Sugarcane juice

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Sugarcane juice
A machine used to extract sugar cane juice
Hand cranked press in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Sugarcane juice is the juice extracted from pressed sugarcane. It is consumed as a beverage in many places, especially where sugarcane is commercially grown such as Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, Egypt, and Latin America. Evaporated cane juice as an ingredient in prepared food and beverages indicates a sweetener (a sugar) derived from sugar cane syrup.[1]

Sugarcane juice is obtained by crushing peeled sugar cane in a mill. It can be a hand-cranked machine, or powered. It is served, often cold, and sometimes with other ingredients, such as a squeeze of lemon or lime (in Brazil, Colombia, Cuba), pineapple (Brazil), passionfruit, ginger (India, Zanzibar) or ice. In India it can be served with black salt or mint.

Bottled Sugarcane juice

The juice is especially popular among the Cuban expatriate community in Miami, where it is found in abundance at many locations in Little Havana. It is one of the most widely consumed drinks in India, especially in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. In Egypt, sugar cane juice is a popular drink served by almost all fruit juice vendors, who can be found abundantly in most cities. In Indonesia and Malaysia, sugar cane juice is sold nationwide especially among street vendors. It is bottled for local distribution in some regions and sold at food courts daily. In Singapore, it is sold in food courts only.

Health risk in rural areas[edit]

This video shows a mechanical way of extracting sugarcane juice in Tuticorin

Raw sugar cane juice can be a health risk to drinkers due to the unhygienic conditions under which it is prepared. There are some diseases that can be transmitted by raw sugar-cane. Leptospirosis is one. [2] Rats are thought to be a common source of the disease and, historically, cane cutters were infected during manual cutting of cane infested by rats.

Cane juice was involved in a widely publicized episode in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, when at least 49 tourists were infected with Chagas disease by drinking 'garapa' most likely produced at roadside stalls.[citation needed] The sugar cane used for it most probably was contaminated with feces of the insect vector, a Reduviid.

Since it is very sugary, it is an ideal culture medium for many kinds of microorganisms, so it should not be stored outside a refrigerator. It is almost always consumed as a freshly prepared drink. Pasteurization is required if the juice is to be bottled and sold as such, and a date of validity should be stamped on the container.

Evaporated cane juice[edit]

Evaporated cane juice is a loosely defined term which can include combinations of sugars including glucose, and fructose. Evaporated cane juice is a partially purified sugar, produced from a single-crystallization process during sugar cane milling. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines evaporated cane juice as any sweetener derived from sugar cane syrup. The US FDA considers the term “evaporated cane juice” to be misleading because the term incorrectly suggests that it is a juice, when in fact it is sugar syrup. Instead, the US FDA recommends using “sugar cane syrup” or “dried cane syrup” on food labels.[1]


Indian Subcontinent[edit]


Sugarcane Juice is the "National drink of Pakistan". It is called “Roh” in Pakistan. In summer season, you can easily find a vendor machine selling fresh sugarcane juice's popularity in all parts of the country.


Sugarcane juice vendor in Hyderabad, India

India is one of the leading producers of sugar cane in the world and because of that sugar cane juice is a popular drink in India especially in states such as Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. It is called "Kabbina Halu or Kabbina rasa" in Kannada. It is called "Cheruku rasam" in Telugu in Andhra. It is known as "oosacha ras" in Marathi and "ganne ka ras" in Hindi ('ras' translates to 'juice', whereas the former in both terms, 'oos' and 'ganna' translate to 'sugar cane'. It is called roh in eastern Punjab. It is called "Akhu" in Odisha. People usually like this drink in the summer months. Some other additives are added to the fresh juice like lemon, ginger, mint, and ice. "Oosacha ras" vendors are commonplace all year round in the city of Mumbai, Maharashtra.[citation needed] People can find this drink along the roadsides in Punjab from mid-March to late October. Most of the vendors prepare fresh juice quickly on demand. Sugar is valued highly by common people because it is affordable.


Sugar cane juice is the national drinks of Nepal, especially in the lowland Terai regions where sugarcane is widely planted on the fertile land. It is sold by roadside vendors, where the juice is squeezed fresh when ordered. It is sold in glasses with or without ice. Very often a hint of ginger and lemon is added, along with optional salt or pepper.

