might be difficult (or even practically impossible) to remove 100% of the non-fat compounds from cocoa butter, but that just means that your cocoa butter is "contaminated" with other compounds. It doesn't mean that cocoa butter isn't pure fat.
By contrast, "butter" in the more common sense of the word refers to a dairy product made from cream. The butter in my fridge is only 81% fat (most of the rest is water). Dairy butter also naturally contains a small percentage of protein and carbohydrates.
Also, Lowe, I've taken a look at the file on your website labelled "Cocoa Fat in Chocolate", and I have a couple of questions and suggestions.
First of all, it would be helpful for the columns to include clear unit measurements.
For example, what exactly does "Percent" indicate? And how about "Cacao fat"?
The lack of clear explanation of these terms makes the data confusing. For example, I don't know what you mean when you state that Green & Black's white chocolate is:
Cacao fat: 47
Non-fat solids: 0
If the bar is 30% cocoa solids, and 100% of the cocoa solids is cocoa butter, then how did you arrive at the 47% figure? The only way that figure makes sense to me is if you've included milk fat in the "Cacao fat" column.
Also, you asked: "So why do think there's generally higher fat content in higher percentage bars? By adding extra cocoa butter the makers are decreasing their profit margin."
1. You can't simply assume that "higher fat" means "added cocoa butter" (for example, many bars also contain milk fat, and/or other vegetable fats, e.g. Green & Black's white chocolate, as mentioned above).
2. A bar with a higher percentage of cocoa solids would naturally contain a higher percentage of cocoa butter, if expressed as a _percentage of the total bar_ (this is because pure cocoa liquor is always roughly 55% cocoa butter - hence, the more cocoa liquor you use, the more cocoa butter comes along for the ride).
So, an 80% bar with no added cocoa butter would contain about 44% cocoa butter, while a 60% bar with no added cocoa butter would contain only about 33% cocoa butter.
3. Cocoa butter isn't necessarily a more expensive ingredient than cocoa liquor. For example, if you produce your own cocoa liquor on a relatively small scale from whole beans, you can probably purchase cocoa butter from a large manufacturer for a fraction of the price that it costs you to produce your own cocoa liquor.
4. A lot of people (women especially, I've noticed) prefer the taste and mouthfeel of chocolate with a generous amount of added cocoa butter - so it sells very well in certain demographics.
Thanks so much for that long and very informative reply.
What do you call the part of the cacao seed that isn't fat?
More to reply to, but I'll start with that.