The effect of fat content on sensory perception and consumer acceptability of 70% cacao dark chocolate made from reconstituted cocoa liquor

Allison L. Brown, Ezekiel R. Warren, Bradley W. Ingraham, Gregory R. Ziegler, Helene Hopfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dark chocolate is a complex food defined by its unique flavor, taste, mouthfeel, and melting properties. The craft chocolate market is a new segment of the US confectionery industry that highlights cocoa bean origin by making two-ingredient dark chocolate composed of cocoa liquor and sugar. To study the impact of natural variance in fat levels inherent to unblended cocoa liquor in two-ingredient chocolate, we made 70% cacao dark chocolate from cocoa liquor reconstituted from cocoa powder and cocoa butter at total fat contents of 30%, 35%, and 40% (w/w), and collected sensory and acceptability data from 108 regular chocolate consumers. Increasing fat content did not significantly affect liking (p >.05). However, with increasing fat levels, perceived intensities of bitter taste, cocoa flavor, and drying mouthfeel significantly decreased, and sweet taste perception significantly increased (p <.05). Consumer chocolate preference (milk vs. dark) significantly affected perceived intensity of drying mouthfeel. Practical Applications: Our research suggests that liking of astringent stimuli may result in decreased perception of astringency in highly astringent foods. Further research is recommended to understand this mechanism as well as the physical and chemical underpinnings by which fat content impacts sensory perception of dark chocolate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12864
JournalJournal of Sensory Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Sensory Systems

Cite this