The story of sugar cubes

Sugar_Cubes_-_Kolkata_2011-11-15_7023Sugar cubes or lumps have been a popular method of sweetening coffee for over 150 years. Sugar in cube form is stable, easy to store and most importantly, easy to measure, helping the coffee drinker to regulate their intake.

Sugar lumps come in two varieties – sugar cubes, which are commercially manufactured to give a uniform size and shape, and lumps which are more irregular.

The inventor of a commercial process to make sugar into uniform cubes was a Swiss-born Czechoslovakian named Jakub Kryštof Rad. At the time, sugar was available in large, unwieldy blocks called ‘loaf sugar’, which were extremely hard and difficult to break. Juliana was injured while attempting to cut the loaf sugar, and asked her husband to invent an easier method. Quickly seeing the possibilities, he began working on a machine which would both refine cane sugar and press it into cubes. He was already the director of a sugar company, and his sugar cube press was operational less than a year after his wife’s request. On January 23rd 1843, he was granted a five-year patent for his invention.

The famous Henry Tate of Tate and Lyle quickly took up the idea, and was soon manufacturing sugar cubes at his sugar refineries in London and Liverpool. As Tate wasn’t able to use the Czech method, he bought a patent from a German engineer called Eugen Langen, who’d invested a different method of processing the sugar in 1872.

La Perruche, who produce high quality sugar lumps, use the different method of moulding the cane sugar into a block, and then breaking it into lumps. Each lump weighs between three and six grams. This has the disadvantage that the cubes aren’t a standard size, but also the advantage that each user can adapt their serving size if necessary. To see our range of La Perruche sugar lumps, as well as sugar cubes from other manufacturers, please visit our coffee ingredients page.