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What is Chocolate Liquor?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Chocolate liquor is a combination of cocoa solids and cocoa butter that is obtained when cacao beans are processed to make chocolate products. Once chocolate makers have produced the liquor, there are a number of ways in which the substance can be handled to make various chocolate products, ranging from cocoa to baking chocolate. As a general rule, liquor is created in the factories of chocolate producers, allowing the companies to have control over the composition of their chocolate, although smaller chocolate makers may order this and other products from bigger companies to bypass the expensive and time-consuming process of making chocolate from scratch.

Getting to chocolate liquor requires several stages. To begin with, the large pods of the Theobroma cacao tree must be harvested, split to expose the beans, and allowed to ferment, taking some of the bitterness out of the beans inside. Once the beans have fermented, they must be roasted and cracked to remove the hulls, leaving behind the cacao nibs. These nibs are then ground to produce the liquor.

This substance turns liquid because the grinding process melts the rich cocoa butter inside the nibs. As the nibs are ground, they break apart into a gritty, runny paste. While the paste smells like chocolate and even looks like it, it wouldn't be very appetizing, because it is unsweetened and the grainy texture is not very enjoyable.

After a factory has produced chocolate liquor, it is pressed to form what is known as press cake. During the pressing process, the cocoa butter runs out, leaving behind the cocoa solids. The separated components of the chocolate can be blended back together in varying amounts and conched with ingredients like sugar, milk, and spices to make bar chocolate, or they may be processed individually to make things like cocoa and white chocolate.

Processing the liquor requires care and precision. Nibs from different parts of the world have distinctly different flavors, so chocolate producers must think carefully about the blend they want to produce. The beans are typically blended during the roasting process, but they must be inspected carefully before being submitted to grinding to make sure that they adhere to the producer's standards. Improperly fermented or roasted beans can ruin a batch of chocolate, and given the high cost of this coveted ingredient, this is not desirable.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By luayin — On Feb 07, 2014

Cocoa liquor does not contain alcohol. It is called liquor because it is liquid cocoa beans. It is also called cocoa mass, cocoa paste or unsweetened chocolate.

By anon335698 — On May 22, 2013

No alcohol! Great!

By anon318932 — On Feb 09, 2013

In addition, chocolate liquor is just the name for chocolate in its purest form, as this article describes. Any kind of real chocolate has chocolate liquor, is only ground up cacao beans. Unfortunately, the use of the word "liquor" to describe hard alcoholic beverages that aren't sweet "liqueurs" confuses people. If you are feeding your children things with chocolate liquor on the label, all that means is that it is made with real chocolate, not fake stuff, and that is a very good thing.

By anon318931 — On Feb 09, 2013

To those asking about fermentation, not everything that is fermented is alcoholic. For instance, take the Korean vegetable dish "kimchi". The process of fermenting/aging cacao beans develops flavor, but does not produce any kind of alcohol. Coffee beans are also fermented in a similar process. You are thinking of fermentation with yeast and sugar/carbs, as with beer and wine.

By anon268851 — On May 15, 2012

I wanted to know if I was feeding my 2.5 year old snacks with chocolate liquor also, but questions have been answered through similar questions and answers.

By anon170148 — On Apr 25, 2011

Chocolate liquor is just chocolate! no alcohol added. I looked this up because I saw 'chocolate liquor' listed in my child's easter chocolate. Chocolate Liqueur is the one that contains alcohol.

By anon136194 — On Dec 21, 2010

This article is about chocolate liquor - not chocolate liqueur. Chocolate liqueur is probably what you are thinking of. It is found in a liquor store, typically under the brand name of Godiva, or in the form called creme de cacao. Yes, chocolate liqueur has alcohol - about 15 percent by volume (34 proof).

This article, on the other hand, is on chocolate liquor - the name for the stage in the chocolate refining process where the cacao beans, after having been roasted, are ground up (without adding anything). The chocolate can then go on to the conching phase (where sugar can then be added), which further shrinks the crystals of the chocolate and gives a smoother texture. After this phase, it can be made into a bar of chocolate.

By anon93412 — On Jul 03, 2010

Chocolate liquor's alcohol content varies by producer. Godiva's Chocolate Liquor is 15 percent alcohol by volume. In the United States, you must be 21 or older to purchase this product.

By anon84909 — On May 18, 2010

I also think this mahony chocolate contains liquor that affects to our normal daily routine. I ate four of them and I got doped. Anyway, I drink a little in parties but I didn't get doped that much, but after i had those frey mahony chocolates i felt like I was drunk.

By anon53003 — On Nov 18, 2009

I'm woundering if chocolate liquor is a fermented product and if it contains any alcohol.

By anon46591 — On Sep 27, 2009

does chocolate liquor have any percentage of alcohol at all? because it is fermented and fermentation is the process where something is turned into ethanol (consumable alcohol) -nadeem

By anon41105 — On Aug 12, 2009

chocolate liquor listed in ingredient list. does it contain milk/dairy?

By anon37835 — On Jul 22, 2009

To all your questions, no, chocolate liquor is in no way related to alcohol as it is a semi-viscous sweet syrup containing chocolate, sugar and other ingredients. It is used in making candy, drinks and other chocolate flavored foods.Like the cocoa nibs from which it is produced, it contains both cocoa solids and cocoa butter in roughly equal proportion.

Credit goes to wiki

By najmi70 — On Jun 09, 2009

Does chocolate liquor contain alcohol (even in minor quantity)?

By sadiq — On Dec 22, 2008

Does chocolate liquor contain alcohol ( even in minor quantity)?

By dew — On Nov 29, 2008

hi, i wanted to know if chocolate liquor is or has any alcohol elements.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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