There are two categories of brown sugar: those produced directly from the cane juice at the
place of origin and those that are produced during the refining of raw sugar. The first type
includes a variety of molasses and syrups, demerara, muscovado and turbinado sugars.
The second type is coated brown or soft sugars, manufactured demerara, and a variety of
refinery molasses and golden syrups.
Those produced directly from the cane juice at the place of origin can be made using
relatively low-cost and low technology processes suitable for small-scale production
However, this level of production still requires experience, skill and knowledge to be
successful. The technology involved is based on the open pan production which is described
in the ITDG Technical briefs on gur and the open pan sulphitation (OPS) sugar processing
The refined brown sugars are produced in modern vacuum pan (VP) sugar factories which
are capital intensive and have high throughputs and are not suitable for small-scale
The brown sugar types can be further divided into those where the crystals are separated
(centrifuged) and those that are not separated (non-centrifuged) from the molasses.
Small-Scale Brown Sugar Production
The following sugars can be produced using relatively simple low-cost technologies that are
currently in use in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, East Africa and South America. In all cases
these sugars can also be produced in medium and large factories.
A syrup is a liquid sugar made using relatively simple production processes. The cane is
crushed using roller type crushers extracting the juice and discharging the waste bagasse.
The juice is collected in containers and allowed to stand for a few hours before use, to allow
particles and fines to precipitate out. The juice is then poured into the boiling pan through a
coarse cotton cloth to filter out remaining particles.
If possible the juice should be allowed to stand in tanks for 24 hours to settle out bagasse
and other solids that may have contaminated the juice. Tanks should be fitted with a mesh
lid, through which the juice is poured, which acts as a filter.