Ever wondered how sugar gets from the ground to your cup of coffee? The world’s sugar comes from two main sources – sugar cane, and sugar beet. British sugar is made from sugar beet, and sold under the brand name Silver Spoon.
Sugar from beet
After harvesting, the sugar beet tubers are thoroughly washed and dried, sliced into chips, then suspended in hot water for about an hour. The sugar is diffused out of the beet chips into the water, which thickens and is referred to as ‘juice’. The beet slices are pressed to extract the maximum sugar, and the remaining solids are used as animal feed.
The sugar juice is cleaned then evaporated to reduce the liquid content. The remaining fluid is then boiled until the sugar starts to crystallise out. The crystals are then dried and packed.
Sugar from cane
Sugar cane grows in tropical and sub-tropical climates around the world. Once harvested, the cane is crushed to extract the juice which is then cleaned and evaporated. The juice is then boiled, until crystals form in the same way as they do for the sugar beet process. Any residue is used to make molasses, which is used in cattle food or in a distillery to make alcohol.
The final product of both sugar beet and sugar cane is called ‘raw sugar’ and it looks like brown sugar at this stage, with a moist, sticky texture. Once it’s been packed and transported to the country where it’s to be used, it’s normally refined again to remove any remaining molasses and produce white sugar.
At the Wholesale Coffee Company, we sell a range of sugars, all made from sugar cane. Our products include brown and white sugar, lump sugar and individual sugar sticks, and all are suitable for cafés or caterers. For more information, please visit our coffee ingredients page.