One of the most common types of flavor descriptors that we use are different types of sugars. The sweetness in the coffee can be the result of many things; the green coffee quality, the age or storage conditions of the coffee, the roast, the rest, or even the brew. We're not going to so much get into what leads to what type of sugar sweetness, but I wanted to speak to the differences in some of the sugar types that we use so that when you see them in a description you can have a better idea of what we're talking about.
The sugar refining process is all about taking the raw material and taking as much of it away as possible through boiling, centrifuging, filtering and drying until all that's left is sucrose. Refined white sugar can be 99% sucrose, and may have additives used as well to whiten it. Sugar in the Raw is not raw sugar at all. It's refined, but not as much as white table sugar and also hasn't been through a whitening process. Molasses is a liquid by-product of the sugar refining process, and in the case of brown sugars is added back to refined sugars to create a deeper flavor.
For this test, I looked at granulated sugar. I did caramelize some refined white sugar so I can speak a little on that, but I'm saving honey, syrup, and other sweetners of that nature for another test. I did however look at Molasses granules in this test.
Refined White Sugar
Dark Brown Sugar
and Light and Dark Carmelized Refined White Sugar
Turbinado is produced in the first pressing of the sugar cane and is refined just through boiling and then cetrifuging in turbines. This sugar retains much more of it's molasses and can be used as a substitute for brown sugar but is distinctly different. Sucanat is a kosher sugar that is produced just from dehydrated sugar cane juice, with no refinement. This is a similar sugar to muscavado, panela, demerera, or jaggery which are all geographically specific sugars, but sucanat is actually a brand name. What was especially intersting was the difference between the sucanat and the molasses granules, which many sources identify as being the same, but from my understanding the granules I tasted were produced from dehydrated molasses, not pure cane juice.
What I tasted:
Refined white - Intensely sweet, but only on the tip of the tongue sweet, not long lasting. Only really sweet right at the point of contact. This kind of immediate sweetness without any lasting effect can be...