About the Grading System

The maple syrup grades simply refer to the color and flavor of the syrup, not its quality or nutrition. Pure maple syrup is never refined in any way, so the grades do not refer to any refinement process.

As maple sap is boiled, the carmelization of sugar creates the syrup’s color and flavor. Typically, the sap’s sugar content reduces throughout the syrup season. Early in the season, more sugar means less boiling time, producing Golden Delicate. Less sugar means more boiling time, producing Amber Rich, then Dark Robust toward the end of the season.

The Pure Maple Syrup Grades

Golden Delicate

Golden Color, Delicate Taste maple syrup has the mildest maple flavor of all the grades. This grade is typically from the very beginning of the syrup season. Since the sap’s sugar content is high at the beginning of the syrup season, it requires less boiling time. This means there is less caramelization of the sugar, so this syrup has a light color and flavor.

Sweet ways to eat

Its mild taste makes Golden Delicate perfect on foods where the subtle maple flavor can really be appreciated. Use as a glaze for cured meats, and drizzled over yogurt, oatmeal, crepes, pancakes, or waffles.

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Amber Rich

Amber Color, Rich Taste maple syrup has a smooth depth of maple flavor. It is the grade that we get during most of the syrup season. The sugar content in the sap is at a mid-level, so requires more boiling time than Golden Delicate, but less than Dark Robust. The caramelization of the sugar produces a beautiful amber color, and a rich maple flavor.

Sweet ways to eat

Amber Rich maple syrup is best for all-around use – for pancakes and waffles, as well as in cooking, grilling, and baking. It’s also lovely as a sweetener in cocktails, and as a topping for vanilla ice cream.

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Dark Robust

Dark Color, Robust Taste maple syrup has a much heartier maple flavor. This grade is typically from the end of the syrup season, before the trees bud in spring. The sap’s sugar content is at its lowest, so it requires a longer boiling time. The allows for a deep caramelization of the sugars and produces a very robust maple flavor.

Sweet ways to eat

Dark Robust maple syrup is best used in cooking, adding a deep caramel flavor to recipes. It is the ideal sweetener for coffee drinks, and can be used as a more flavorful replacement for honey in any recipe.

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Maple Syrup Health Benefits

So, which maple syrup grade has the most health benefits? All of them!
Just choose the flavor you like best, or use each one differently depending on the dish.

All pure maple syrup contains many beneficial nutrients. Learn more on our maple syrup nutrition page.