The Sugar Tree in Ellesmere Port is here to add a twist to your cuppa

The Sugar Tree

The Sugar Tree - Credit: Archant

Naturally flavoured sweet and savoury sugars and syrups

The Sugar Tree

The Sugar Tree - Credit: Archant

Chris O’Byrne is earnest about sugar. ‘I want to educate people about sugar. It’s something we use every day but take for granted.’

An idea that HGV driver Chris had almost ten years ago has blossomed into a reality.

‘It’s been the past three years of my life’, said Chris, from Ellesmere Port. ‘I’m a qualified baker, so producing things has always been a passion. But I’ve been driving lorries for the past ten years, and the idea to have my own business has always been in my head. It is hard work having a 60-hour week on the road and then coming home and producing sugar, but I love it.’

Chris O'Byrne with his sugar drying cabinet

Chris O'Byrne with his sugar drying cabinet - Credit: Archant

The Sugar Tree produces naturally flavoured sweet and savoury sugars and syrups, an artisan twist on what most of us know as sugar. When Chris produced his first flavoured sugar, mint, his partner encouraged him to create more. After visiting a business advisor, it has been a case of trial and error to get this far.

‘It’s not just typical flavours like strawberry and lemon. I’ve been asked to create bespoke flavours such as toffee apple and ginger. Coffee shops and chocolatiers love using the natural syrups I produce, as there really isn’t anything else like it on the market, as many are artificially flavoured.’

All of Chris’s products are natural, with no colourants or additives. ‘The sugar we see most often is produced from sugar beet, and has been bleached to attain the white colour. I create my products from unrefined sugar cane, and then infuse the natural fruits or spice to achieve the different flavours.’

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Chris has been working alongside an artist from Norfolk, Howard Moses, to create artwork. On all of his products, you will see ‘Saach’ the sugar bird, a character for the brand. ‘Saach is short for saccharin, a sweetener. I wanted the Sugar Tree to have different elements to it, and Saach is one of them. Like a tree with ever expanding branches, we are always growing and developing concepts or flavours.’

Their raspberry sugar is the most popular flavour. Chris says it works well when making meringues or with fresh cream to give it a fruity twist: ‘There are so many combinations. The mint sugar is great sprinkled on top of strawberries, the cinnamon for sweet toast or the chilli sugar adds a kick to a hot chocolate.’

What next then for Chris? ‘I’d love to see my range in hotels or even a collaboration with the National Trust. It would be great to blend herbs from their gardens into the sugar and sell it in their shops.’

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