The Difference Between Dark, Milk and White Chocolate

Everyone has a favorite type of chocolate whether it’s white, dark or milk but not many people know what the difference between these three types of chocolate is. As it turns out there is one specific element of chocolate that determines which of the three types of chocolate result in production.

When it comes to white chocolate the fact is that it is not truly chocolate at all, in fact white chocolate is made from cocoa butter and sugar and no cocoa liquor at all. Many people who like white chocolate over dark or milk state it’s sweetness and creaminess as the reason why. Funnily enough the lack of liquor that causes the sweet sugary flavor is also the reason why many chocolate connoisseurs believe that white chocolate should not be called chocolate at all! Chocolate connoisseurs believe that in order to be called chocolate it must contain some amount of liquor.

Milk chocolate, on the other hand, is made from cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, milk and sugar. Milk chocolate is obviously a lighter color than dark chocolate and contains much less cocoa liquor than dark chocolate does. Milk chocolate is the most often used when it comes to confectionary and it is cited by the majority of chocolate lovers to be their favorite of the three varieties of chocolate.

Dark chocolate, in contrast to milk chocolate, is made from cocoa liquor, cocoa butter and sugar. The greater amount of liquor used in dark chocolate as opposed to milk chocolate is what causes the bitterness characteristic of dark chocolate. As the amount of liquor used goes down the bitterness of the chocolate goes down as well.

Well what is cocoa liquor? Cocoa liquor is a paste that is made when cacao beans are ground so finely that they turn in to a thick paste. Cacao beans are ground in a mill where they move through a series of grinding stones which cause the beans to heat up and grind down to liquor. As the paste cools and dries it hardens. Cocoa liquor is extremely bitter, as are the cacao beans themselves, before they are combined with sugars and cocoa butter. Many people confuse cocoa liquor with cocoa liqueur; however liquor does not contain any alcohol and is merely the product of ground cacao beans.

What is cocoa butter then? Cocoa butter is a fat that is extracted from the cacao bean or from cocoa liquor. Cocoa butter can be extracted by using a press which squeezes the fat from the beans but the most efficient way of removing cocoa butter from cacao beans is to hang ground beans in a warm room where the cocoa butter drips from the hanging beans. This hanging method is called the “broma process.”

Of each of the components in the three types of chocolate the most significant in determining the end result is the use of cocoa liquor. When more liquor is used dark chocolate is produced, when less is used milk chocolate results and when none is used white chocolate is the final product!

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