Types of Sugar: Terra's Guide

A close-up view of a glass bowl filled with coarse, golden-brown turbinado sugar, showcasing its natural crystal texture.

Sugar, in all its forms, not only sweetens our lives but also plays a pivotal role in our diets and culinary practices. From coffee to cakes, sugar is a key ingredient that brings joy to many. However, sugar is more than just a sweetener. Composed primarily of carbohydrates, sugars are a crucial macronutrient alongside proteins and fats. They serve as an efficient energy source for our bodies, fueling organs, including the brain, with the energy needed for daily functions.

Beyond its sweetness, sugar fulfills several roles in cooking and baking. It contributes to the soft texture of cakes, helps in moisture retention, and is essential for the browning process that gives caramel its characteristic golden colour. This transformation, from a simple mixture of sugar and water to delicious caramel, is a testament to sugar's versatility in the culinary world.

Terra Coffee and Tea proudly offers a unique selection of sugars, including Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Icing Sugar, Vanilla Flavoured Icing Sugar, and our latest addition, Organic Coconut Sugar. In collaboration with nutritionist Maude Martinez, we delve into a comparison of the most prevalent sugar types available on the market against our curated offerings.

Different Types of Sugar

Granulated White Sugar

Derived from sugar cane or sugar beet, granulated white sugar is highly refined, containing nearly pure carbohydrates. This processing strips it of most vitamins and minerals, resulting in a neutral taste. It is the most ubiquitous form of sugar, with a glycemic index of 70. The cultivation of sugar cane often involves monoculture practices, which can lead to deforestation but also aids in soil erosion prevention due to the deep root systems of the sugar cane plant.

Golden Cane Sugar (Turbinado)

Golden cane sugar, or Turbinado, stands between raw and white sugar in terms of refinement. This partial processing gives it a golden hue and a slightly richer mineral content than its white counterpart, though its glycemic index remains similar at 70. Terra's organic certification ensures that our cane sugar is produced with environmental and health considerations in mind, offering a sweet flavour without altering the taste of your favourite beverages.

Coconut Sugar

Our Organic Coconut Sugar, sourced from the nectar of coconut palm flowers, offers a surprising twist—it doesn't taste like coconut. This sugar is not produced through monoculture, making it an environmentally friendlier option. Harvesting poses risks to growers due to the height of coconut palms. Coconut sugar boasts a lower glycemic index (24.5 to 35) and a richer nutrient profile, including calcium and potassium, compared to white sugar. Its flavour profile, reminiscent of brown sugar with caramel notes, makes it a versatile and delicious choice.

Icing Sugar

Icing sugar is finely ground sugar that retains the nutritional value and impact on blood sugar of its source. Our Organic Icing Sugar is derived from organic cane sugar, ensuring high quality and purity for your baking needs.


Sucralose, a synthetic sweetener marketed as Splenda, is approximately 600 times sweeter than white sugar yet contains negligible calories. While it offers a calorie-free sweetness, moderation is advised due to limited data on its long-term consumption effects and potential to perpetuate sugar cravings.

Why Choose Terra Sugars

In 2012, Terra's founder Carlo Granito embarked on a quest to find the best sugars for our customers. His research revealed that some refined white sugars undergo a filtration process using bone char, derived from animal bones or ivory. This discovery led to a commitment to sourcing only the finest organic, vegan-friendly cane and coconut sugars. Our range of natural and vegan hot chocolates also reflects this commitment, utilizing organic brown cane sugar and 100% Dutch cocoa powder.

While the nutritional differences among sugars might be minimal, especially in terms of vitamins and minerals, the choice of sugar can have implications for health, environmental sustainability, and ethical considerations. From a health perspective, moderation is key, regardless of the type of sugar. Environmentally, options like organic coconut sugar represent a more sustainable choice. Ultimately, understanding the diverse world of sugars enables us to make informed decisions that align with our dietary preferences, health goals, and environmental values.

Aimée Granito, Sales, Customer Service, and Management

Aimée Granito

Sales, Customer Service, and Management

Growing up in the aromatic world of coffee and tea, Aimée Granito has journeyed from South America to Asia, absorbing the nuances of coffee and tea cultivation, and to Europe for mastering the art of Italian espresso. Now, she spearheads product conception, sales, customer service, and the oversight of our digital presence and retail shop in Montreal.

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