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Diversity of sensory profiles and physicochemical characteristics of commercial hot chocolate drinks from cocoa powders and block chocolates


The aim of this study was to determine the sensory profiles and related physicochemical properties of commercial hot chocolate drink preparations. Nine samples of hot chocolate drinks including instant cocoa powder with (CPM) or without powdered milk (CP) and block chocolate (BC), available in Germany, were evaluated by a sensory panel using quantitative descriptive analysis with fifteen attributes describing appearance, odour, texture and flavour. Composition showed distinct effects on sensory properties, with each product category (CPM, CP, and BC) being represented by a characteristic sensory profile. CPMs are characterized by the significantly smallest particle size, lowest viscosity and lightness, highest pH, and cocoa-like sensory properties. CPs showed intermediate particle size, viscosity, lightness, and pH, and were described by sugar and milk properties. BCs had the significantly largest particle size, highest viscosity and lightness, and lowest pH. Noticeable in the sensory description of BCs are large particles, oil droplets and a less cocoa-like and unbalanced taste. Generally, cocoa and milk properties are opposites and proportional to cocoa and protein content, respectively. Beverage rheology is greatly influenced by fat content, while colour is directly linked to the protein content. Milk reconstitution from powder does not match milk as dispersant and consequently enhances cocoa properties of hot chocolate drinks.

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Correspondence to Susann Zahn.

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The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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The sensory evaluation was done with staff and students of the Chair of Food Engineering at the Technische Universität Dresden. All panellists were preliminary informed about the aim of the research and the nature of the samples. No personal data were collected or used in any forms.

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Mazo Rivas, J.C., Dietze, M., Zahn, S. et al. Diversity of sensory profiles and physicochemical characteristics of commercial hot chocolate drinks from cocoa powders and block chocolates. Eur Food Res Technol 244, 1407–1414 (2018).

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  • Hot chocolate
  • Sensory profile
  • Physicochemical properties
  • Multivariate analysis