Maple Syrup Grades
Maple syrup is graded for quality and flavour. In order to prevent poor quality maple syrup being sold in the market, maple syrup, if crossing a border is required to be graded.
What's the Best Maple Syrup Grade?
Well, it's completely personal preference. Some people like the light milder flavours while others prefer the strongest darkest flavours. There really isn't a right answer. The most common question we get asked about maple syrup grades is, do different grades of maple syrup taste different.
Why Does Maple Syrup Come in Different Grades?
Maple syrup comes in different grades due to a number of factors. We are not going to cover them all here so for more information on why maple syrup comes in different grades, check out Maple Syrup: What Makes the grade.
Maple Syrup Grades Explained
So here in Canada, maple syrup has to be graded if it is leaving the Province. Not just anyone can grade maple syrup. Maple syrup can only be graded by maple syrup companies that are registered to grade maple syrup with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
In Canada, the maple syrup industries prescribe to the international maple syrup grade standards. And anyone grading maple syrup is bound by the maple product regulations set out by Health Canada.
There are three main parts to a maple syrup grade:
- The maple syrup grade
- The maple syrup colour class
- The maple syrup flavour descriptor
Here is an example of a maple syrup grade commonly found on packaged maple syrup products.
Canada Grade A Amber, Rich Taste
Grade Colour Class, Flavour Descriptor
Maple Syrup Grades
Grade A maple syrup is a high-quality maple syrup that tastes really good and has that distinctive maple flavour. It has to be free of objectional flavours and odours.
Processing grade is just anything that doesn't meet Grade A maple syrup requirements.
Maple Syrup Colour Classes
Grade A maple syrup is divided into four colour classes and each colour class is assigned a flavour descriptor to help consumers understand what that maple syrup is supposed to taste like.
Golden maple syrup with a delicate taste
Mildest in flavour and lightest in colour, golden maple syrup has a bit of a butter popcorn flavour. This grade is great for use on foods, not in foods. So poured on ice cream, pancakes or waffles. Drizzled over French toast or fresh cut fruit.
Amber maple syrup with a rich taste
A more medium maple flavour which is darker in colour. Amber maple syrup has a stronger flavour than golden and has a richer flavour that is a bit more maple. Amber maple syrup is great for use in foods or on foods. Use amber maple syrup on pancakes, waffles, French toast, in oatmeal or yogurt.
Dark maple syrup with a robust taste
A stronger flavour that is much darker in colour. Also a great choice for use in or on foods. Again, the traditional uses like pancakes and waffles are a great place for dark. But since it has a stronger flavour, dark maple syrup is great in things like smoothies, curry dishes and anything spicy that you want to add a little earthy sweetness too. Also great in tea, coffee and even baking.
Very dark maple syrup with a strong taste
The strongest maple flavour and darkest colour. Very dark maple syrup is a favourite amongst bakers, chefs and those looking for a strong maple flavour. Very dark maple syrup, like dark, is great in foods such as smoothies, curry dishes and anything spicy that you want to add a little earthy sweetness too. Also a great choice for baking and preserves. Very dark maple syrup is also a great ingredient for the professional or amateur brewer.