frequently asked questions
We're an open book. Here's where we'll answer any sticky questions, dispel a few myths and generally clear the air. Because we're great believers in fresh air.
Virtually all honeys have some antibacterial activity, but when exposed to heat and/or light, the antibacterial property is lost. Manuka honey is unique because it contains high levels of Methylgyoxal, and has been scientifically proven to have a property known as Non-Peroxide Activity (NPA). Manuka honey is also a darker colour than many other honeys, with a rich bittersweet flavour.
Manuka is a Maori word for a small, scrubby tree with the convoluted Latin name of Leptospermum scoparium. Native to New Zealand, it grows throughout the country, particularly in the drier east coasts of both the North and South Islands. It’s also an important plant for regenerating eroded soil. By creating shade and shelter, it’s like a natural nursery for slower, more delicate native plants.
The rather special properties of Manuka honey are widely known, and many have been scientifically tested. Due to New Zealand food regulations, we can’t make any claims on the therapeutic or medical benefits of Manuka honey but we do hear from our customers about the wonderful ways they use Manuka honey. So try it for yourself, and if you’re searching for info, make sure your source is backed up with credible scientific evidence.
There is only one ingredient – Manuka honey – derived from Manuka nectar. As we can’t tell the honeybee what to eat, we instead make sure her hive is surrounded by lots of lovely Manuka bush during the short time it’s in full bloom. For our honey to be in our jars we know our honeybees have been harvesting the nectar from Manuka trees and bushes.
We can’t take credit for this! We leave this to our honeybee friends. All we do is extract it gently from the honeycomb, pasteurise and cream it, before we bottle it in glass jars and send it to you.
The very best Manuka honey is found in New Zealand’s most remote locations, without access by road. And we do all we can to avoid damaging or disrupting our bees’ native bush home. Often the best way to access these pristine areas is by gently lifting hives in and out using helicopters. Our founder Jim often flies the hives in himself so he can make sure they’re safe and sound.
‘Raw’ honey straight from the hive can have wax, bee bits and other stuff in it. So first we take care of this for you so you’re just getting that lovely honey. To help prevent it crystallising, we also cream it (which has nothing to do with dairy products!). This simple process sets the honey into a nice smooth texture in the jar.
Our Manuka honey comes from some of New Zealand’s most pristine, untouched spots, and is 100% natural. But we don’t label our honey as organic, as we haven’t found an organically certified pre-season treatment that’s effective enough to protect our precious honeybees from those nasty little varroa mites.
Our honey does go through a mild pasteurisation process. It’s a bit different to the process for dairy products, which destroys bacteria and harmful organisms (which honey doesn’t need). Pasteurising honey gets rid of yeast cells (from the nectar) to prevent it fermenting. It also lets us filter the honey to help the creaming process, so your Manuka honey is smooth and consistent.
Some honey makers use UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) to measure their honey. We use the MGO rating number because it’s directly proportional to the amount of methylglyoxal in the honey. That’s why we test and guarantee the MGO level in your honey. You may be more familiar with UMF though, so here’s a handy conversion table.
TTHC MGO Other Brands
Here’s a handy table to compare UMF with MGO:
|TTHC MGO||Other Brands|
We bottle all of our Manuka honey in glass, so it’s completely free from BPA and other plastic nasties. We’re confident that our Manuka honey will keep the MGO rating on the jar for at least three years from packaging date. But to be on the safe side, every jar is stamped with a two-year shelf life to guarantee its MGO levels during that time. After many years, MGO eventually drops off (depending on how it’s stored, for example) although the honey will still be deliciously good and perfectly safe to eat. FYI, the best temperature for storing honey is 10-20°C.
Honey is equal parts indulgent and pantry staple for your cooking. Great for glazing to get that lovely brown crispness, a natural preservative for pickles and sauces, it also retains moisture for deliciously dense, moist cakes, with a touch of colour. Foodies love Manuka honey for its rich, complex bittersweet flavour that adds another dimension to food altogether. When using honey in a recipe, remember it's about twice as sweet as sugar.
Our customers have some very creative ways to use Manuka honey. They love it with breakfast on toast or drizzled over porridge or in cooking. Honey in your tea or hot drink is great when it’s cold out. We even know of people who have a spoonful before they exercise for a quick, natural energy boost.
Yes, Manuka honey is safe to eat, both while pregnant and breastfeeding, so there’s no need to miss out on a little sweet treat, when you’re craving one.
Yes, but please do not feed any type of honey to little ones younger than 12 months old.
We’ve been asked this question by quite a few honey lovers. And we’d love to know this too. So we’ve asked independent scientist Nanogirl (Dr Michelle Dickinson) to find out the answer. We’ll let you know the results when we do.
