unrefined sugar from CADO is a natural sweetener, produced
under fair trade conditions by a community group of sugar cane farmers
in an area of extreme poverty in the mountains of Ecuador.
Our farmers know it as "panela", and it has been made here for
sugar has just one ingredient – sugar cane juice.
is simply boiled and evaporated until it forms a dense syrup or
molasses, which is put in molds to set (for
“loaves” or “bricks” of sugar),
or stirred until it granulates. So, unrefined sugar has all
and goodness of the sugarcane, for example various minerals and trace
vitamins, with none of the artificial additives of refined sugar.
unrefined sugar is made in small quantities in a large copper pan over
a fire of bagasse (the dry sugar cane stalks from which the juice was
extracted). The copper pans cost hundreds of dollars and are passed
down from one generation to the next. Some of our panela
still make unrefined sugar this way on their family farms, using their
hand-tended organic sugarcane. But not all of our
farmers have a
copper pan, or the money to buy one, so CADO has a micro-factory to
which they can take their cane and make unrefined sugar or panela
factory has very simple machinery and, like our plantations, cane mills
and family copper pans, is certified organic and fair trade.
sugar has many names – it’s also known as whole
cane sugar, panela, rapadura sugar or evaporated cane juice (but is
NOT the same as raw sugar, which is actually refined). In
many Spanish names for it in Latin American countries, unrefined sugar
is known in Asia as jaggery or gur.
organic granulated unrefined sugar is made either on the family
farms or in our micro-factory, which is run by the various communities
which make up CADO. The panela is made from cane cut by hand
certified organic, fair trade family farms. Production starts
carefully washing the cane to get rid of impurities such as soil.
cane stalks are crushed in a mill to extract the juice, which is simply
evaporated over heat, hence “evaporated cane
juice”. Nothing is added and nothing is taken away
– which is why it is known as “whole cane
The temperature is carefully controlled to regulate the
when the boiling sugar cane juice reaches the ideal strength it is
quickly moved to another container. We monitor the sugar
degrees Brix (°Bx – an internationally used measure
of the sucrose content of an aqueous solution) to determine strength,
but in fact our farmers learned from their grandparents to recognise
“the point” well before they knew what °Bx
meant. It’s a bit like making jam: after decades of
experience, you just know when it’s ready.
granulated unrefined sugar is made by putting this
boiling liquid into a trough and beating it
It’s back-breaking work as the liquid thickens
until, all of
a sudden, a cloud of steam rises and the evaporated cane juice turns
instantly to powdery granules. Our little factory uses
paddles, rather than manual labour, but the process is just the same.
This means our older or disabled farmers and those who
don’t have the
physical strength needed to beat the juice can still earn a
price from their organic sugar cane crop.
fair trade, organic, unrefined granulated sugar is sieved to ensure a
homogenous product. Once it is cool and dry, the whole cane sugar is
packed for export – either in bulk, or in sale-ready packets,
whichever our customers prefer. It can also be labelled as
rapadura sugar, panela or evaporated cane juice, because they are all
the same thing.
organic, fair trade unrefined sugar made by the CADO community group of
farmers is of high quality. It is artisan-made from organic
sugarcane grown on small family farms using traditional
methods. The fair price allows our members to improve their
quality of life, educate their children and care for the environment on
their ancestral lands. We produce up to 12 tons a month of
organic panela, and we’re ready to export it to you, a sweet
greeting from our families to yours. Email
for fair trade
prices for organic, unrefined, granulated sugar.
Unrefined sugar - an organic, fair trade product from CADO
Granulated, organic, fair trade whole cane sugar (also known as
evaporated cane juice or panela) made by a community enterprise.