The Difference Between Bittersweet and Semisweet Chocolate

  • 2 min read

How Chocolate Is Distinguished

Creating chocolate is an art form, and with any art form, there are many ways to distinguish one piece from another. A chocolatier must spend time choosing the ingredients, methods, and taste they want to achieve to make chocolate. Bittersweet chocolate is notable, giving the darkest and most decadent chocolate taste possible.

Chocolate gets its taste and appearance depending on the amount of cacao is included in it. Since white chocolate uses 20-32% cacao, more cocoa butter is added to the chocolate, giving it its light and creamy taste and appearance. Similarly, milk chocolate is made with 33%-45% cacao and tastes sweet, but the additional cacao makes milk chocolate’s flavor slightly more complex.

White and milk chocolates are made with these specific ranges of cacao percentages. The small range of cacao is why these two chocolate flavors are more understood than dark chocolate. 20% white chocolate will taste similar to 31% white chocolate; however, 52% dark chocolate will taste drastically different from 72% dark chocolate.

Dilettante Chocolates Mocha Cafe Scale

Bittersweet and Semisweet Chocolate

The terms bittersweet and semisweet began to circulate in the United States to describe dark chocolate flavors better. These chocolate varieties are also generally accompanied by a cacao percentage to show the specific flavor of each.

Bittersweet chocolate refers to chocolate made with the highest percentage of cacao. As the name implies, the taste is bitter with subtle fruity flavor notes. This chocolate is most appreciated by chocolate connoisseurs who are acquainted with the sophisticated flavor.

Semisweet chocolate describes dark chocolate made with 50%-65% cacao, sweeter than its bittersweet counterpart. This chocolate has more depth than milk and white chocolate while still retaining a distinct sweetness.

Dilettante Mocha Cafés adopted all of these chocolate varieties into its Chocolate Scale. At these cafés, customers can choose between white, milk, semisweet, and bittersweet chocolate blends to include in their hot chocolate or espresso drink.

For those not in the Seattle-area, Dilettante makes Semisweet and Bittersweet Ephemere Sauces to enjoy at home. These sauces can make various drinks and desserts to taste the dark chocolate flavors in different contexts. Try Dilettante's Ephemere sauces and learn why semisweet and bittersweet chocolate is beloved.

Shop Dilettante Chocolate Sauce

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Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Ryan has a fondness for the outdoors, music, and coffee. Some of his favorites are Dilettante's Chocolate-Covered Bing Cherries and L'Orange Truffles. Through his writing and content, he hopes to grow the Dilettante community.