Southeast Asia[edit]

Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore[edit]

Es air tebu, iced sugarcane juice sold by street vendor in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In Indonesia and Malaysia, sugar cane juice is called air tebu. In Indonesian and Malay language, tebu is sugarcane and air is water. The sugarcane juice sold there are always served cold with ice cubes, therefore it is often called as es tebu (iced sugarcane juice). It is sold throughout the country especially among street vendors that set their stall on the street side. It is also bottled for local distribution in some regions and sold at food courts daily. In Singapore, food courts sell sugarcane juice but not on streets. These countries use electronic or machine pressers as it is easier and faster. The majority of the Chinese community of all three countries refers to it as gam jia zui which means "sugarcane water" in their Chinese Hokkien dialect.


In Cambodia, it is very popular in the summer.


Sugarcane juice is very popular in Myanmar (Burma) and widely available across the country. It is called kyan yae (ၾကံရည္) in Burmese.


Sugarcane juice can be found all over Thailand. In Thai, it is called nam oi (น้ำอ้อย; pronounced [náːm.ʔɔ̂j], lit. "cane water").


Sugarcane juice, called nước mía or mía đá, is very popular in Vietnam as a refreshing drink in the hot climate. Kumquat juice, a citrus, is often added to balance the sweetness.[3] It is available at numerous small street stalls and is often sold alongside other popular Asian beverages. It was common for sugar cane juice to be sold in small plastic bags filled with ice, with the open end attached around a drinking straw by a rubber band. It is now more commonly sold in disposable plastic cups.[4]

East Asia[edit]

Hong Kong[edit]

Street vendors began offering sugar cane juice in Hong Kong in the 1970s.[citation needed] Its popularity led to bottled sugar cane beverages being sold in supermarkets like PARKnSHOP.

Latin America[edit]

Attention to hygiene conditions should be especially given out of urban centers, as drinking sugarcane juice that has been processed in a way that triatomines end up milled together or where the cane has been contaminated with the insects' feces has been known in various cases in Brazil to have transmitted the Chagas disease endemic to the region (the same applies to açaí preparations – the responsibles for the infection, protozoans T. cruzi, can survive inside the fruits' pulp even at -20 °C, equivalent to slight negative °F temperatures, for a few hours, being only really intolerant to about -30 °C).[5][6]


In Brazil, sugarcane juice is known as caldo de cana (that is sold on a caldo-de-cana bar[7]), garapa or guarapa and is consumed fresh squeezed, most often with ice cubes,[8] though some people might enjoy the sweetness of consuming it plain at room temperature. Sometimes it can be combined with lime or pineapple juice.

Sugarcane juice is the primary source of economically important sugarcane derivatives such as raw sugar (obtained by evaporation and refining), cachaça, the national liquor, and ethanol, widely available and consumed as a disinfectant, cleaning agent, fuel for small incineration and fire-starting domestic purposes, and automobile fuel (all gasoline sold in the country contains at least 22% of ethanol).

The origin of the word is unclear. There are two hypotheses:

  • African origin, it means "fermented drink" in West Africa and was brought into Brazil and the rest of Latin America by slaves from Cabo Verde islands, then to the Madeira islands.
  • Tupí origin, from guarab, meaning a fermented drink laced with honey.

In Brazilian Portuguese, garapa is also used figuratively as meaning a good thing, easy to get. Garapa doida (crazy garapa) is also the name given to cachaça in the Amazon region, though its most common nickname in the country is caninha (literally "little cane").


In Paraguay, guaripola or simply guari is reserved for the alcoholic beverage, and mosto for the fresh, non-fermented sugar cane juice. As a further differentiation, retailers use mosto helado (ice-cold mosto) to refer to the non-industrial, ready-to-drink, roadside, or bar variety.


Guarapo or guarapero. Cuba has fresh sugar cane to buy.



In Egypt, sugar cane juice is called aseer asab (Egyptian Arabic: [ʕɑˈsˤiːr ˈʔɑsˤɑb] عصير قصب) and is by far the most popular drink served by almost all fruit juice vendors, who are abundant in most cities.

It is sold by roadside vendors, where the juice is squeezed fresh when ordered. It is sold in glasses with or without ice. But the juice can be a health risk to drinkers, mostly because of the unhygienic conditions under which it is prepared and served.

East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar[edit]

In Zanzibar street vendors crush sugar cane with small amounts of fresh ginger.


In the Eastern region of Madagascar, sugarcane juice is fermented to make an inexpensive alcoholic beverage called Betsa-betsa. The drink is popular with locals because it is much cheaper beer.[9]


See also[edit]