The short answer here is yes. The average temperature of water out of a freshly boiled jug/kettle is around 90°C. We’ve had our Manuka honey independently tested at this temperature, without seeing a notable change to the Methylglyoxal (MGO) or Non-Peroxide Activity (NPA) – which relate to honey’s antimicrobial activity.
Our favourite recipe for a ‘Not Toddy’ is to squeeze the juice of half a ripe lemon into a mug, with half a teaspoon of sliced ginger. Add two teaspoons of high MGO rated Manuka honey (the higher the better), fill with not-quite-boiling water and stir well, letting the ginger settle before you sip. Of course, if you’re of the legal drinking age, and fancy adding a drop of whatever you fancy, who are we to stop you?
Some honey can naturally crystallise, especially when the weather’s a bit chilly. It’s still fine to eat – but placing your jar in a warm spot will soften those granules away. We cream our Manuka honey, which also helps to keep it smooth.
Manuka trees grow in very remote wild parts of New Zealand. This makes it a real challenge for our intrepid beekeepers to get to our hives. Each section of Manuka bush only produces nectar for 3-4 weeks each year, and depending on the weather during flowering, yields can be very low. It’s also rare to find honey with very high concentrations of Manuka honey, which is selected and independently tested to have an MGO rating of at least 300. The good stuff is so good, that demand is overtaking supply. And as honey lovers discover the benefits of high rated Manuka honey, they’re demanding top quality stuff, cottoning on to what’s worth their money, and getting better at spotting the fakes. In fact, if you see cheap Manuka honey on the shelf, it’s probably not the real deal.
Word has gotten out, and it’s hard keeping up with worldwide demand for this unique natural food. The cost of placing hives in the most remote spots, harvesting and bottling authentic Manuka honey is also going up. And, as honey lovers discover the benefits of high rated Manuka honey, they’re demanding top quality stuff, cottoning on to what’s worth spending their money on, and getting better at spotting the fakes. In fact, if you see cheap Manuka honey on the shelf, it’s probably not the real deal.
Our honeys are independently tested and rated, so you can be sure you’re spending your hard earned money on the real deal. And while we can’t speak for anyone else, we suggest you look for products with the MGO rating (Methylglyoxal – the compound responsible for Manuka honey’s unique benefits). We also bottle our honey in New Zealand, to very strict labelling guidelines. Every batch is independently tested to guarantee the MGO level on the jar, and we’re happy to share those results with you anytime. Most fake Manuka honey products use terms like ‘Total Activity’: all honey has activity but only true Manuka honey has the Non Peroxide Activity of MGO – with its unique scientifically proven benefits.
Authentic Manuka honey is only produced in New Zealand. Our high MGO rated Manuka honey is a low volume, high value product – which is why we harvest and bottle it ourselves, and send it directly to honey lovers in the UK. That way we can stand behind every drop to make sure it reaches you in tip top condition, and is what it says on the jar. You could say, a little goes a long way!
True Manuka honey is a 100% natural product, which only comes from New Zealand. Our customers tell us they love using it to help them stay bright eyed and bushy tailed. We also believe that planting Manuka for honey production is also one way to support the ongoing awareness and protection of our stripy little besties, reforest erosion-prone farmland and offset carbon emissions.
This one’s easier to experience than describe. Put a small teaspoon of Manuka Honey on your tongue and let it slowly dissolve. With high MGO rated (300 and above) honey you’ll feel a tingling sensation at the back of your throat. The higher the rating, the more you’re likely to feel it. Low MGO rated (0-300) honey – a blend with less Manuka and more other nectar sources – won’t give you a tingle.
Right now, our focus is on making top notch, high quality authentic Manuka honey. But people far cleverer than us have studied its medicinal benefits with great interest. Take a look at some of what they’ve discovered at:
New Zealand’s Waikato University
The University of Sydney and University of Technology, Sydney
The University of Southampton
We will email you when we ship, who we’ve shipped with and your unique tracking number. If your honey isn’t with you within the estimated shipping time, buzz us and we’ll chase it up for you.
For our honey lovers we’re working on a rewards programme which we believe will (ahem) sweeten the deal. Just join our email list and watch this space. If you’re one of our first customers here (thanks!), we’ll keep your details safe and share a very special offer with you shortly.
We ship our orders daily so if you find you have hit a button you wished you hadn’t (we’ve all been there), and you haven’t received a shipping confirmation email, then quickly buzz us and we’ll cancel the order.
Once you’ve created an account with us, simply log in to see your previous orders and select items from that list to reorder.
We pick and ship orders from our UK partners warehouse each working day (Monday to Friday excluding Bank Holidays) and ship overnight so your honey should arrive at your door within 3 working days. For locations outside of the UK and within the EU please allow 6 working days, elsewhere please buzz us with your query and we will come back to you.
ask us anything
If you've got a burning question that's not covered here, let us know. We'll answer it and if it's a good'un, we'll share it here too.