Differences Between Trader Joe’s Honey

(Last Updated On: February 7, 2018)

Oh honey, how much I love you. I use this saying in reference to my wife, but also in reference to that sweet nectar that the bees oh so kindly provide for our enjoyment. I love sampling different varieties of honey. Ever since my trip out to California, 7 years ago, when I first discovered orange blossom and avocado honey, I have been trying as many new varieties as I could. You have to search them out. Most of the big chain stores don’t offer a good selection.

I have been keeping a close eye on the honey at Trader Joe’s over the last couple years. There has been changes to the original lineup when I first published this post.

I originally brought home 3 of their finest (100% Desert Mesquite, Turkish, and Mostly Mesquite) so that I could help make your decision of which to buy that much easier – ok, mainly because I wanted to taste them side by side, but I am using my blog as an excuse, which bloggers are allowed to do!

If you are interested in raw or organic honey, check out my post on Trader Joe’s Raw Organic Honey

Trader Joe Honeys
These are the 1st 3 honeys I bought from Trader Joe’s to do a taste test with.

For years Trader Joe’s has sold their 100% Desert Mesquite Honey in a couple different size containers. More recently their Mostly Mesquite Honey showed up. I originally thought it was replacing the Desert Mesquite because I only saw the new one on the shelf, but eventually it came back. But now it appears that the 100% mesquite is gone, replaced by the Mostly Mesquite.

TJ Desert Mesquite Honey
The original package for Trader Joe’s 100% Desert Mesquite Honey. I can no longer find it at Trader Joe’s. In fact now they have changed the wording on the bottle to say Mostly Mesquite.

Look in the photo below. The package has changed.

I guess Trader Joe’s Mesquite Honey is no longer 100% Mesquite.

Mesquite Honey
Origin: Desert of Northern Mexico
What is Mesquite? It’s a type of plant that actually falls into the legume family. It grows like a tree. You can find it in northern Mexico to the southwestern United States, even as far north as southern Kansas. It’s wood is used for smoking food, particularly in Texas and southwestern BBQ. When the tree blossoms it makes a great nectar source for bees. The honey that make from it is a light to medium amber color. It has a mild, yet distinctive taste. More flavor than just a clover honey. It would be great used in homemade BBQ sauce especially with some added mesquite liquid smoke – because it just seems appropriate.

Unlike the 100% Mesquite honey they use to sell, the bees also visit other floral sources. Makes me wonder if the 100% claim was never actually true or if something else changed where they couldn’t get 100% anymore.

I would say the Mostly Mesquite Honey is my favorite honey from Trader Joe’s. It most qualifies for Eating Like No One Else 🙂 I like that it has more flavor than a lot of the generic, somewhat boring honeys that are most common.

The larger container of Mostly Mesquite honey. This packaging too use to say 100% mesquite. It is a large amount of honey for $10.99.
TJ Mostly Mesquite Honey
The previous honey that was labeled Mostly Mesquite was from Argentina not Mexico. This honey had a slightly different taste than the Mostly Mesquite from Mexico Trader Joe’s sells now.

Turkish Honey
Origin: Turkey
The bottle says “Produced by bees foraging nectar from primarily Rock Rose, Citrus, Wildflowers, and Turkish Pines”.
This honey is vastly different than the Mostly Mesquite honey. It’s flavor is sweeter. It has a very unique hard candy like flavor that I have never had in a honey. It tastes just like I was sucking some kind of hard candy. It’s color is darker than the other two honeys as well. It has several floral sources. Rock Rose is a shrub found in temperate areas of Europe and the Mediterranean. When it blooms the shrub is just covered in flowers. Lots of nectar opportunities for the bees. The Turkish Pine is a pine that is native to Turkey and some of the surrounding areas. An aphid sucks sap out of the tree and then secretes sugar that the bees collect for honey. Yes I mean the bees are collecting aphid poop. Try not to think about that one too much.

The most controversial honey at Trader Joe’s.

Is Trader Joe’s Turkish Honey, Real Honey?

There is some question whether this honey is legit. Turkey is one of the high risk countries according to True Source Certified. What is the concern? That the honey has been doctored or add filler added to it so that it isn’t real honey. This is a big problem with Chinese honey. To get around tariffs imposed against China, their “honey” is routed through different countries before being shipped to US soil. You can read more about this issue on my post on the Netflix series “Rotten”.

So it is legit? I honestly do not know. I am more wary of buying it now then I was before. I think the Mostly Mesquite tastes better which kind of makes it a mute point in my mind.

A pretty generic standard honey.

Multi-Floral & Clover Honey
Origin: Northern United States

This honey will have the standard honey flavor that most people are use to. Nothing special about it. Clover is the most common honey is the United States. It is mild in flavor. This honey is fine for adding to your coffee or tea. I think a more flavorful honey is better to spread on your morning toast or yogurt.

