You may have noticed that our maple syrup is no longer labeled Grade B. Now you’ll see Grade A – Dark Amber Robust Taste on the jug. Don’t worry though, it’s still the same dark and delicious maple syrup we’ve always carried.
The naming of syrup refers primarily to its color and flavor intensity, not its quality. Grade A wasn’t worse or better than Grade B, it was just generally lighter in color and more delicate in flavor. However, this naming could lead to confusion, since Grade A sounds like it ought to be “better” than Grade B (and definitely better than a D+. Thanks Mr. Maxwell, I’ll always remember).
To make it more confusing, Grade A had three subclassifications: Light Amber, Medium Amber, and Dark Amber. Then there was Grade B, which was really just one step darker.
In 2014 and 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture, under pressure from the International Maple Syrup Institute, has rolled out changes to the US maple syrup grading system. The US labeling now more closely matches international standards.
With these changes, all maple syrup meant for direct consumption is called Grade A, there are no other letters anymore. Grade A is broken down into 4 different color and flavor classifications:
- Golden color and delicate taste
- Amber color and rich taste
- Dark color and robust taste
- Very dark and strong taste.
There is a fifth classification for syrup made for being used in candy making and other manufacturing applciations. This is called simply Processing Grade, it has no letter designation, and you won’t find it in stores. The hope is that by standardizing across the industry, the consistency will help consumers know what they are purchasing as well as making American maple syrup easier to export to other countries.
Mount Hope has always carried Grade B in the past, which was fairly dark and had a strong maple flavor. The new name for syrup in that part of the spectrum is Grade A Dark Color, Robust Taste.
Boy, after all this Maple Syrup talk, I think I’m ready for some oatmeal with a little drizzle of good ol’ Dark Color Robust Taste. I’ll be in the kitchen if you need me.