How Many Cocoa Beans Does It Take To Make One Bar Of Chocolate? - Exclusive

Chocolate is a marvelous culinary creation that comes straight from the earth and transforms into a sweet, decadent, creamy treat. One of the most popular ways to eat chocolate is in a good old-fashioned chocolate bar. Some of our favorites include chocolate bars from Toblerone and Milka, both of which are under the umbrella of Mondelez International, a European organization that promotes sweets all over the world.

In celebration of World Chocolate Day, we sat down with Mondelez International's chocolate sommelier, Michelle Pickering, who is Senior Director for Research, Development & Quality in Europe, to learn more about chocolate. The first thing we wanted to know is what is chocolate actually made of. "Chocolate comes from cocoa [pods], which [are] considered a fruit," Pickering explained. Inside the fruit are the cocoa beans, which are used to actually make the chocolate bar. You may have heard about how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, but the most pressing question on our minds is: How many cocoa beans does it take to make a chocolate bar? 

The surprising number of cocoa beans you need to make a chocolate bar

Chocolate bars are universally wonderful. You can eat them on the go, you can break them into chunks to bake into your chocolate chip cookies, or you can savor them in between two graham crackers with a roasted marshmallow. Our world would be duller without chocolate bars, but making them is a labor-intensive endeavor. In order to produce a chocolate bar, you need a massive amount of water — as much as 1,700 liters for a single 100-gram chocolate bar. With that much water, how many cocoa beans are needed to make that same bar? According to Pickering, "It takes about 90 to 120 cocoa beans to make one 100-gram bar of milk chocolate." The number can vary slightly depending on individual recipes and cocoa percentage, but it's always an astonishingly large amount of cocoa beans — even larger for dark chocolate. The process of bean to bar is nothing short of magical: "Once you've got [the cocoa pod], you harvest the beans, [ferment them, dry them, roast them], and then finally you get this amazing chocolate to enjoy."