Making sense of maple syrup grades
Maple syrup comes in two grades and four colour classes. While all syrups are processed in the exact same manner, the different colour classes of maple syrup are simply a reflection of the different harvesting times of the season. As a general rule (but not 100% guarantee all the time) the lighter in colour a syrup is, the milder in flavour the maple syrup and the earlier it was harvested. As the season progresses, the maple syrup gets darker in colour and stronger in flavour.
This categorization system helps to organize maple syrup according to whether it was harvested early or late in the season. It also guarantees a certain level of guarantee for the consumer, so they are able to select the colour and taste class on the label.
The system also ensures standardization among all maple products. That means no matter in which province or state maple products are produced, the taste standards are clearly defined and regulated.
It also ensures adherence to all laws concerning quality and cleanliness at the provincial and state levels.
Light transmission in %: 75 and more
Flavour: Delicate taste
Colour: Slightly golden
Light transmission in %: 50 to 74.9
Flavour: Rich taste
Light transmission in %: 25 to 49.9
Flavour: Robust taste
Light transmission in %: 25 or less
Flavour: Strong taste
Colour: Very dark
Is one grade better than another?
NO. The classes are not graded according to quality. Each class has its own special characteristics and applications. All syrup sold at retail is Grade A syrup, while Grade B syrup is used exclusively in food processing. Grade A syrup is divided into 4 colours each with its own intensity of maple flavour.
The chemistry of the sap is different every day. It gets darker as the time goes on. There is no difference in the amount of sugar between the grades. All maple syrup have the same sugar content. The darker syrup, the stronger the flavour.