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Defining Chocolate: Crowd-Sourced Chocolate Glossary LIVE; All Are Invited To Contribute

Specialty Food Association

A crowd-sourced Chocolate Glossary of terms announced by the Fine Chocolate Industry Association addresses industry confusion by establishing a common language around all aspects of chocolate. 

This is no small task. The fine chocolate ecosystem is global and encompasses many languages and cultures from around the world. It’s time that’s understood, embraced and defined. 

FCIA Member Survey Indicates Need 

FCIA conducted a member survey in 2022 that indicated a need for a Wikipedia-style, online glossary of industry terms considering both semantic, scientific and geographic differences in language used by the fine chocolate industry and consumers. 

“In order to differentiate fine chocolate from the bulk market, it’s important to discuss and define terms like traceability and sustainability,” says Kate Cavallin, who chairs the FCIA Value Chain committee and is the Business Operations Manager for Cacao Latitudes. “The Chocolate Glossary will be an important evaluation tool for collaborating and growing the fine chocolate industry.” 

Welcome To The Chocolate Glossary 

Based on the survey findings, FCIA has launched a Glossary of Fine Chocolate Terms a.k.a. the Chocolate Glossary, a publicly accessible research tool. 

This innovative, knowledge-sharing tool is helpful for people at all levels of chocolate knowledge and welcomes input from stakeholders throughout the value chain. Definitions will be authored by invited experts (FCIA members and non-members), and are required to: 1) use language accessible to a non-expert; 2) include a reference list of credible sources; 3) include an example specific to cocoa/chocolate if the term is not specific to the industry, i.e. “fair trade”. It’s open source, collaborative and everyone’s invited to contribute. Entries will be subject to ongoing review and revision by FCIA members and external experts. 

FCIA Glossary Feedback Form: Anyone can use this Google form to propose a term to add to the Glossary, a new author or webinar speaker, or suggest revisions to existing terms. If you are submitting a new entry, please draft your definition and gather all sources and supporting links to a word processing document, then include with your submission. Revisions will be reviewed and adopted twice yearly, spring and autumn. 

“We want to recognize the work that has come before in developing a shared language around fine chocolate,” says Dr. Kristy Leissle, chocolate scholar and author of “Cocoa”. “This is not about saying we have it all figured out, but a process by which to generate knowledge collaboratively around the terminology of fine chocolate.” 

Cocoa Ecosystem Webinar: Watch & Learn! 

Want more info? Watch FCIA’s most recent webinar, Cocoa Ecosystem Report: The Common Language of Fine Chocolate. Curated and hosted by Cavallin and Leissle. 

The webinar features an all-star fine chocolate industry panel: Albert Chau (co-founder of Fifth Dimension Chocolates), Alysha Kropf (partner at Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts), Eduardo Somarriba (professor of agroforestry at CATIE, Costa Rica), Kojo Hayford (publisher/editor of the Cocoa Post in Accra, Ghana, and founder of the Ghana Cocoa Awards), and Monica Rogan (co-founder and chocolate maker at Goodnow Farms Chocolate )

“If we don’t come through as an industry, we’re not going to be included in that conversation as cacao farmers, chocolate makers and chocolatiers,” says Rogan. “There are so many stakeholders in the FCIA and in fine chocolate with so much passion and connection to the industry that our ability to work together to shape the conversation is a tremendous asset for professionals and the public.”  

For instance, chocolate makers craft chocolate from cacao beans; chocolatiers use it to create something beautiful, unique and delicious. Some define cacao as the tree and seeds pre-fermentation, at which point they become cocoa. Others disagree. In short, words matter, and a standard lexicon that fosters clear communication is a valuable tool needed for the overall chocolate-consuming market. This will leave the fine chocolate industry free to increase its market share.

Partner In Chocolate 

The Glossary of Fine Chocolate Terms was made possible, in part, due to support from our sponsor, the TSIRO Alliance, in collaboration with a group of international companies working in cacao and spices joining forces to help some of Madagascar’s critical environmental and economic problems. 

Contact: with any questions or requests for interviews with FCIA executives, members and/or experts featured in the Cocoa Ecosystem Report: The Common Language of Fine Chocolate webinar. 


TSIRO stands for (Thriving & Sustainable Investments for land Restoration and economic Opportunity) and means “flavor” in Malagasy. The alliance focuses on conserving biodiversity and improving the livelihoods of smallholder cacao and spice farmers to support agroforestry systems and enhance biodiversity in Madagascar. This public-private partnership will invest in diversifying income streams using climate-smart agriculture techniques and reasserting the value of healthy trees and ecosystems to support Madagascar’s fragile ecosystem. 


The Fine Chocolate Industry Association (FCIA) is the only organization focused exclusively on supporting fine chocolate professionals throughout the entire value chain. FCIA is a membership organization represented and governed by the fine chocolate industry. Our members are private sector entities representing all stages of the value chain from farm to finished product. A non-profit (501c6) founded in 2007, FCIA has over 350 members in more than 20 countries.