The color, as well as the smell and taste, of maple syrup comes from the caramelization that occurs during the evaporation process. The varying colors and flavors depend on the amount of time the sap spends in the evaporator and also the time of the maple season that the sap is collected. The lighter-colored and delicate-flavored syrup grades come from sap in the early part of the season that requires a shorter time in the evaporator. Meanwhile, syrup grades with darker hues and bolder maple tastes come from end-of-the-season sap that requires longer boil times.