One of the biggest debates for the production of fine chocolate is that on the type of cocoa. There are seemingly minor details on the commercial classification of the various cocoas:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Bulk cocoas – About 94% of the world’s cocoa production is classified as “bulk” cocoa. This type of cocoa has just a basic chocolate flavor, with no ancillary notes. However, this does not imply cocoa of inferior quality.⠀⠀⠀
Specialty cocoas – “Specialty” cocoas indicate a range that generally commands premium prices over bulk cocoas (from about 20% rising to double or even treble the bulk cocoa bean prices). They are not traded as a commodity but have their own supply chains which preserve the identity of the individual lots. These cocoas are from specific geographic origins, varieties, environment-friendly growing regimes, and purchased under schemes that benefit the growers.⠀⠀⠀
“Fine” or “flavor” cocoas – There is no agreed definition of “fine” or “flavor” cocoas except they are purchased at a premium price (as for the specialty cocoas) for their ancillary flavors that are described variously as fruity, floral, spicy, nutty, etc..⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
These distinctions explain consequent aspects in buying and tasting:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Fine or flavor cocoas necessarily fall under specialty cocoas for their high commercial value.
Specialty cocoas may include cocoas that cannot strictly be considered “fine” or “flavor” for lacking certain aromatic notes other than a great chocolaty base.⠀
In the right perspective, when a chocolate bar just tastes like “chocolate” (with zero defects like bitterness, astringency, and undesired acidity) it is actually an indicator of quality, not necessarily a “flat” or “boring” experience. As a matter of fact, some chocolate bars exist with exceptionally rich chocolate flavor backgrounds satisfying our cravings even more than some poorly-processed products from “rare” cocoa varieties.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