It’s a natural sugar made from coconut palm sap, which is the sugary circulating fluid of the coconut plant. It is often confused with palm sugar, which is similar but made from a different type of palm tree.
The brown colour which develops as the sap is reduced is mostly due to caramelization.
In Indonesian cuisine coconut sugar is called gula jawa (Javanese sugar) or gula merah (red sugar), while gula aren refers to palm sugar specifically made from aren palm.
Taste and Flavor
Coconut sugar is subtly sweet almost like brown sugar but with a slight hint of caramel. The flavor and sweetness is usually similar to table sugar or brown sugar.
Nutrition and Health Claims
Although its use as a sweetener has become more common in developed countries, there is no scientific evidence that coconut sugar is more nutritious or healthier than any other sweetener.
The nutritive value is similar to the empty calories found in table sugar or brown sugar. The principal carbohydrates of coconut sugar are sucrose (70–79%), glucose, and fructose (3–9% each).