Honey tasting is essential for the beekeeper, as every honey will taste differently. Some may have more robust flavours than others, some may have bad taste altogether, while others may have the savour of a lifetime experience.
But what are we tasting in the honey?
All various types of honey have 3 types of natural sugars produced by the flowers: Fructose, Sucrose and Glucose. These are contained in different ratios depending on multiple parameters such as plants, rain, sun, the season of the year, continent, etc.
Is it sweet? Well, honey produced by bees will have 80% sugars and 20% moist (water), while these ratios may change either up or down by 1-3%. Note that if the honey becomes too wet, i.e. more than 24% of water, it will go sour and ferment.
Once we have tasted the sweetness of the honey, there is a strong flavour going all around our mouth (the same concept as wine tasting!). This flavour reflects the flowers’ perfume – the hard-working bees have within their skills the capability to bring flowers aroma into the honey, and consequently process the honey with its flowers origin perfume. These perfumes can be at times extraordinary, while at other times they can be bad, as if the honey has gone off.
Yet, while all kinds of honey will be edible for the bees, for us human-being honey-eaters, the bad honey can cause a few runs to the loo or tummy aches caused by overeating of the good ones.
Most kinds of honey will usually taste very different from each other, which is remarkable for diversity. It will depend on plant type, soil type, season, weather, minerals in the soil, and possibly other factors.
Honey will improve its flavours as it goes solid and grows older. This is because it preserves itself for hundreds of years in sealed jars. So, we have been tasting 38-year-old honey, and continue to taste it every year to find that it is still great to eat.
Most importantly, the taste will tell you how much these bees are loved by their beekeeper. By tasting our honey, you will understand the relationship we have with our gracious bees. We treat every bee like a Queen!
Finally, everything is about moderation. A few teaspoons of honey a day are good for you, however, over-consuming can make you sick, and it’s not recommended. I know from personal experience because I’ve done it many times before.