Maple Syrup Grades

Did you know that maple syrup grades are assigned on the basis of how much light can pass through the syrup, and not how amazing it tastes?
Tastessence Staff
Many people assume that Grade A maple syrup is better than Grade B syrup, which is not necessarily the case. Such misconceptions are generally attributed to ignorance about the maple syrup grading system. While these grades do hint at the flavor, by no means are they a measure to determine how good it would taste. These grades are assigned on the basis of the color (translucency, to be precise) of the syrup.
How Maple Syrup Grading Works?
Regardless of which grade it is, maple syrup can only be produced by boiling the sap of maple trees. There are no other artificial means to pull off the same. The practice of grading maple syrup can be traced back to times when this syrup was used as a locally available substitute for sugar in North America. Both, the United States of America and Canada have different grading systems; the details of each of these are given below.
Maple Syrup Grades in the United States
In the United States, maple syrup is divided into two grades: Grade A and Grade B. Of these two, Grade A is further divided into three categories: Grade A Light Amber, Grade A Medium Amber, and Grade A Dark Amber. Interestingly, Grade B is darker than Grade A Dark Amber. The translucence of the end product has a crucial role to play in the grading system followed by Americans.
As far as Grade A maple syrup is concerned, it has to be more than 75 percent translucent to be assigned Grade A Light Amber, between 60.5 to 74.9 percent translucent to be assigned Grade A Medium Amber, and between 44 to 60.4 percent translucent to be assigned Grade A Dark Amber. On the other hand, maple syrup which is 43.9 percent or less translucent is assigned Grade B.
Yet another name you often hear when it comes to good quality maple syrup, is 'Vermont'. Like the US maple syrup grading system, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets also uses a grading system based on color of the end product. However, the system used by Vermont differs from the former in terms of product density, which is relatively high.
Maple Syrup Grades in Canada
The Canadian maple syrup grading differs from that in the United States of America. In Canada, maple syrup is assigned one of three grades: Canada No. 1 (Light), Canada No. 2 (Amber), or Canada No. 3 (Dark). Within Canada No. 1, there are 3 sub-classes: Extra Light (AA), Light (A), and Medium (B). At times, Canada No. 2 is also referred to as Grade C maple syrup and Canada No. 3 as Grade D maple syrup in continuation with AA, A, B grading system.
The breakup of annual maple syrup production in Canada reveals that approximately 25 to 30 percent of the total produce is that of the different sub-classes of Canada No. 1 grade, followed by Canada No. 2 grade (with approximately 10 percent), and Canada No. 3 grade (with approximately 2 percent).
At the end of the day, the simple rule is, lighter the syrup, more delicate is the flavor. So, the grades of maple syrup do have an important role to play, especially when you choose to buy it for master cleanse diet. While health conscious people can associate it with diet or cleansing, a foodie is more likely to associate it with its mouth-watering taste.