Everyone’s heard of brown, cane, granulated, and other common and/or popular sugars, but what about coconut sugar? On a trip to World Market last weekend, the prospect of such new, interesting sweetener caught my eye. Big Tree Farms Organic Coconut Sugar (Blonde) advertised itself as a low-glycemic sugar with a 1:1 ratio with granulated sugar. Plus, it was coconut! I like coconut.
Of course I had to buy it.
What’s Coconut Sugar?
Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut palm tree. The process begins by cutting the flower of the coconut palm. The sap from the palm is then collected and placed under heat to evaporate most of the water content. The end result is thick granules that aren’t big and crystallized like raw sugar but also aren’t like white granulated sugar. It kind of reminds me of dark brown sugar.
Coconut sugar has a number of minerals, including calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc, as well as amino acids. However, it also has something different from regular sugar: the fiber called inulin. Because inulin slows glucose absorption, it is what gives coconut sugar a lower glycemic index. But be cautioned: There is not yet a lot of evidence that coconut sugar is as low glycemic as is claimed, and according to Healthline, it has “almost the same amount of fructose as regular sugar, gram for gram.”
How’s the Taste?
Let’s be clear: It tastes nothing like the sugar you’re used to. I wouldn’t suck on a spoonful of it to stop hiccups like I would granulated sugar or raw sugar. I might bake with it. It’s good with coffee and strong teas; however, it gives weak teas, like greens or whites, an odd taste.
I’m not even sure how to explain the flavor. It’s not sweet in the same way as other sugars. It doesn’t have the odd-sweet flavor of substitutes like Splenda. It doesn’t even taste like coconut, nor does it smell like it. In fact, it kind of tastes like it smells: slightly sweet, but like you’d think the outer fibers of a coconut smells. It is the weirdest thing when you first get a whiff or a taste, but not in a bad way, and it grows on you.
- Green tea: It provides a slightly sweet taste, but it almost changes the flavor of the tea a bit.
- White tea: It does the same as green, and it’s even more pronounced when it’s a slightly fruity flavor. I really wouldn’t recommend drinking it with anything resembling fruity.
- Black tea: It tastes great with an English breakfast or Earl Grey tea.
- Coffee: I haven’t had it with black coffee yet, but it’s just like sugar, to me at least, when used with creamer.
What’s the Verdict?
Although I’d really like to bake with it to give a definitive review, for now I’ll say I’m not disappointed. Honestly, I’m a bit relieved it doesn’t taste like coconut; I wouldn’t drink it in a lot if it did. I also like that it’s not an overpowering sweetness like white granulated sugar.
In the end, if you go into it understanding the sugar may not go well flavor-wise with everything you drink, you have the right mindset. I’ll never drink it with anything light, but I’m enjoying it in my dark teas and morning cup ‘o joe. Who knows? You might even like it the other way around, or with everything. Just know that it does have a different taste.