Honey Color Facts: Plus Our Favorite Honey [Useful Chart Inside!]

Honey Colors and Types
Honey 101

You spell it colour, I spell it color.  However its spelled, it’s one of my favorite things about honey.  That’s because honey is one of the only sweeteners with such a unique and broad range of wonderful colors!

Honey colors range from a transparent “water-like” color to a dark almost black or ebony color.  However, these are all versions of the basic and most recognized color of honey:  Golden Yellow.

The color of honey is of great interest to both honey producers and honey consumers alike.  The packaging company for each honey producer uses color to present a perceived value and suggest possible uses for each type of honey.

That’s because the color of each honey is frequently an indicator of its individual nutrition, taste and smell profile which determines its value.

Which Color is Best?

In most of the world, the darker shades of honey are considered less desirable and are relegated to become an industrial food ingredient while light honeys are usually more popular and more expensive so these are presented to the consumer as a condiment for individual consumption.

Like taste, honey color preferences are highly personal and sometimes cultural.   Some countries such as the Germans, Swiss and Austrians prefer dark honey.

In the end, which color is best is entirely up to you and your taste buds!

How is the Color of Honey Measured?

The color of honey is usually established and regulated by each country.  However, there are some universal standards of measuring honey colour.

Most of the world uses the Pfund scale or some type of visual, color density reading.  The US Government uses a specialized combination of both measurements which they call the Lovibond scale to determine a honey color rating between “water white” and “dark amber.”

 

Honey Color Grading Chart
USDA Color Pfund Scale (mm) Our Favorite Common Types* Associated Characteristics
Water White 11 NEVER tried it! Locuste, Sage, Basswood Clear in color. Mild, usually floral flavor. Prized as a sweetener for baking. Rare!
Extra White 18 Acacia, Clover, Fireweed Almost clear in color. A range of flavors from mild to strong. Commonly Available. Mild varieties make great all purpose sweeteners.
White 27 Alfalfa, Keawa (Hawaiian) Light, white color. Sometimes creamed. Usually mild flavor character. Doesn’t crystalize as quickly. Common
White 35
Extra Light Amber 41 Tupelo, Orange Blossom, Sourwood Light, golden hue. Most supermarket honey is blended to this color range by mixing light and dark shades together as it is more desireable. Good blends have mild flavors.
Extra Light Amber 46
Extra Light Amber 51
Light Amber 55 Blueberry, Wildflower Classic “honey” color. Most types of honey can be found in this color range. Many of the lighter honey varietals will also fall here when harvested late in their season.
Light Amber 62
Light Amber 71
Light Amber 83
Amber 92 Avocado, Macadamia Nut, Manuka Deep, rich golden shades.Usually strong flavor profiles many of which have a creamy finish.
Amber 99
Amber 110
Dark Amber 119 Tulip Poplar, Buckwheat Dark (almost black) in color. Usually strong in taste. Typically has higher mineral, nutrient content. Great for making mead!
Dark Amber 130
Dark Amber 140
Special Note* Most honey types vary widely in color. The common types section is not a guarantee that the type listed will yield that particular grade or color honey. It’s simply a tool to point you in the right direction when you are shopping.

Shameless Request for Compliments

Now I would like to hear from you!

Did you like the chart I included in this post?  (I worked really hard on it!)

Would you like to see more information organized this way in upcoming posts?

Leave a comment below letting me know.