Tasting chocolate is always a fun and enjoyable experience.
If you are new to chocolate tasting it can be a bit overwhelming. Finding flavours doesn’t always come naturally, so as you learn or continue to explore flavours in chocolate sometimes a tasting guide or map or flavour wheel is helpful. I wrote more about how to taste chocolate in this blog post.
These resources are great for helping you to find words for what you are tasting. Sometimes the words just pop into our heads as flavours we have tasted before and are in our memory. Other times they may elude us a bit, so a place to start is useful.
If you are buying bean to bar or craft chocolate from a specialty chocolate shop or chocolate maker ask them if they have a tasting wheel or guide. They are usually happy to add one to an order and are excited to know you want to learn more. Many companies have their own postcard-sized ones for sharing.
Here are a few of my favourite free resources.
This flavour wheel from True Chox is a great place to begin and is free to download.
The International Institute for Chocolate and Cacao Tasting (IICCT – photo shown above) has this flavour map that you can download or use online (hover over a circle for other flavours in the same category).
This map from Barry Callebaut is interesting and sometimes helpful as it breaks things down into taste, aroma, and mouth feel.
There are a lot of chocolate flavour profile maps if you Google it.
There isn’t just one set of flavour notes for chocolate, so each is slightly different, and all helpful. I personally love a colourful visual flavour map, but there are also other forms available.
There is no need to go out of your way to find something if you don’t have it. These are all meant to help you find and describe tastes in the chocolate you are enjoying.
Many chocolate books have flavour maps inside them, and there are other resources you can purchase like The Chocolate Tasting Kit or Taste With Colour Flavour Map. If you want to know more about any of these or other chocolate related resources you can find many in my Blog Series 100 Gifts for Chocolate Lovers.
There are resources made just for chocolate, but you can also use flavour maps or guides made for coffee or wine, they are slightly different but will help you to put words to what you are tasting.
Whatever you use when tasting use your mind, memories, and mouth first.
Watch for future blogs that dive in deeper to chocolate and ways to enjoy it.
Happy tasting friends!
Other blogs in this series include: