Level 1 and Level 2 Chocolate Tasting Intensive Training Chocolate Tasting Intensive Tasting

About the course

Becoming an experienced chocolate taster requires an understanding of sensory tasting and theory in chocolate making and cacao production, but most of all, it requires developing your palate through practice at tasting, with repeated tasting across a range of samples being the best way to build up your personal chocolate flavour reference.

Our capacity for sensory evaluation and the ability to detect nuanced flavours comes from our sensory experience, built up over time from our childhood, our cultural environment and our exposure to variety and quality of flavour archetypes. Our ability to taste complexity, balance and distinctiveness and to recognise and name the flavour notes we taste in chocolate is like a muscle or a trained skill – practice is the only way to truly become an expert.

Taste 100 samples a day!

The Intensive Training course helps to ‘stretch’ your palate through intensive and high volume tasting of origin dark chocolate, with up to 100 samples tasted on each of the two tasting days, guided by expert tasters. In competitions and when buying, wine sommeliers or coffee cuppers can taste 100s of samples in a session and this is equally true of professional technicians evaluating cacao samples, or for judges and Grand Jury members at the International Chocolate Awards.

The intensive course will give you window into professional level tasting and help you expand your palate experience and push your boundaries and guide you towards identifying positive and negative notes even when your palate is overloaded with the quantity of samples and the tannin build up that comes with high-volume chocolate sampling.

Like any skill, practice and training is key to the development of an expert, with the rule of ‘10,000 hours’ of practice (or ‘10,000’ chocolate bars) required to reach a professional standard. Level 1 Chocolate Tasting Intensive Tasting Training will help you develop towards this goal.

Day 1 – Level 1: Sensory preparation

The first day will include a brief introduction to the Institute’s profiling system for those who have not previously used our evaluation software and will include practice at quick evaluations of samples and trial tastings of flights and origins of craft dark chocolate bars in preparation for the two main tasting days. Subjects covered will include how our taste perception changes over the course of the day with the build up of samples and how we can mitigate the effects on our palate.

The Level 1 course will be assessed through a short multiple choice exam of twenty questions to check your understanding of the preparation content.

Day 2 and 3 – Level 2: Intensive tasting practice

Intensive mentored evaluation sessions in small groups, with individual and group profiling using the Institute’s online flavour profile evaluation system. The sessions will include structured tasting of flights of chocolate from different origins, single origin cacaos and single varieties. You will taste and compare bars from different chocolate makers using the same cacao sources side by side, comparing recipes, roasts, styles and conditions, with group discussion, mentored by our expert tasters. The samples will include examples of chocolate considered, good, outstanding, medium, industrial quality and defective.

Up to 100 samples will be tasted each day, including repeat tasting of calibration chocolate tasted throughout the day to monitor how your palate is changing and illustrate how reference tasting can help you evaluate a large number of samples at one sitting.

Please note that Level 1 and 2 in Chocolate Tasting Intensive Training are currently held as a combined course only and you must attend all three days to complete the course.

Entry requirements

There are no entry requirements for the Chocolate Tasting Intensive Training course, though Level 1 and 2 Certificate in Chocolate Tasting is recommended, or coming from a professional chocolate making, distributor or retail background or as an established independent taster. Students without some previous tasting experience may have difficulties tasting the number of samples required and keeping up with the pace of the group.

What's included
  • Up to 100 hundred chocolate samples per day (on the two main days)
  • A serious approach to chocolate tasting mentored by expert tasters
  • Tasting chocolate like a wine sommelier or coffee cupper
  • Intensive tasting of dark plain chocolate bars
  • Approximately 250 samples tasted in total
  • Side-by-side comparison of different origins and sources of cacao
  • Comparison of different recipes and cacao roasts
  • Sampling of medium quality and industrial chocolate for comparison
  • Group and class discussions and analysis of the tasted samples
  • Personal and group electronic profiles of all samples tasted
  • Access to the profiles after the course
  • Assessments to test your knowledge
  • Institutes certificates for those successfully passing the assessments
Who should take this course?
  • Chocolate Tasters looking to move onto the next level
  • Tasters wishing to develop along a professional path
  • Chocolate makers looking to taste a greater range of chocolate
  • Judges or potential judges at the International Chocolate Awards looking for more practice and guidance
  • Chocolate lovers looking for a challenge!

Please note that the course is not recommended for those new to the fine origin or craft chocolate world. We recommend that you first take our Level 1 and 2 Certificate in Chocolate Tasting Courses to give you a good introduction to the subject.