Brown Sugar vs. White Sugar
Often we hear people ask for a specific sugar, be it brown or white, claiming a personal preference for one or the other. A recent mishap when making someones coffee with brown instead of white sugar got us thinking, what is the difference between white sugar and brown sugar?
The scientific answer is that when sugar gets extracted from sugar cane, in its raw state; it has a brown look to it which is caused by a component called molasses. This would be a natural brown sugar although its not the brown sugar we usually buy. To get its white look the molasses is removed from the sugar by a refining process. The brown sugar we usually buy is simply white sugar that has had the molasses put back in.
But we couldnt just be satisfied with the scientific answer we wanted to know why people prefer one or the other, does it really taste that different? So we decided to perform an experiment. Can a group of people with different taste preferences for sugar tell the difference between white and brown sugar in their coffee? We made two espressos from the same machine with the same type of espresso pod. The only difference was that one shot had 3tsp white sugar and the other had 3tsp brown sugar. After tasting each shot we asked them what they thought.
The results were:
- 80% new the difference between the two shots
- 100% said the coffee taste was brought out more with the brown sugar then with the white sugar
- 60% liked the brown sugar with the coffee shot and 40% preferred the white sugar with the coffee
- 100% said that the brown sugar was very sweet and the white sugar was more subtle
Basically the tasters thought that the brown sugar is sweeter and having it with coffee brings out the flavour of the coffee.
Is brown sugar healthier or not? This would depend on if you were buying unrefined brown sugar, or the brown sugar we are used to seeing in the supermarkets. Theres not much difference between the white sugar and the brown sugar we normally buy. Brown sugar has 17 Kilocalories per teaspoon while white sugar has 16 kilocalories per teaspoon. In the end our results showed us that the only difference between the two were the sweetness in taste. So it is down to personal preference. But do you really prefer white sugar with your coffee? Try a blind taste test sometime it certainly shocked a few of our white sugar drinkers!