Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Maple Syrup Grading is a Bit Like Wine Tasting

In response to our customers' questions about maple syrup grades here's an infographic to help us understand the ins and outs of maple syrup. Not unlike wine, each grade offers its own unique set of distinctive flavours and tones, and everyone has his or her own personal preference.

This information is taken from the Coombs Family Farm website. They grow top quality, organically grown and processed maple syrups. The same grading system also applies to maple syrups grown worldwide.

In 2015, maple producers worldwide began complying with a new, universal grading system. The International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI) proposed new maple grades to alleviate consumer confusion and to provide continuity for export markets. Previously, Canada, Vermont, and New York all had different grading systems.
In addition, there was a common misconception among consumers that Grade B maple syrup was somehow inferior to Grade A syrup.  Conversely, others believed that Grade B syrup was superior to Grade A, in that it had more nutrients and trace minerals.

"The truth of the matter..."

There is no consistent difference between the grades in terms of minerals or nutrients. Maple syrup is a single-ingredient, natural product and as such, it varies from year to year, from forest to forest, and from tree to tree! Even the method of boiling can influence the colour and flavour of maple syrup; reverse osmosis machines remove up to 50 percent of the water from the sap prior to boiling, resulting in a shorter boil and less caramelization of the sugars in the sap. But maple syrup grades are determined by colour and flavour. The darker the colour, the more intense the maple flavour. Lighter syrups are produced earlier in the sugaring season, and darker syrups are produced as the season progresses.

Real maple syrup is divided into two primary grades. 

The new maple syrup grades are outlined below:

1. Grade A (with four classifications):

Sold in retail markets, this high quality pure maple syrup grade is intended for human consumption.There are four separate designations and flavour profiles under this grade:

  • Golden Colour and Delicate Taste: With a pronounced golden hue, this delicate and mild tasting syrup is often a favourite pairing for pancakes. (This is comparable to Grade A Light Amber).
  • Amber Colour and Rich Taste: Also ideal for pancakes, this amber coloured syrup, which can be either light, medium, or darker in hue, has a full-bodied and rich flavour. (This is comparable to Grade A Medium Amber or Grade A Dark Amber).
  • Dark Colour and Robust Taste: Stronger and darker than the lighter grades, this has a robust and substantial flavour ideal for grilled, glazed, or baked dishes. (It is comparable to Grade A Dark Amber, Grade A Extra Dark, or Grade B).
  • Very Dark and Strong Taste: This is The strongest maple syrup flavour and is typically used for cooking.
2. Processing Grade:

This second grade of maple syrup is not permitted for retail sale, but is suitable as an ingredient in food products. While it doesn’t meet Grade A requirements, it does meet all other maple regulations and food quality/safety guidelines.
And there it is - you learn something new every day!

Maple Syrup, organic
(Grade A, dark colour, robust flavour, 100% pure - 946 ml)

Organic maple syrup sourced from a collective of small, independent, organic family farms in Canada and the US. This syrup is dark, thick and has a deliciously robust flavour. 100% pure straight up goodness. Comes in two sizes, the 946 ml and the 250 mls in a glass bottle.

Maple Syrup, organic
(Grade A, clear amber, rich taste, 100% pure - 1 litre)

Maple syrup is primarily made from the sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees. In cold climates, the starch stored by these trees is converted to sugars that rise in the sap in the spring. The sap is then processed by heating, leaving the concentrated syrup.

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