Mānuka honey comes from the nectar of the Mānuka flower, which is indigenous to New Zealand. The Māori have treasured the medicinal properties of the Mānuka tree (or tea Tree) for thousands of years. Today, Mānuka honey is often applied topically at home as an anti-inflammatory to treat wounds and stirred into warm water or tea to soothe sore throats. But how does it taste?
Mānuka honey has a unique flavor compared to other honeys
The flavor of New Zealand Mānuka honey sets it apart from other honey types. And unless you’re expecting it, it can come as a shock because Mānuka honey tastes like it’s good for you!
What does Mānuka honey taste like?
Mānuka honey is medium-sweet like regular honey, with hints of barley sugar, caramel, and malt. And instead of a flowery taste like acacia or clover honey, it has more earthy undertones and a cool menthol or eucalyptus flavoring. Some even say Mānuka honey has a slightly bitter aftertaste - it tastes like it’s good for you!
Mānuka honey's rich flavor deepens like a fine wine, and the color darkens over time.
<H2> Mānuka honey texture, color, and smell
Genuine Mānuka honey has a smooth texture that complements its delicious flavor perfectly. It is gel-like, but to give it a more velvety, liquid form, place the jar in hot water for a few minutes.
All Mānuka honeys have a golden brown coloring, although they are quite opaque. The color depends mainly on where it was harvested, the climate, the floral source, and the production process. The UMF rating also makes a difference - a UMF 5+ rating may be light amber, while a UMF 20+ will be a much darker color.
Pure Mānuka honey has a slightly nutty, damp earth aroma with heather notes that will have you salivating before you’ve tasted it!
Check out the difference between our MGO 50 Mānuka Honey and our UMF 5+ Manuka Honey:
Is Mānuka honey raw honey?
In most cases, small amounts of heat and filtration are used in the Mānuka honey extraction and production process. However, if done correctly, this does not affect its antibacterial compounds, wound healing properties, or the other many health benefits.
Some manufacturers pasteurize their honey to “kill harmful bacteria,” heating it above 161.6°F for a short period, followed by rapid cooling - this isn’t raw honey. However, the resulting honey makes filtering and bottling easier and looks more appealing on the shelf.
At Happy Mānuka, we guarantee you’re buying 100% raw honey - it maintains its flavor from the Mānuka flowers and surrounding environment.
Does Mānuka honey taste different by Unique Mānuka Factor (UMF) grade?
Some people feel that the higher the UMF, a grittier, stronger, and more bitter Manuka flavor emerges.
Let’s compare it to chili, for example. All chilis should have the same chili taste. But different varieties of chili can bring added flavors. And with Mānuka - every batch is unique; it has been made by different bees from different hives and pollen around New Zealand.
If you asked our team to guess the UMF grade based on taste, they would say the grades were virtually indistinguishable. However, sometimes the color and texture can give away its UMF grading.
So like all things made by nature, one jar of Mānuka honey may taste different from the next, regardless of the UMF grading.
How can you tell if it’s real Mānuka honey?
Genuine Mānuka honey must meet the strict UMF Honey Association and standards of the New Zealand government. The rating system measures its purity, quality, and authenticity, and identifies the presence of key biological markers - Leptosperin, DHA, and Methylglyoxal (MGO). MGO is the compound found in Mānuka that provides its remarkable antibacterial properties - the higher the concentration, the stronger the antibacterial activity.
Authentic Mānuka honey:
- Meets MPI - The monofloral definition of the NZ Government
- Meets UMF® quality and purity definitions
- Is packed in New Zealand
- Shows origin and traceability information
Can you cook with Mānuka honey?
Of course! In cooking, Mānuka honey is often used to sweeten desserts, smoothies, or tea. For savory meals, you could create a tangy sauce for barbequed lamb or chicken, use it in yogurt dips, or try drizzling Mānuka honey over cheese and fruit platters. However, remember that the delicious flavor will be stronger when you eat honeys with higher UMF ratings. Take a look at our recipe page for more mouthwatering ideas!
Are you ready to experience the incredible benefits of Mānuka honey, but you’re not sure you’ll like the flavor? Then, we suggest trying our MGO 50 Manuka honey as an affordable entry point.
Or. jump in and try our UMF 5+. Our UMF 10+ Mānuka honey, which is considered medical-grade, but it’s perfect for everyday use. For the best wellness benefits, choose our UMF 15+, UMF 18+, or UMF 20+ Mānuka honey. We offer US-wide shipping, calculated at checkout.