Review Guide
Experiencing Chocolate
Labeling Craft Makers

Craft of Bean to Bar Project



Review Guide

Flavors of Cacao Rating System:

5= Elite (Transcending beyond the ordinary limits)
4= Premium (Superior flavor development, character and style)
3= Satisfactory(3.0) to praiseworthy(3.75) (well made with special qualities)
2= Disappointing (Passable but contains at least one significant flaw)
1= Unpleasant (mostly unpalatable)

*Not all the bars in each range are considered equal, so to show variance from bars in the same range I have assigned .25, .50 or .75.

Each chocolate is evaluated from a combination of both objective qualities and subjective interpretation. A rating here only represents an experience with one bar from one batch. Batch numbers, vintages and review dates are included in the database when known. I would recommend people to try all the chocolate on the database regardless of the rating and experience for themselves.

The database is narrowly focused on plain dark chocolate with an aim of appreciating the flavors of the cacao when made into chocolate. The ratings do not reflect health benefits, social missions, or organic status.

Flavor is the most important component of the Flavors of Cacao ratings. Diversity, balance, intensity and purity of flavors are all considered. It is possible for a straight forward single note chocolate to rate as high as a complex flavor profile that changes throughout. Genetics, terroir, post harvest techniques, processing and storage can all be discussed when considering the flavor component.

Texture has a great impact on the overall experience and it is also possible for texture related issues to impact flavor. It is a good way to evaluate the makers vision, attention to detail and level of proficiency.

Aftermelt is the experience after the chocolate has melted. Higher quality chocolate will linger and be long lasting and enjoyable. Since the aftermelt is the last impression you get from the chocolate, it receives equal importance in the overall rating.

Overall Opinion is really where the ratings reflect a subjective opinion. Ideally it is my evaluation of whether or not the components above worked together and an opinion on the flavor development, character and style. It is also here where each chocolate can usually be summarized by the most prominent impressions that you would remember about each chocolate.

Other Notes- These are topics that may be interesting to discuss but may not necessarily impact the flavor or experience. For example, appearance, snap, packaging, cost etc.

The Flavors of Cacao Journal page below is also provided in a printable PDF format at the bottom of the image. It's design will help you create a line graph which is intended to provide a visual review once you connect the dots between the answers. The graph does not encompass everything in a chocolate evaluation, however, this line graph should be fairly reliable in creating a quick visual reference. If when reading your line graph from left to right it tends to look more like a downhill slope, then your number rating should reflect a poorer score. If your graph is more of an uphill slope you should expect this to be a chocolate you gave a good evaluation to. As you evaluate more chocolate you will become more familiar with the graph and should be able to flip through notes easily to receive a visual impression of each chocolate.

Bar Review Template
Score:   Cost:  
Excessive o o o o o o o
High o o o o o o o
Medium o o o o o o o
Low o o o o o o o
None o o o o o o o
  NegFlavor Bitter Astringent Chocolate Diversity Intensity Length







Other notes (aroma, appearance, snap, packaging, etc.):


Overall Opinion:


For a printable PDF version of the Bar Review Template click here: