One would imagine that all you need to be a chocolate taster is a very active set of taste buds. All day, you’d taste one sweet chocolate type or another. But professionals have a different story to tell. Life isn’t full of sweet abundances. Very often, it’s quite the contrary.
Often, they have to taste very bitter chocolates if only to find the defect in them. So, life for a chocolate taster isn’t all that sweet after all. It’s also a rigorous life on the whole, with a lot of imagination and creativity needed to pour into your work, your opinion of the taste of certain chocolates and such like. If you can do this day after day and sustain it for a lifetime, then this one’s for you.
So, it could be a great life for you if you feel you can manage all of this and much more. To know exactly what the life of a chocolate taster entails, read on and be better informed of what lies ahead for you if you want to be a professional chocolate taster.
These are the following information you will get in this article of “How to become a Chocolate Taster”
Chocolate taster Education requirement
Education 1 (Mandate): Applicants has to pass their Senior High School (12th Standard) exams
Education 2 (Mandate): Certificate in Chocolate Tasting
To become a certified chocolate taster you have to pass a certification exam organised by the International Institute of Chocolate & Cacao Tasting (IICCT).
Education 3 (Mandate): Professional Chocolatier Program
Professional Chocolatier Program specially launched for those applicants who want to become a chocolate taster in a short period of time by learning the basics fundamentals of making chocolates.
The time duration of these programs usually 1 month to 3 months
There are many institutes or academy available today, which provides you knowledge about how to taste Chocolates and how to become a Chocolate Taster.
The list of institutions where you can get the education of culinary arts and tasting chocolates are also mentioned below in this article.
Note: You need not be a chocolatier, knowledge of making chocolate is an advantage though.
Education 4 (Optional): Bachelor’s Degree
If you want to go for research and product development & want to grab better career opportunities in the same field you must pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Food Technology or Nutrition and Food Science.
However, education is not required to become a chocolate taster but you can’t keep aside the education. The colleges or academy provides you with a better understanding of chocolates and helps you to develop your skills in a short span of time. There you will get trained under master chocolate tester. Your qualification shows how much you are passionate about this individual field, which will eventually help you to get a job.
Prerequisite to become a Chocolate taster
Besides the educational qualifications, prospective chocolate tasters should not have any pre-existing food allergies. They should be prepared to do taste tests during working hours and on weekdays.
All applicants interested in becoming chocolate tasters should be a minimum of 18 years to be part of the programs.
What will you learn during the Chocolatier Program?
- Chocolate history and varieties of cacao
- Understand the chemistry of chocolate so you can create better and successful chocolate recipes.
- What are key elements are added to raw chocolate to make it delicious
- Learn modern decorating techniques
- Chocolate tempering, dipping and molding
- How to differentiate multiple chocolate samples
- Profiling and blind tasting of chocolates for better understanding
Best colleges/Institutes in the US to become a Chocolate taster
There are several online courses in chocolate making, but the one hands-on course of great repute is the Chocolate Academy, Chicago.
Other institutes or colleges in the United States who provide similar education in the chocolate tasting are:
- International Institute of Chocolate and Cacao Tasting(IICCT)
- The Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute (FCCI)
- Ghirardelli Chocolate Discovery Centre, St. Helena, California
- Ecole Chocolat, San Francisco, CA U.S.
- Chamak Chocolate Academy, Sugar Land Texas
- Artisanne’s Chocolatier Program, Michigan
- Institute of Culinary Education, New York
What are the Skills a Chocolate Taster should have?
Mst people think that this job requires no skill, but only active taste buds, however, this is far from the truth. This is a highly skilled job requiring a lot of training and a very high standard of scientific and technical capabilities.
Being a chocolate taster calls for several skills, which are:
- Applicants should be passionate about confectionery and allowing their taste buds to detect difference in tastes, etc.
- They should have demonstrable basic level cooking experience and prior knowledge of melting, moulding and tempering chocolates.
- They should also know about the texture and flavour of foods, particularly chocolates.
- They should have proven knowledge and skills of crafting chocolates.
- Candidates should also display their knowledge of the subject, apart from having a firm commitment to the job.
- They should also be creative and imaginative about flavours, and pay great attention to details.
- They should be patient and have an overall finesse when working with chocolates.
- They should have enthusiasm towards the subject of chocolates and be well-informed about the latest trends in the chocolate industry.
- They should be eager to try out new products.
- They should give their opinion honestly and objectively.
- They should have good communication skills and some level of marketing and public relations skills.
- They should be able to forge relationships with their colleagues.
- They should be fluent in the English language.
- Of course, the most essential skill that you would have is a strong sense of taste and smell.
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Companies/Stores who hire Chocolate tasters
The top 12 chocolate stores in the United States where you can get a job as a Chocolate Taster are:
#1. Mast Brothers, New York: Pioneers in the bean to bar movement, the Mast Brothers are involved in every step of chocolate making. In fact, they are committed to their craft, bringing creativity to their artisan brand.
#2. Jacques Torres, New York: Initially a pastry chef, Torres drew on his professional experiences to become a chocolatier par excellence. Guests can gorge on ice cream and hot chocolate with a dash of dark chocolate and red hot chilli pepper.
#3. Vosges Haute Chocolate, Chicago: This Company makes truffles and chocolate bars inspired by rich flavours and life experiences. Some of their signature flavours include an African red tea and tart cherry bar and a cinnamon and sugar bacon bar.
#4. Patric Chocolate, Columbia: Yet another prize line of artisan chocolates, Patric Chocolate is born of the single efforts of its owner, Alan Patric McClure, who spent a year in France where he was besotted by chocolates. His entrepreneurial spirit came to the fore and his line of chocolates was soon born, something that soon wowed Americans. And not just that, it also began to win accolades from the best of food magazines and journals, such as Gourmet Magazine, Food and Wine Magazine, and honours from Good Food Awards. With an initial product line of chocolate bars, this company soon moved into more of bars with exotic flavours such as black licorice, raspberry-balsamic pear and red coconut curry.
#5. Rogue Chocolatier, Massachusetts: This chocolate company is known for its basic simplicity in letting its flavours take centre stage. It uses only sugar and cocoa, not cocoa butter to produce a line of simple products. These chocolates are made absolutely hands-on and with great craftsmanship.
#6. Chocolopolis, Seattle: This one’s a little different from others listed here. It doesn’t make chocolates from bean-to-bar but curates the best of craft chocolate from all over the world. Additionally, it makes the best of drinking chocolates, imaginative bars and drop-dead confections. It has a menu of combinations to die for such as dried blueberries, dark chocolate, hazelnuts, dried cherries and vanilla sea salt.
#7. Castronovo Chocolate, Florida: This company gives the distinct flavour and integrity of chocolate prominent place by slowing down the chocolate-making process and letting the aroma and taste of the beans come through. A multiple award-winning company, it makes single-origin bars, apart from truffles and seasonal chocolates.
#8. Theo Chocolate, Seattle: Here’s one chocolate manufacturer that cares for the environment. This company uses fair trade and organic ingredients to make their unique chocolates. Their chocolates are also free of GMO, thereby proving to be socially responsible too. They also hold chocolate making classes.
#9. Amano, Cincinnati: This Company is in the business of making artisan chocolate and raising it to a fine art. It brings its cocoa into the country from Peru, Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Papua New Guinea–all homes of exotic cocoa. Once here, the beans are cared for especially and processed to be the finest chocolate bars.
#10. FIKA Chocolates, Manhattan: What New Yorkers know and love as FIKA’s pastries, chocolates and coffee shop, has expanded to serve not just these but also many more food items from its 15 locations all over New York. The credit of this goes to all the skilled chocolate artisans who create chocolates with the finest blends of ingredients in interesting shapes, sizes and designs. FIKA’s handmade delicacies are all due to its master chocolatier who comes from Europe and wows the people of New York, or just anyone who walks into one of their locations. They stand out from their competition for making all their ingredients in-house and by hand, every day.
