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
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 Practical Action’s
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 production.
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
up to 50 tonnes
50 to 500 tonnes
500 tonnes upwards
Table 1: Scale of production
Type of enterprise
Cottage and small village industry using
Small to medium enterprise using modified
traditional, OPS or small-scale VP technology
Large industry using modern VP technology
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.
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