You may have heard the terms ‘blended’ and ‘mixed’ when it comes to describing honey.
The aim of this post is to explain what these two terms mean in order to provide you with a greater understanding of the honey that you may be purchasing.
When it comes to honey, not everything is as it appears.
What is blended honey?
Blended honey is honey that is a combination of two or more batches of honey merged into one batch. These different batches could be from the same beekeeper or from any number of beekeepers.
Advantages of blended honey
An advantage of blended honey is that because the individual flavours of honey from different batches are combined, the overall flavour is somewhat ‘standardised’. What we mean by this is that the end flavour will generally not be overwhelmed by any particular flavour of honey.
This results in a more consistent flavour profile that may not vary much at all season to season. For consumers who want a consistent flavour for either cooking or certain uses, this can provide some continuity and certainty over their end results regardless of which particular jar of honey they buy.
The other advantage is of course cost. By combining large quantities of honey from a variety of honey batches, honey packers are able to run big batches through their production facilities with less time taken to switch between product lines.
By choosing to run one big batch of blended honey, a producer may save on the labelling and packaging costs of making different smaller batches of honey. These savings may then be passed onto the consumer in some instances.
Disadvantages of blended honey
A key disadvantage of blended honey is that many of the unique qualities of honey can be lost in the blend. While certain varieties of honey come with excellent medicinal properties such as Marri and Jarrah honey, these favourable traits will be somewhat diluted when blended with other honey that is of less value.
Furthermore, the unique flavours of some honey will be lost to the blend. Honey such as Blackbutt and Wandoo that are delicious on their own won’t be able to display their wonderful tastes when lost among the overall flavour of the blended honey.
What is mixed honey?
Mixed honey is from a single batch of honey and is made up of nectar collected from a variety of different floral sources. While this honey is extracted and packaged as one batch, it is not unique to one particular nectar source like mono-floral honey is. Mixed honey does, however, retain a unique flavour profile that will be distinctive to its own sources.
Mixed honey may also be referred to as ‘multi-floral’ honey, due to being made of multiple floral sources, as opposed to monofloral honey which is predominantly made up of one floral source.
The majority of your urban honey will be mixed honey and is becoming increasingly popular.
Advantages of mixed honey
Mixed honey has the advantage of having a flavour profile unique to a particular area and time of harvest. By harvesting at certain times of the year when certain plants are flowering, a beekeeper can end up with some very interesting flavours of honey.
Interestingly, honey can vary significantly in colour, viscosity, aroma and flavour in just the space of a few weeks, even when harvesting from the same beehives in the same location. This amounts to a multitude of differences that when packaged separately, can offer quite a wide range of mixed honey choices for customers.
Choosing between these unique flavours can be quite appealing for many customers and this is why lots will prefer the small batches of mixed honey that local beekeepers can offer.
Disadvantages of mixed honey
There may at times be mixed honey that, on its own, may not be particularly great to consume. We have had batches of mixed honey that, for whatever reason, were rather overwhelming on its own and not all that popular.
While there was nothing wrong with the honey and it was still consumable, the floral source may just not have been all that pleasant smelling and the resultant honey wasn’t too nice either.
In those instances, the honey could definitely have benefited from being blended with another honey that would dilute the overbearing flavours of the not so great mixed honey.
Another disadvantage is that it may be hard to replicate a particular flavour of honey for use later on. Customer may really want to buy more of ‘Dave’s Claremont Summer Mix’, but it won’t be available for another 12 months, if at all again.
Verdict; Blended vs Mixed honey, what is better?
Overall, it comes down to consumer preference. Some people will prefer the consistent flavour of blended honey and the convenience this offers. Others will prefer mixed honey due to the unique flavours of the small more distinct batches.
At Perth Honey Company, we tend to stick to mixed (or monofloral) batches of honey as we operate on a scale that suits this, and we find that our customers like the choices we offer.
This is not to say that we are opposed to blended honey, just we prefer to keep our small batches small and our unique flavours unique!
To conclude, one thing we will point out is that when buying honey, no matter whether you choose mixed, blended or monofloral honey, you should be looking for RAW honey. There are a number of reasons for this, that are covered in this link raw honey, and in our opinion, these should be the starting point for anyone looking to buy honey.