Baking Chocolate - Also known as "bitter chocolate" or "unsweetened baking chocolate," this is chocolate liquor that has been poured into molds, cooled, and formed into blocks. This chocolate contains no sugar and contains approximately equal amounts of cocoa solids and cocoa butter.
Bloom - Bloom is a whitish film that forms on the surface of chocolate if it has been stored at an improper temperature or humidity level. Bloom is caused by the separation of fat and sugar crystals within the chocolate. After separation, the crystals then rise to the surface and create a white film. Although bloom may be visually unattractive, it is perfectly safe for consumption.
Cocoa - Also known as "cocoa solids" or "cocoa powder." This is the non-fatty portion of the cocoa bean that has been fermented, dried, and roasted.
Cocoa Butter - This is the fat extracted from the cocoa bean after it has been fermented, dried, and roasted. Cocoa butter is considered a vegetable fat because it comes from a plant source, yet it contains a high percentage of saturated fat.
Chocolate Liquor - Once cocoa nibs have been ground and melted to a liquified state, it is referred to as chocolate liquor. Chocolate liquor is considered chocolate in it's most pure state because it contains no additives.
Cocoa Nibs - Cocoa nibs are the inner portion of cocoa beans that have been fermented, dried, and roasted. Cocoa nibs are further processed to produce chocolate liquor and other chocolate products. Cocoa nibs can be considered the in-between product of a raw cocoa bean and chocolate as we know it.
Dark Chocolate - Dark chocolate is a combination of cocoa solids, fat, sugar, and little or no milk. Dark chocolate may contain varying percentages of cocoa solids, but in Europe dark chocolate must contain at least 35% cocoa solids. With the rising popularity of dark chocolate, manufacturers are now producing bars with percentages as high as 70, 80, or even 90% cocoa solids.
Milk Chocolate - Milk chocolate is a combination of cocoa solids, sugar, and milk, either in the form of milk powder, liquid milk, or condensed milk. Milk chocolate contains a much lower percentage of cocoa solids than dark chocolate, usually ranging from 20-30%. Because of it's smooth, creamy flavor and mouthfeel, milk chocolate is the most popular style chocolate.
Tempering - A technique used during the chocolate making process that allows for a controlled formation of crystals within the cocoa butter. Improperly tempered chocolate will be lumpy, grainy, and brittle, rather than smooth and glossy.
White Chocolate - White chocolate is a combination of cocoa butter (but not cocoa solids), sugar, and milk. Because there are no cocoa solids, the color is a buttery yellow rather than brown. The absence of cocoa solids also eliminates any bitterness, making white chocolate incredibly smooth and silky to the palate.