This is one of the most common question we are asked, especially from customers who have been buying elsewhere before coming to Manuka Doctor.
First of all it’s important to remember that Manuka honey is a natural product. We simply pack what nature creates during each New Zealand summer.
And just like all natural products, agriculture and crops like fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat, there can be some tiny differences in colour, taste and consistency across different harvests and locations.
Secondly, honey bees can travel upto five kilometres from their hive foraging for nectar, which when you consider it, is a long way for such a small creature!
The nectar from a Manuka bush is a favourite of bees meaning they are drawn to it when it is flowering nearby, but in every bee’s journey they encounter small variables that contribute to the final honey created.
Why are there sometimes differences between batches of Manuka?
Generally, Manuka honey has characteristics described as dark cream to brown in colour, is herbaceous in flavour, with a slight bitter aftertaste and not quite as sweet as standard table honey. Manuka honey is always much firmer than runny table honey too.
Seasonal and regional differences mean that there can naturally be slightly different colour and flavour characteristics from each beehive.
For example this 100 MGO grade honey comes in a Squeezable 500g bottle which is clear. That means you can see the different in colour more clearly than our other jars which have a brown tint.
The honey inside is exactly the same grade and tested to the same standard, but because it may have been harvested from two different beehive sites, it is slightly different in colour.
You see, honey is very much like wine. The complexities of each honey harvest transform depending on the conditions. Each harvest is unique, reflecting nectar & pollen source and even factors like the weather.
The geographical location can also play a part in small nuances in colour and flavour, for example the regions within New Zealand where we have our bee-hives all have slightly different weather patterns within the same harvest year.
The amount of rainfall and sunlight can impact on nectar flow and when during the season the Manuka bush flowers blossom.
And even year on year, the same Manuka honey from the same bee hives can still have differences in honey colour and taste. Isn’t nature wonderfully clever at keeping us guessing?
But whilst you may notice some colour variety differences in our Manuka honey from season to season, rest assured all of our Manuka honey is Independently Certified Genuine Manuka honey – before it leaves New Zealand and on arrival to the UK before it is sold to you.
While taste and colour are our initial indicators, we need a scientific result. For that, we send samples from each batch we produce to independent laboratories in New Zealand, and they test the honey to certify that it is Manuka as defined by the New Zealand Government, ensuring that you are getting premium Manuka Honey with guaranteed ratings.
You can read more about our Hive to Home promise and tracking your batch certificates here