Guide to Rating Honey

The art of appreciating and rating honey is a skill that anyone can develop with a little practice. Regardless of your goal, this will help you understand honey a little better.

There are five things to evaluate in order to rate honey.

  1. Appearance
  2. Texture (physical state, consistency, crystals)
  3. Aroma
  4. Taste
  5. Aftertaste

12 comments to Guide to Rating Honey

  • Tomasz Koscielski

    i have bought in Sicily miele di fichidindia.
    Is this is HONEY from eucalyptus
    Best regars,

  • HT

    Hi Tomasz:

    Miele de fichidindia is (in English) Prickly Pear Cactus – ‘Miele di fichidindia (aka Miele di fichi d’India, Miele di fico d’India)’ (Opuntia ficus-indica). It is a species of cactus that has been grown as a crop in Southern Sicily for their fruit. It may taste of eucalyptus if the bees collect this nectar at the same time. I purchased a bottle in Italy myself from Mendolito. It is medium sweet with a mildly fruity taste.

    – Scott

  • Krzysztof

    Where can I buy miele di fichidindia ?


  • Caroline Scortariu

    Hello, I am an English translator at the European Commission in Brussels and I’m translating the PDO specification for ‘Miel de Tenerife’ into English. Very interesting but difficult! Text is quite technical and i have a number of queries. Might you be able to help? The first one is this: ‘Densidad polínica (clase Mauricio)’ – do you know what this ‘clase Mauricio’ is? best regards, Caroline

  • Hi Caroline:

    I believe this refers to the work done by Dr. Anne Maurizio to help identify botanical origins of honey by separating pollen content density of honey into five classes:

    I less than 2,000 pollen grains;
    II = 2,000–10 000 pollen grains/g;
    III =10,000–50,000 pollen grains/g;
    IV =50,000–100,000 pollen grains/g;
    V greater than 100,000 pollen grains/g
    Maurizio, A. (1939). Untersuchungen zur quantitativen Pollenanalyse
    des Honigs. Mitt. Geb. Lebensmittelunters. Hyg., 30,

    For Dr. Maurizio’s Biography, see:


  • Lucía van Heck

    Hi Scott, I won der. If the honey of a mountain village, Barreal, on the skirt of the Andes, in Argentina, is unprocessed raw honey. Everything in the village is very simple and honey is sold in many houses. They grow many herbs, alfalfa and there are many willows trees. the honey is very solid and light color.

  • Shyamala Harischandra

    Will you please guide me as how to test a pure Indian honey ? A line of reply on this is highly appreciated. Thank you. From:Shyamala Harischandra
    Importer & Exporter,
    Mangalore, India.

  • Hi Lucia:

    It is most likely local honey, produced in the area. Alfalfa is a great honey plant, as is Willow. The question is whether the honey is heated to extract it from the combs. This is quite commonly done, especially if the honey is thick, as it speeds up the extraction process, and is also done to speed up the process of clearing (less cloudy) the honey. There is one common method to test for heating (and long storage), but not something a normal consumer would have access to. HMF is a decomposition product of sugars formed in honey during heat processing and storage. That is to measure the amount of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) in the honey. In Europe, honey producers target less than 15 mg HMF per kg.

    The best method is to ask where the honey was produced, then ask the beekeeper about how the honey is processed, and whether they blend other honey with it. In my experience, this method is much more fun than some boring chemical test. 🙂


  • Hi Shyamala:

    I assume you want to know if it really comes from India. First off, you need to determine if the honey has been ultra filtered. If it has, then it has no pollen. Without pollen, you cannot reliably tell where it comes from. If you are wondering if the honey is really from beehives in India, then you need to test for pollen that comes from plants indigenous to India.

    If you wonder whether it contains antibiotics, or other questionable chemicals, you need to send it to a lab for analysis. Here is a resource to find a lab. Search for laboratories which will test honey for purity or economic adulteration.


  • immanuel

    I have got good quality and quantity of Forest Honey from a hill region in TamilNadu in INDIA
    If youre interested call at +919884911500 even bulk quantities available

  • Maria

    HI Scott,

    thanks for all your info.
    Could you elaborate on the antibacterial properties of different honeys compare to Manuka Honey. Or/and list the honeys with the highest antibacterial properties with the percentage.
    Does regular raw local honey have similar healing constituents as Manuka or Scottish Heather Honey. And how different are they?
    Would any good raw honey support on healing ulcers and other digestive challenges as well?

    Thank you in advance.
    Abundant Blessings

  • Hi. We use honey usually red gum, to sweeten our tea. Sometimes we get a heavy residue in the bottom of the cup, at first we thought it was dust from the tea but now we think not. Could it be something in the honey?
    thanks, andrew

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