Grade A Maple Syrup Standards
In New Hampshire (and Vermont), maple syrup must be 66.9% sugar, as opposed to the USDA standard of 66%. All other states in the US, as well as the Canadian provinces subscribe to the 66% density standard. So, Yes! New Hampshire syrup is thicker than most. Once finished, maple syrup is graded according to color determined by light transmittance (absorption actually) as well as the flavor. For more than a decade, the US and Canada, through the International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI) negotiated for changes in the proposed grading standards, that included flavor descriptors, ie. Delicate, Rich, Robust, Strong, to supplement the color monikers; golden, amber, dark and extra dark. The final standard was adopted in 2014/2015 with a phase- in period for producers & consumers to acclimate. The new grading standards essentially took the four former table grades (three Grade A and Grade B) and re-designated them into three grades total. While the former standard dealt only with the color of the sample, the current standard changed the color parameters to golden, amber and dark but also incorporated flavor descriptors of delicate, rich and robust, respectively. It is Mapletree Farm’s interpretation that the color and flavor descriptors must go together for a syrup to earn its grade. Admittedly, taste is subjective and can vary from person to person, but there should be no bitterness or off flavor in the syrup when it lands on your table.
TABLE GRADES FOR SYRUP
Grade A Golden Delicate Taste has replaced Grade A Light Amber. This syrup has a delicate, very mild maple flavor and is the lightest and most golden colored syrup produced. This syrup is typically made for a short period earlier in the season and is often used to make maple candy and cream.
Grade A Amber Rich Taste includes syrup formerly graded as Medium Amber as well as the upper range of syrup that would have been graded as Dark Amber. This syrup has a richer and more pronounced maple flavor than Golden Delicate. Consumers wanting a full-bodied maple flavor of medium intensity will prefer Grade A Amber Rich.
Grade A Dark Robust Taste includes darker range of syrup that would have been graded as Dark Amber and all of the color range formerly known as Grade B. This syrup has a stronger, more robust flavor than the lighter syrups described above. Consumers preferring darker syrup with a substantial or robust maple flavor will like this grade.
Mapletree Farm started using the new International Grade Standards in our 2015 production year. Grading is performed to very strict standards and we are proud to earn the State of New Hampshire Seal of Quality.