Maple Grades

The new International Grades of Maple Syrup

You may have noticed that our grades of syrup have changed this year, to match the new standards proposed by the International Maple Syrup Institute (IMSI), and recently adopted by the Canadian Federal  government. These new syrup grades will become a new international standard, with maple syrup produced in Ontario, Quebec, as well as the New England region of the United States all selling syrup under the same grading system. As Matthews Maple Syrup is federally licensed, we will begin transitioning to the new syrup grading during the 2015 season.

The new grading system


The new grades of syrup are determined by the percentage of light transference through the syrup, as measured by a spectrophotometer, and is measured in %Tc. This is a change from the older standard of subjectively judging the colour as compared to jars of coloured oils.

Golden Maple Syrup with a Delicate Taste 

Pure maple syrup in this class has a lighter golden colour, and a delicate or mild maple taste. It will be measured as having a light transference of not less than 75% Tc. This will be equivalent to our previous Extra Light grade of syrup.

Pure maple syrup in this class has a light to more pronounced golden color and a delicate or mild taste. It is the product of choice for consumers preferring a lighter colored maple syrup with a delicate or mild taste.

Amber Maple Syrup with a Rich Taste

Pure maple syrup with a light amber colour, and a richer taste and intensity. Syrup which had previously been graded as a Light, and the lighter selection of our Medium syrup will now be sold as Amber Maple Syrup. It will have a light transference rating of between 50-74.9% Tc.

Dark Maple Syrup with Robust Taste

Pure maple syrup in this class has a much darker colour, and more robust taste than syrup in the lighter grades. This will correspond to the darker Medium and Amber grades sold in the past. Much less light is transferred through the darker syrup, giving a colour transference of 25-49.9% Tc

Pure maple syrup in this class has a dark color and a more robust or stronger taste than syrup in lighter color classes. It is the product of choice for consumers preferring a dark colored syrup with substantial or robust taste.

Very Dark Maple Syrup with a Strong Taste

Pure maple syrup in this class has a very strong taste. It is primarily used for cooking purposes. This corresponds to syrup previously sold as Canada Number 3 Dark. Very little light is tranferred, with a colour index of less than 25% Tc.

Taste Preferences

Don’t ignore the grade, because it will give you a clue as to the syrup’s flavour and intensity. But the only way you’ll ever find out just which grade you prefer for a particular use is to try a number of them. Let your taste-buds be your guide. Just because a certain grade is supposedly best for cooking or baking doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it on pancakes. Taste is a very individual matter. Maple syrup is enjoyed as a sweetener on your pancakes, waffles, French toast and cereal. It is used as a topping for ice-cream. Stronger flavoured grades of syrup are used as glazes in meat dishes, or as a sweetener in pies and cakes, or in baked beans. Maple butter; maple sugar; maple jelly and maple taffy are processed at our maple sugar operations.  We take maple syrup on the stove well beyond the temperature of maple syrup.  At varying temperatures crystallization takes effect.  Maple butter is used as a creamy spread or topping. Maple sugar candy is poured into various shaped molds, such as maple leaves.