Native Stingless Bee Honey at the National Honey Competition 2024

On Monday 18 March 2024, I was honoured to join the RAS Native Bee Honey Judging held at Olympic Park, Sydney. In attendance were (clockwise from the left) Sam Higgins – Chief Judge, Adam Hutchinson – Associate Judge, Patrice Newell – Chief Steward, Jeremy Ryland – Observer.

There were 14 samples to judge. Whilst the actual judging did not take too long, we spent a lot of
time discussing the Judging Criteria.

Some of the key questions we discussed were
What is a good quality Native Stingless Bee Honey?
How is it used by the consumer?
What information is required to judge?
Is Fermentation a fault?
Is colour and viscosity important?
What post-processing is appropriate?

A review of the scoring system.
The RAS of NSW judging criteria are Flavour, Aroma, Clarity, Density and Brightness, but native bee honeys differ from commercial European Bee honey is many ways such as moisture content, yield and shortage of commercially availability.

To answer the key question: What is a good quality Native Stingless Bee Honey? we propose that a quality native honey should be a golden-brown colour with a sweet tangy citrus flavour, slightly sour, with a distinctive “bush” taste—a mix of sweet and sour with floral and fruit notes. It often has hints of caramel and figs. The flavour should be balanced and “complete” with no obvious off notes.
Look out for a full report that will guide future native bee honey exhibitions, tastings, and competitions.

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