#11. French Broad Chocolates, Asheville: Here’s the baby of a couple much in love not just with each other but with chocolate too. Actually, the idea of this chocolate line began in a small cafe in Costa Rica but only came to fruition after a few years in the south-eastern US in North Carolina. From here, the story of this wonderful line of bean-to-bar chocolates to make quality competitive bars, truffles and other chocolate delights–all in their charming chocolate lounge in the small town of Asheville.
#12. Askinosie Chocolate, Missouri: Created in 2007, this family-owned company is ably supported by a professional team of chocolatiers who are passionate about their craft. The company makes a line of chocolate products such as bars, nibs, chocolate drinks, chocolate hazelnut spread and cocoa powder.
Besides the above, other well-known chocolate manufacturers in the United States where you can also apply for the job are Mondelez, Nutella, Godiva Chocolates, Ferrero Rocher, Lindt Chocolates, McCormick & Company, etc.
Chocolate Taster Job Description
Though this job sounds like a joke, chocolate manufacturers do employ professional tasters to taste their products at every level of production. By this means, they save heavily on rejection in the market. Professional tasters can tell them if there is too much of cocoa or chocolate, sugar or any other ingredient and the taste can then be altered to perfection. So, in a sense, you could call this professional a Quality Control Manager.
A professional chocolate taster, therefore, has a very responsible role to play in a chocolate factory. Being a chocolate taster is a link in the chain of the food technology process which works to produce the perfect chocolate.
The job begins when at various levels of the manufacturing process, the taster is given samples of chocolates to taste and give his or her honest and objective opinion. The taster must also test the chocolate in question on parameters of the texture of the chocolate and its nutritional value. From this, it is obvious that tasting chocolates is integral to the manufacturing process
To enjoy your life as a chocolate taster, you need to have a basic passion for it. Remember that there will be huge pressure on you to create large volumes of superior quality chocolates consistently. You might have to work long hours to fulfil large orders within a set deadline.
You might also find it a huge challenge to make thousands of chocolates of the same design and piece structure. This job also involves being on your feet for several hours at a time and moving supplies and equipment, meaning that you also need great reserves of endurance and physical strength.
Watch this video of Orietta Gianjorio, a real life professional chocolate taster
Watch this video how a chocolate expert taste chocolates and they differentiate between them.
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Are you right for the chocolate taster job?
If you are a food scientist, or have done a course in Nutrition and Food Technology or have done certification or course in the chocolate making and tasting, you will be the right person for this highly skilled job. Once you do this course, obviously you will have strong observational and analytical skills which are basic to this job. You will also have strong and accurate record-taking abilities.
Chocolate taster Career Scope
Most probably you will end up with a part-time job, which is not really bad you can do lots of other kinds of stuff like you can work for other chocolate stores or you can provide your expert opinions for many different companies to develop a better a product.
Apart from becoming a chocolate taster to confectioneries, hotels or any other set-up, you can also position yourself as a Chocolate Consultant, an entrepreneur who is well-informed about the chocolate-making process and educates buyers on this. Lindt Chocolates has created the position of RSVP Advisors who host small parties in order to sell Lindt’s products.
Another career that you can think of taking up is that of a Chocolate Guide who takes people on a tour of chocolate shops in town and guides them to buy chocolates according to their likes. Sometimes, these are walking tours, yet others are in stretch limousines.
Chocolate taster Salary
The average salary per year for a chocolatier is $21,000, but at the top of the chocolatier’s salary pyramid is the one who earns $90,000 to $100,000 per year.
The life of a chocolate taster may seem rosy from the outside, but those in the profession know the hard work that is involved. So, only if you have an innate passion for chocolates and centring your life around it should you take up this niche profession.
In this article, I hope to shine a bit of light on the subject “How to become a Chocolate taster” so you can make the right choice for your career.