Four Grades of Maple Syrup


Did you know that pure maple syrup comes in different colours, with each possessing its own distinct taste? 

Several factors influencer the colour and flavour of maple syrup, and in 2016 the Canadian government introduced a new grading system to improve standards across the industry. 

But what are the different maple syrup grades? And how does the maple syrup grading system work? Find out all of this and more below!

The different grades of maple syrup 

Pure maple syrup is classified into four grades: golden, amber, dark and very dark. Each grade possesses its own flavour and is harvested at a different point of the sugaring season, with golden produced at the start of spring and very dark at the end.

There are a few factors that cause the colour of maple syrup to darken during the tapping season. Warmer temperatures towards the end of spring mean that more sucrose in the sap is broken down into simpler glucose and fructose, with these creating a darker colour during the boiling process. 

Along with a darkening in colour, the flavour of the maple syrup also grows stronger. Understanding the differences between each grade will allow you pick the right one for your cooking and baking, helping you get the most out of this delicious, natural sweetener.

Golden maple syrup

Golden maple syrup (not to be confused with golden syrup!) is harvested at the start of the sugaring season, when cooler temperatures restrict the antimicrobial activity that converts sucrose to fructose and glucose. 

Considerably milder in taste than the other grades, golden maple syrup is described as having a delicate flavour with subtle hints of vanilla.

Suggested uses:

  • Drizzling over yoghurt or ice cream 
  • Using in salad dressings 
  • Pouring over French toast

Amber maple syrup

Amber maple syrup is harvested towards the middle of the sugaring season, when temperatures begin to rise. 

This grade is known for having a rich, well-rounded flavour, and is perfect for those looking for the classic maple syrup taste.

Suggested uses: 

  • Pouring over pancakes 
  • Adding to tea and coffee 
  • Mixing into cocktails

Dark maple syrup

Harvested later in the season when the sugar content of the sap has begun to fall, dark maple syrup has a more intense colour and flavour.

It’s described as having a robust and more pronounced taste, which lends itself to cooking and desserts rather than adding directly to food.

Suggested uses:

  • Glazing roasted vegetables 
  • Stirring into sauces 
  • Marinating meats

Very dark maple syrup

Very dark maple syrup is produced at the end of the season when antimicrobial activity in the sap is at its highest, causing the colour to darken and the flavour to intensify. 

Often favoured by chefs and food manufacturers, the grade has a very strong taste that works well in dishes where the flavour needs to be more pronounced. 

Suggested uses:

  • Making maple taffy 
  • Adding to doughs and batters 
  • Stirring into soups or stews

The highest quality assured

When buying pure Canadian maple syrup, you can rest assured that it’s of the highest quality. This is because every bottle is individually inspected to be: 

  • The finest quality
  • Free of fermentation
  • Uniform in colour
  • Free of sediment, cloudiness and objectionable odours or tastes 
  • Produced from 100% concentrated maple sap

So, whichever grade you choose, make sure to look for a bottle that’s clearly marked as 100% pure Canadian maple syrup.

Frequently asked questions

What are the grades of maple syrup?

The different grades of maple syrup are golden, amber, dark and very dark. The grades are harvested at different points of the sugaring season, with each one possessing its own unique colour and flavour profile.

How many grades of maple syrup are there?

Maple syrup sold in Australia can come in four different grades: golden, amber dark and very dark. The most readily available grades on supermarket shelves are amber or dark. Each grade has its own unique colour and flavour, but they all meet the highest quality standards by being free from sediment, cloudiness and fermentation. 

How is maple syrup graded?

Maple syrup is graded based on its colour and flavour, which vary depending on the point in the sugaring season that the maple syrup is harvested. The lighter and less intense grades are produced at the start of the season, while the darker and stronger-tasting grades are harvested at the end.

Did you know?

Pure Canadian maple syrup is 100% vegan

Pure Canadian maple syrup is 100% natural, so is completely vegan! Packed with vitamins and minerals, maple syrup is an ideal replacement for honey, as well as some refined sugars and artificial sweeteners due to its additional health benefits. 

Maple is a natural sugar containing vitamins and minerals

Pure Canadian maple syrup is a natural product, with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. But did you know it’s also a source of the minerals manganese and riboflavin?

Maple syrup can be used in a wide variety of sweet and savoury dishes

Pure Canadian maple syrup can add rich and sweet flavours to almost any meal, with breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes all benefitting from the addition of this natural sweetener.

Hundreds of Delicious Recipes

Maple is a special addition to any recipe, from appetiser to dessert. Find one that’s perfect for you!