Chocolate Sensory Analysis for dark chocolates



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In this activity, you will go out into the great outdoors to gather some chocolate in preparation for the sensory analysis.  All you need to do for this activity is the following:


  • These are the instructions if you like dark chocolates and want to taste them.
  • Go to your favorite chocolate store and purchase the following types of chocolates with no inclusions. The chocolates should not contain any nuts, caramel, peanut butter, cookie, or any type of flavoring. No chocolate chips. In other words, only pick plain chocolate bars.  Pick the following:
    1. a dark chocolate with equal to or less than 70% cacao (the less cacao the better)
    2. a dark chocolate with equal or greater than 80% cacao (the more the better)


  • Next pick two dark chocolates that contain inclusions. Inclusion is any ingredient that is mixed into the body of the chocolate.  Dark chocolates contain variety of inclusions including nuts, dried fruit or a combination of nuts and fruits or sea salt or unusual flavors like ginger or matcha.  Ensure that a dark chocolate has no more than 2 inclusions (as in fruit and nut).  Enrobed products or products that have fillings (liquid centers coated in chocolate) are not OK.  If you are unable to find dark chocolates with inclusions plain dark chocolate bars from a different brand or different cacao % (other than what you bought above) are still OK.  The % Cacao on these chocolates does not matter (they can be lower of higher than 70%), but if they vary taste the lower cacao% with inclusion before you taste the higher % cacao with inclusion.
  • Write your name (first and last) on a sheet of paper
  • Set out the chocolate samples (leave them in their packages)
  • Set the sheet of paper with your name on it close to the first chocolate.
  • Take a photo showing the front label.
  • Turn the sample over and take a picture of the nutrition label with ingredient list. The ingredient list should be visible and clear.
  • Repeat this process for all four samples.


Now you will perform a sensory analysis:


  • Select a chocolate, and fill out the basic information on the chart (1st 3 rows). Start with the lowest % cacao plain chocolate bars and move up.  Taste the plain chocolate bars before you taste the ones with inclusions.   Some inclusions can have a very strong flavor and really affect your taste perception of other chocolates.  If you pick 3 or more plain dark chocolates, taste from lowest to highest % cacao.  Fill out the analysis in the order of tasting (Brand names 1-4).
  • Observe the color of the chocolate. Indicate (by circling) the color on the chart that the chocolate is closest to.
  • Do you see any evidence of bloom or air bubbles on the chocolate? Circle or highlight “yes” or “no” if you do or don’t, respectively.
  • Now smell the chocolate. There are many notes (aromas) in a chocolate. Mark these.
  • Bite into a chocolate using your front teeth. Note how sharp the snap is on a scale of 1-5. 5 is the sharpest, and 1 is the least sharp.  (You can retaste chocolate and adjust this ranking once you finish all the tastings, if you need to).
  • Take a bite of the chocolate. Use your tongue to hold the chocolate against the roof of your mouth while the chocolate melts.  Work the chocolate into your tongue.  Circle or highlight all the flavors that apply.  For a description of what the flavors are like, refer to the glossary of flavor terms in the Enjoying Chocolate lesson.
  • Note the mouthfeel of the chocolate. Circle or highlight the terms that describe the mouthfeel.
  • On a scale from 1 to 5 (1 means don’t like, 5 means like very much), circle or highlight the number that best describes how well you like a chocolate. This is not a ranking. You can “not like” or “like very much” multiple chocolates.

NOTE: This is a standard practice in consumer testing.  This is a classic 5 point hedonic scale.

  • Write a sentence or 2 about the things you most liked about the chocolate in the “Pros” row.
  • Write a sentence or 2 about the things you least liked about the chocolate in the “Cons” row
  • Rinse your mouth with some room temperature water between the chocolate samples.
  • Repeat all the above instructions for all your chocolate samples. You should have 4 samples.


When you are done, save your file as a .docx or a .pdf (use any file name you wish) and submit it to me via Carmen. Make sure you put the file in the appropriate folder on Carmen’s Dropbox.










2) PHOTOS OF FRONT AND BACK OF PLAIN DARK CHOCOLATE #2 (Greater than or equal to 70%)

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