Winterthur – Sensory researchers have managed to break down the various aromas that make up the smell of cocoa. These 25 key aromas have now been named and can be obtained as part of an aroma kit. This cocoa vocabulary helps to create a common language, similar to that used for wine tastings.

ZHAW Schoggi
Bild: Image credit


Two researchers from the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) have unlocked the secret behind the essence of chocolate. According to a press release, they have identified each of the 25 key substances that makes up the aroma of chocolate. The cocoa aroma kit, a type of library of smells, can be obtained from the ZHAW. It was developed by Irene Chetschik and Karin Chatelain, two aroma and sensory researchers at the ZHAW Institute of Food and Beverage Innovation.

The labels on these 25 small bottles include notes on the characteristics such as “bell pepper-like”, “flowery rose-like” and “popcorn-like roosty”. This evidence-based vocabulary is designed to help train aroma perception. In a similar way to wine tastings, it facilitates communication about the specific characteristics of chocolate. Precisely describing the individual aroma impressions represents an important tool to simplify communication between chocolate professionals and interested consumers, the press release states.

The respective aroma composition of a piece of chocolate is influenced both by the origin and variant of the cocoa fruit. Furthermore, subsequent biochemical and thermal processing steps also have a role to play in this regard.

“The innovative aroma kit is our way of improving the understanding of the sensory qualities of cocoa and chocolate. In this way, we can also share our fascination with the huge diversity of aromas offered by cocoa with the general public”, explains Irene Chetschik in the press release.

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