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Color -What’s in a Name?

By: Nanette Davis ~ Garden Variety Bees

Honey comes in so many colors! Did you know, there is an official way to label honey color determined by the way light passes through the honey? Most people don’t have a fancy meter to determine the exact wavelength, but a color chart (see picture 2) can be found at bee supply stores around the world to help classify honey color.

So, what’s the difference? The color in honey is created by the plants that provide the nectar that becomes honey. As a general guideline, lighter honey has a milder flavor (clover), and darker honey is more robust (buckwheat). Darker honey also has more antioxidants!

Many people prefer specific types of honey based on flavor which they associate with the color. In competitions, honeys are judged in color categories. Here in the US, there are 7 official honey colors (see picture 1). Some competitions will automatically disqualify honeys that are entered into the wrong category.

My honey (seen in picture 3) tends to be dark with rich, complex flavors. Tallow is abundant in my area and is likely a main component of my honey. I love my honey, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. What’s your favorite honey?

Ann Harmon and Nanette

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