Creamed Multi-Floral & Clover Honey
Origin: United States

This is an unfiltered honey that will be more spreadable than the Multi-Floral & Clover Honey. Flavor will be pretty much the same, it’s more of a textural difference.

I have noticed Trader Joe’s carrying at least one local brand of honey in their stores. I saw a different local honey when I was in a Trader Joe’s in California.

Local Honey
Origin: Your backyard!

There is a demand for local honey that Trader Joe’s is trying to meet. There Michigan Bee Co. honey is available in my local Trader Joe’s. When I was last in California I noticed a different local honey in their stores. The flavor profile will vary based on the region the honey is collected from. Typically these types of honeys are collected from multiple floral sources which gives the honey are more uniform, generic flavor. It’s good to see Trader Joe’s do something local in their stores. I often get on them for not doing enough local products.

The Trader Joe’s Manuka Honey comes with a 10+ rating.

Manuka Honey
Origin: New Zealand

Manuka honey is all the craze right now due to it’s potential health benefits. It is definitely the most expensive honey in any store you go. Manuka honey is a stronger flavored honey. It has a slightly bitter taste than most darker honeys do (such as buckwheat). This is more of a honey that you take by the spoonful for health purposes (this is a whole another post) than a honey for everyday use.

You may notice a number on the jar. What does 10+ mean? There is a rating system for Manuka honey, that tells you the quality of the honey. This one is rated 10+ which falls into the medium grade category. 16+ is the best stuff.

As opposed to the Turkey Honey, the Manuka honey I feel completely confident in because it does undergo more monitoring and inspections. Due to the increased cost I only recommend buying it if you are doing so for the health benefits it is said to bring (again that is another post)

9 Replies to “Differences Between Trader Joe’s Honey”

  1. Hi, I am also a huge fan of TJ’s honey, even before it was named as one of the few commercial honeys that were NOT adulterated! I discovered the Turkish honey recently, as well, but there was something about it; I just couldn’t put my finger on what that something was, though. Then, about 2 weeks ago, somewhere around 3am, it hit me like a bad nightmare. Wait, it WAS a nightmare! I was being chased by a 7ft tall Mrs. Butterworth’s bottle! I woke up in a cold sweat thinking, “CORN SYRUP! OMG, that is what it tasted like! Tell me it isn’t so!” So I went to the kitchen and had a small spoonful. My heart sank; yep, that’s kinda what it tastes like.

    My next thought was to get a bottle of Mrs. B for a comparison. (That is if I can actually face the bottle without having a panic attack! Haha!) I haven’t done this yet, but I do plan to. If the taste is similar, I was going to try to find a place that might test it, but I have no idea where I would start for that one. When I came across your blog I thought, “hey, why not run this by a fellow honey addict!” What are your thoughts on the taste of the Turkish being similar to that of (not maple) “pancake” syrups?


  2. brian morse says:

    Hi Eric, thanks for the info on the honey. however the most important thing about honey, is whether or not it is raw or processed, and to what degree and also how much extra sugar has been added and does it contain pollen or has it been filtered out. Taste is secondary to these considerations. Hope you can tell me what’s what. Thanks Brian Morse

  3. Eric Samuelson says:

    It is 100% honey, no added sugar to it or any other sweetener. It is not labeled as raw at all. I myself prefer to buy my honey raw, directly from local sources, but I wanted to review the TJ’s honeys for the blog.

  4. Honey is absolutely delicious! Also, I’ve heard a couple reliable sources that claim it’s healthy for you too! I didn’t know there were different flavors of honey, but I would really like to try them. What’s your favorite flavor of honey?

    Alex Jennings |

  5. Mike Gibbons says:

    No mention if any of the above honeys are “processsed”, which removes all the good stuff for our health. Are any of these honeys “raw”, ie, unfiltered?

  6. […] in February, I posted a review of 3 different types of honey available at Trader Joe’s. I got a lot of feedback from people wanting to know if these honeys were raw or if Trader […]

  7. O yes! TJ’s Turkish honey is the tits!!! Used it along with their brown sugar, a “Mexican” Coke (made w/ sugar not HFCS) & pineapple juice to make the yummiest ham glaze. I was actually led here as I’m doing a search as to what a “rock rose” is. TJ’s is a fantastic store that offers many wonderful & natural treats. I like to use this in my tea or on a peanut butter, cream cheese & honey sandwich (try it before knocking it) as well as putting it over goat cheese & dried figs. It’s very versatile & my favorite honey so far (& I have access to a local honey maker 2 blocks over…)

  8. Thanks for sharing this intriguing information. I am a lover of honey and appreciate knowing the differences. Better than buying a few kinds and not knowing what you are getting. Love your website and have gained much information from it. Keep up the good work.

  9. Con Artist says:

    I love the TURkish honey, but does it have bee pollen?

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