What Happened to Grade B Maple Syrup?

Understanding The New Maple Syrup Grading System

grade-info-smG rade A is the new Grade B. The way maple syrup is graded and labeled is changing. Don’t worry—your favorite syrup isn’t going away. It’s just changing its name.

Bottom Line:  If you are looking for Grade B maple syrup, perhaps because you are doing a Master Cleanse, choose Grade A Dark Color, Robust Taste Maple Syrup.  It’s the same maple syrup you know and love, with the same nutrients and minerals, just with a new name industry-wide.

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 is that 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 color and flavor 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 color and flavor. The darker the color, the more intense the maple flavor. Not unlike wine, each grade offers its own unique set of distinctive flavors and tones, and everyone has his own personal preference. Lighter syrups are are produced earlier in the sugaring season, and darker syrups are produced as the season progresses.

What it all boils down to (ahem) is personal preference.  Some prefer a lighter, subtler flavor.  Others like a more robust maple flavor (particularly for use in recipes) and opt for the darker grades.  The new grades are meant to help the consumer choose by providing both a color AND a flavor descriptor.

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 flavor profiles under this grade:

While the maple syrup grades may have changed, many things remain the same. Coombs Family Farms still produces the highest quality pure maple syrup products that will continue to be delicious (and healthy) additions for your pancakes, other favorite foods, and your recipes.
  • Golden Color and Delicate Taste: With a pronounced golden hue, this delicate and mild tasting syrup is often a favorite pairing for pancakes. (This is comparable to the Grade A Light Amber grade).
  • Amber Color and Rich Taste: Also ideal for pancakes, this amber colored syrup, which can be either light, medium, or darker in hue, has a full-bodied and rich flavor. (This is comparable to the Grade A Medium Amber or Grade A Dark Amber grades).
  • Dark Color and Robust Taste: Stronger and darker than the lighter grades, this has a robust and substantial flavor that is 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 strongest maple syrup flavor is typically used for cooking purposes.

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.

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We are committed to protecting the health of our forests and making products that are 100% organic. No matter which maple syrup grade you choose, you can feel good about using them in any and all of your culinary endeavors.

Organic maple syrup is the healthiest and most versatile sweetener out there. Each grade boasts its own unique flavor profile, and when you add maple syrup as one of your kitchen staples, the culinary possibilities are truly endless. Whatever your maple preferences are, you will find superior flavor and quality in every bottle of Coombs Family Farms 100% pure maple syrup. With seven generations of experience under our belts, you can taste the difference!

Try out a few grades and see for yourself how much better your favorite meals can be with 100% pure organic maple syrup!

Maple Grades Infographic

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