Understanding The Differences Between Grade A and Grade B Maple Syrup

bottles of grade a and grade b maple syrup
Bottles of grade A and grade B Maple Syrup

Grade B maple syrup is of the same high quality as Grade A maple syrup.

That's what we learned this spring on an outing to a local Quebec sugar shack.

You could be excused for thinking that Grade B means inferior quality.

After all, when you're buying agricultural products, a higher grade usually signifies a superior product.

The grading system for maple syrup operates differently.

So How is Maple Syrup Graded?

It's quite simple really. Maple syrup is graded by its colour, or by its light transmittance.

The bottles in the above picture are sorted by grade. The bottles to the left transmit more light, while the bottles to the right transmit less light.

Consequently, the lighter maple syrup scores a higher grade than the darker maple syrup.

Is there an International Grading System for Maple Syrup?

Canada produces 80% of the world's maple syrup. However, there is also some production that originates from several Northern US states.

Whether you're buying Canadian or American maple syrup, the same general principles of grading will apply.

However, each country labels the product differently.

This chart is useful if you want to compare the two labeling systems side by side.

A chart illustrating different grades of Maple Syrup

Does the Grade of Maple Syrup Affect the Taste?

It most certainly does.

The lighter the colour, the more subtle the flavor. This chart lists both grading systems and each grades corresponding characteristics.

You'll notice that US grade B maple syrup appears at the bottom of the chart. It has a lower light transmittance, and a darker colour. It's stronger maple flavor is great for baking and cooking.

Chart illustrating Maple Syrup grades and how they taste.

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