For many years, Vermont maple syrup has been divided into one of four grades based on color and flavor. As consumer preference has changed over the past century, so too has the grading system evolved to provide a more accurate description based on consumer preference. The names of each grade, however, did not necessarily provide a meaningful description of the syrup. For instance, with no prior knowledge of maple syrup grades, Grade B does not mean much other than suggesting it might be of a lesser quality than Grade A.
Beginning last year, and required starting in 2015, Vermont maple syrup producers will use a new grading system that will provide a better description of each grade, or class, or syrup. Each grade will consist of both a color and flavor descriptor:
Grade A: Golden Color with Delicate Taste (formerly called Fancy)
Grade A: Amber Color with Rich Taste
Grade A: Dark Color with Robust Taste
Grade A: Very Dark Color with Strong Taste (formerly called Grade C)The chart below shows the new grades in comparison to the previous grades. In the new system, there are 4 grades rather than 5, and what was known as Grade C, formerly available only for commercial use, will now be available for retail sale.