Raw Honey vs Manuka Honey: What's the difference?

Raw Honey vs. Manuka Honey: What’s the Difference?

One question I encounter often is the difference between raw honey and manuka honey. I think this is an important distinction to make since there are some key differences between the two terms that can impact the benefits you get from the honey.

In simple terms, “raw” refers to how the honey is processed, while “manuka” refers to the source of the honey, the manuka plant itself. This means any type of honey can be raw, like wildflower, multi-floral, or manuka honey. It also means the two terms aren’t mutually exclusive — honey can be both raw and manuka.

Raw honey is maintained in the jar the way it exists in the beehive. If honey is processed at temperatures higher than 118°F (47.7°C), it shouldn’t be classified as raw, since this is the temperature at which enzymes start to be destroyed. 

One huge problem here for consumers is misleading labeling. Most commercial manuka honey that is marketed as raw is actually creamed honey that has been heated and pasteurized at 150°F (66°C) or higher. This results in a loss of the honey’s natural health benefits, while also destroying natural flavors and aromas.

If you want to access all the wonderful benefits of raw honey, you should take some time to make sure you’re buying the real thing.

Learn more about how raw and unpasteurized honey are defined


How to Determine If Your Manuka Honey is Raw

It’s important to make sure the honey you’re investing in is truly raw. One of the main selling points of honey is “raw,” with “raw manuka honey” announced proudly and boldly on many labels. We know discerning consumers love the goodness of raw honey, but the word raw is frequently corrupted on honey labels, and it’s more than deceitful — after all, we are talking about folks’ health here. 

We as consumers need to ask questions and get proof of how the honey was processed.  There are lots of myths regarding how to tell if your honey is raw. The most trusted way is to simply ask the brand you are purchasing your honey from what methods they use when processing and packing. Ask them to put it in writing and question their answers if you are not satisfied.

Here are some telltale signs to look out for when checking if your honey is raw:


If your honey is processed at a temperature higher than 118°F (47.7°C), or if it’s finely filtered, then it is not really raw.

Crystal Size and Consistency

The difference in texture and granulation with raw honey is quite variable, between batches and within the same pot. Processed honey, on the other hand, is usually smooth and consistent.

Separation and Color Differentiation

Variation in color and separation is not unusual in natural raw honey, while processed honey looks more uniform.

How It Feels

When eaten, raw honey gives a grainier mouth feel than regular honey, which tends to be smooth from filtering and processing.


How Our Technology Retains Raw Honey Benefits

At Steens, we believe in the power of raw honey and always have. When we decided to go to market, the only choice was to keep our honey raw. We wanted our Steens Honey lovers to get the very best from our products. This is a principle we hold very earnestly, and it is a value that we don’t compromise.

So, traditional methods of extracting honey weren’t an option for us. Manuka honey is particularly tricky to extract because it is thixotropic (gel-like), and we didn’t want to pasteurize or denature it in any way.

Paul set to with his brother and designed an entire system that is unique in the beekeeping industry. I remember so well during its installment one of our beekeepers asking if it came from NASA — it was and still is quite something to behold! 

This Whole Comb Technology™ works by minimally processing our honey once, without the need for any secondary processing. We scrape the honeycomb from our bee frames to include all the honey, pollen (bee bread), and wax.

We don’t use fine filters, so it retains all of nature’s goodness like the bio-available bee bread and naturally occurring honey crystals that give Steens Honey a delicious natural grainy texture and a beautifully rich flavor.

This was a massive project but one that we are really proud of, knowing that the honey in the jar with our name on it is not denatured but retains the goodness that you expect from honey — from our family to yours.


Start Using Authentic Raw Manuka Honey

In sum, when we talk about raw honey, we’re talking exclusively about how it’s processed. Manuka, on the other hand, refers to where the honey comes from (the manuka plant).

It’s important to know what raw honey really means as a consumer, because often honey is labeled as raw when it has in fact been harshly processed and filtered, stripping it of the very properties that make honey so beneficial.

Always trust your own judgment! Check for signs of real rawness like processing temperature, filtering, texture, and appearance. Make sure your honey is truly raw — you owe it to yourself and your health.

Thanks to our innovative honey extraction methods, all Steens manuka honey is proudly raw and unpasteurized. Discover which type of manuka honey is best for you.


Happy days!



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