How Do I Choose the Best Bitter Chocolate?

Solomon Branch

Bitter chocolate, also known as unsweetened chocolate, contains little or no sugar. Bakers use it because the sweetness is easily adjustable by adding sugar. To find the best bitter chocolate, you need to find one that contains high levels of cacao solids and is made with quality beans.

Squares of bitter chocolate.
Squares of bitter chocolate.

Chocolate is made from the cacao bean, which is very bitter. Unless sugar is added, the higher the percentage of pure cacao in chocolate, the bitterer it will taste. Bitter chocolate is typically made up of 100% cacao, although some brands might contain less. If you want to ensure you find pure bitter chocolate, look on the label and check the percentage of cacao.

The best bitter chocolate contains high levels of cacao solids and is made from quality beans.
The best bitter chocolate contains high levels of cacao solids and is made from quality beans.

One of the most important aspects of bitter chocolate is the quality of the beans and the process they go through when roasted. In many instances, larger manufacturers won’t use the best quality beans for bitter chocolate because it is so often used in baking, which means other ingredients will be added to mask the flavor. If you want to be certain about the quality of the beans, you should go with a smaller manufacturer that makes smaller batches of bitter chocolate.

Cacao beans consist of cacao solids and cacao butter, which is a form of fat. The higher the percentage of cacao solids in the chocolate, the deeper the flavor of the chocolate. Most brands of bitter chocolate are 50% to 60% cocoa butter, and the less fat they have, the more cacao solids will be present, so if you want a fuller flavor, choose a bitter chocolate with higher cacao solids and less cacao butter. Check the labels for the amount of cacao solids and cacao butter, or contact the manufacturer if the label doesn’t list it.

Although it’s important that the flavor of the chocolate be strong, it’s also important that the flavor be palatable. Different brands of bitter chocolate have varying flavors, so you might need to taste the chocolate before your try it. If you don’t want to try the chocolate first, you can check for reviews in magazines or online that discuss the flavors of each brand of chocolate. Cookbooks are also a good source as well, particularly those focused on baking. Bakers can be a good source of information, as they often have access to multiple kinds of chocolate and can offer insights based on experience.

Cacao beans consist of cacao solids and cacao butter.
Cacao beans consist of cacao solids and cacao butter.

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Discussion Comments


The second sentence of the third paragraph really caught my attention, especially when it says that bitter chocolate often isn't used in baking, and they attempt to mask the flavor. I wonder if this is because they know that many people don't like bitter chocolate, and because of this, it doesn't end up selling very well. It really goes to show how when many products are made, not only is the flavor masked, but many additives are mixed in with the natural ingredients as well.


I have never given it much thought until reading this article, but are there any dessert recipes where bitter chocolate is used instead of the sweet kind? Not only did it come to mind because people have different tastes and preferences, but even more so, I do think it would be a rather interesting take on classic desserts.

For example, can you imagine baking a chocolate cake with bitter icing? To be honest, even for those who prefer it, I don't think it's something that they wouldn't care for, especially considering how it covers the whole cake, thereby ruining the whole flavor. Regardless, I do think it would be an interesting experiment. The next time I bake a cake, I will look into some different recipes.


While I'm not a fan of bitter chocolate, I have heard that it's a lot healthier than the sweeter kind, such as the processed Hershey bars, and Cookies & Cream. I have also heard that some people enjoy the bitter aftertaste. I can't imagine why, but my guess is that it all comes down to personal preference. This article has been a very interesting read, and I'm even considering purchasing some, next time I go to the store.

After all, not all chocolate is sweet, and when you're eating the "bitter" kind, it's being consumed in its natural form. Also, relating to the last paragraph, I agree that it's a good idea to check reviews, especially if you're not sure about what brand of bitter chocolate to buy. At the end of the day though, it all comes to down to your opinion. You may not prefer what other people do, and vice versa.

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