What Does Cocoa Percentage Mean?

The cacao percentage or cocoa percentage on a chocolate bar tells you what percent of that chocolate bar’s weight was contributed by cacao beans.

Let’s break this down.

Cacao beans, the seeds from which chocolate is made, are roughly half fat (called cocoa butter or cacao butter) and half cocoa solids by weight. These fats and solids contribute different aspects to our chocolate experience. The fat carries the aroma and smooth texture we associate with chocolate, while the solids carry the flavor and minerals & antioxidants which have given cacao its superfood reputation.

Cocoa butter is great for the skin, so some chocolate manufacturers press out the cocoa butter and sell it to cosmetics companies at a high price. This leaves them with low-fat cacao solids to either grind up into cocoa powder or combine with different fat sources. When eating cheap chocolate, we are often consuming cacao only in a highly processed form, with much of the rich delicious fat pressed out and replaced with cheaper oils. While knowing what cacao percentage means is important, it’s also important to closely examine a chocolate bar’s ingredients.

What Is Cacao Percentage In White Chocolate? 

White chocolate only contains cacao butter, not cacao solids. So the percentage of cacao in white chocolate represents how much of that chocolate bar is made up of cacao butter, the fat of the cacao bean. This is important because cocoa butter is the only part of white chocolate contributing a real chocolaty flavor to the bar. With less cocoa butter there’s going to be more of something else, either milk powder or sugar or some cheaper vegetable fat.

What Is Cacao Percentage In Milk Chocolate?

Milk chocolate is made with both cacao beans and additional cocoa butter. The cacao percent on a milk chocolate bar tells you how much of that chocolate is made up of both cacao beans and added cocoa butter. This extra fat is necessary because milk chocolate also contains milk powder, requiring a higher ratio of cacao fat in order to balance out the liquid to solid ratio.

Remember that cacao beans are already half fat, so the extra cocoa butter is just enough to even out the milk powder. With milk chocolate of a low cacao percentage, remember to look on the ingredients’ list for cheaper vegetable oils filling the role of that cocoa butter. The higher the cacao percentage in a milk chocolate, the less milk powder is used and therefore the less extra cocoa butter is needed (and the more chocolaty flavor it will have).

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  • Award Winning Chocolate Makers

    Bar & Cocoa is the premier purveyor of exceptional craft chocolates from award winning chocolate makers. We hand pick exceptional makers.

  • Ethically Sourced

    Ethics is a key ingredient to the world’s best chocolate. Our selection supports a supply chain that is more transparent than fair trade — and tastier!

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    We showcase chocolate crafted from fine quality cacao. You can taste the uniqueness and complexity of different origins, unlike mass-produced chocolate.


What makes Bar & Cocoa different?

At Bar & Cocoa, we're not just another chocolate shop; we're a chocolate experience. We meticulously curate a selection of the finest chocolates from artisanal makers around the globe. Our focus is on quality, ethical sourcing, and sustainability. We go the extra mile to educate our customers about the complexities of cacao cultivation and chocolate making through detailed product descriptions, flavor profiles, and origin stories. When you shop with us, you're not just indulging in a treat; you're becoming part of a community that values the art and science of chocolate making.

What is bean to bar chocolate?

Bean to bar chocolate is chocolate that is made from scratch by the same producer, starting from the raw cacao beans and ending with the finished chocolate bars and treats. This process allows the chocolate maker to control every aspect of the chocolate making, such as roasting, grinding, conching, tempering, and molding. Bean to bar chocolate is often more flavorful, nuanced, and ethical than mass-produced chocolate. It reflects the artistry and craftsmanship of the maker and the quality and origin of the cacao.

How do you source your chocolate? Is it ethical and sustainable?

We source our chocolate from award winning craft makers who use high-quality cacao beans and go beyond fair trade. We work with over 50 fine chocolate makers from around the world who share our values and passion for real chocolate. Some of the countries we source our chocolate from include Peru, Vietnam, Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua,, Philippines, India, and many more. We are always on the lookout for new and exciting origins and makers to add to our collection.

Do you have vegan, or keto-friendly or soy free chocolate?

Yes, we do! We have a variety of chocolate options that cater to different dietary preferences and needs. You can browse our collections of organic chocolate, vegan chocolate, keto-friendly chocolate, sugar-free chocolate, dairy-free chocolate, gluten-free chocolate, soy-free chocolate, nut-free chocolate, and more on our website. We also provide detailed information on each product page about the ingredients and allergens of each product.

How do you pick your chocolate makers?

When it comes to selecting our chocolate offerings, we're basically the chocolate sommeliers you never knew you needed. Our process starts with rigorous research and tastings. Yeah, it's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it. We scour the globe for artisanal and craft chocolate makers who share our commitment to quality, ethical sourcing, and innovation in flavor.

We scrutinize everything from cacao origin to production methods and flavor profiles. Only the best of the best make it into our curated collection, offering you a world-class chocolate experience in every bite. Each bar has a story, a unique flavor profile, and the power to transport you to a different part of the globe. We're not just selling chocolate; we're offering an edible journey.