Friday, May 20, 2011

An Impromptu Chocolate Tasting at CHI 2011

Chocolate tasting is always fun, no matter how large the crowd. We discovered this at CHI 2011, the International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, where I was asked to organize a chocolate tasting event for the 2000+ attendees on behalf of IBM.

Due to the space constraints of the event, and the very short lead time I had to prepare, the tasting included only 12 chocolates, chosen from what was readily available in large quantities and had a proven history in our tastings: Lindt Milk & Dark, Divine Milk & Dark, Godiva Milk & Dark, Lake Champlain Milk & Dark, Trader Joe's Milk & Dark, Valhrona Le Noir Amer, and Chocolove Strong Dark.

In a cocktail party setting with the chocolate laid out directly between h'orderves and the open bar, the results had a predictably high standard of deviation. Opinions on the chocolate varied widely, but Godiva Milk Chocolate and Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate stood out as popular.

Data integrity aside, the event was certainly fun, and there's nothing quite like seeing a couple thousand people take a break from the conference to get excited about chocolate!

Feel free to check out the complete anonymized dataset (xls) from those attendees who filled out and handed in tasting sheets.