It's maple syrup season here in the New England, so we thought
we'd take a moment to discuss grades of maple syrup and dispute the
claim that an "A" is better than a "B."
We should note that the grades depend whether you're buying
maple syrup from Canada or the United States, since the two have
different grading systems. Canada, which produces more
than 80 percent of the world's maple syrup has three grades: Canada
#1, including Extra Light (sometimes known as AA), Light (A), and
Medium (B); #2 Amber (C); and #3 Dark (D).The United
States has two grades: Grade A and Grade B, though Grade A is
broken into three subgrades, measured by translucence: Light
Amber, Medium Amber and Dark Amber.
But what's the real difference? Actually it's just a matter of
flavor intensity. Grade A has less maple flavor than Grade B. And
that's largely because grade is not a matter of quality or
filtering, as is commonly published, but simply rather of timing.
Grade A comes from the first sap flow of the season, while Grade B
comes from later flows. As for taste, many people consider Grade A
to be sweeter, while Grade B has a bit of caramel flavor that Grade
A doesn't have.
Grade A is more expensive than Grade B simply because there's
less of it. As for use, again, they are largely interchangeable. So
our suggestion, if you like maple syrup but think you should pay
more for the A grade since it's of higher quality , is to think
again and try Grade B. You may find you get more while paying