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How to Taste Honey

How to Taste Raw Honey

By Honey Blog

With more than 300 varieties of honey worldwide, each with its unique taste, colour, consistency and beneficial properties, it is not easy to define which one is the best. Furthermore, the best will also depends a lot on personal preferences. However, the following article will help you to determine your best honey.

It is quite exciting and relaxing to taste honey consciously. There are many festivals and events worldwide where honey experts and beekeepers present and taste honey professionally. They describe each honey’s colour, smell, texture and flavour in detail, the same as a wine sommelier. In the United States, there is the America Honey Tasting Society. There are also paid courses determined to educate in the sensory analysing of honey.

Unlike pasteurised honey which tastes just sweet, raw honey has thousands of nuances of smells and flavours for each different type.

Raw Honey flavour, nuances, smell and beneficial properties are determined by environmental conditions like soil, climate, geography location. These factors are responsible for the characteristics of any food produced in nature. Particularly honey depends mostly on the floral sources in the area from which the bees collect nectar and pollen.

Expert Honey Tasting

Make sure you are fresh and avoid eating or drinking anything except water for at least an hour before tasting the honey; also, avoid strong smells. 

Do not use a plastic spoon as it may affect the honey taste.

Most of us will probably have a couple of jars to test at any time; however, if you have more, organise them on a tasting mat or simply a sheet of paper divided into sections. Prepare a palette cleanser; plain bread is considered the best for absorbing the flavours of the previous honey. You should also drink plain water between the tasting and give it a few minutes rest between each honey tasting. Same as wine, honey should be tested from light to dark. Therefore, if you have more than one jar beginning from the lightest coloured honey.

Honey Consistency

First, determine the consistency. Is it liquid, beginning to crystallise or solid already crystallised? Take a mental note or write down the consistency of your honey. The physical state is not particularly important to the flavour but is relevant to the whole experience. Crystallised honey consistency could be described as firm, pastry or hard. Liquid honey consistency could be smooth, velvety, creamy, heavy or light.

Evaluating clarity: Is the honey transparent, cloudy or in between?

Defining the colour of honey: Once you get to know raw honey, you understand that not all honey is the common medium amber colour found in most honey sold in supermarkets. A good rule of thumb here is if the honey is light-coloured, it has a delicate taste and smell, while the darker honey tends to be full-bodied and rich. However, as with each rule of thumb, this one has exceptions too.

Smelling Your Honey

Open the jar and smell the honey. Stick your nose inside and inhale. How would you describe the smell? Intense, mild, floral, fruity, nutty, earthy, can you further describe the scent?

How to Taste Raw Honey?

Now you are ready to taste the honey. Taste it twice first, take a small spoon, place the honey on your tongue, and let it melt there. Take a mental note of the Sweetness and freshness. The second taste should be throughout the mouth. Move the honey around for a bit and close your mouth. Inhale as much as possible, exhale through your nose with your mouth closed, and pick up all kinds of aromas and flavours.

Aftertaste

How long does the aftertaste last? Each raw honey leaves an aftertaste. Some are stronger and longer, while others are light and disappear quicker. Does the taste appears immediately or takes a while? A honey persistence could be absent, short, medium, long, warm or spicy. Take a mental note of these final details.

While most of us probably won’t take a pen and paper and go into deep detail writing about the taste, smell, and consistency of each honey we have in the cupboard. It is pretty good to be more conscious in the consumption of food and especially such a magic elixir full of beneficial properties as raw honey. In conclusion, if you are only going to take one sentence on how to taste honey and be a better expert than 95% of the honey consumers: Have a spoon of raw honey. Move the honey around your mouth for a bit and close it. Inhale as much as possible, exhale through your nose with your mouth closed, and pick up all kinds of aromas and flavours.