Okinawa’s Traditional Nuchigusui: Raw Muscovado Sugar Bonbons Convey the Magic of Sugarcane.

Raw Muscovado Sugar Bonbons
(Month information was collected: March 2024)
TIMELESS CHOCOLATE is Okinawa’s first bean-to-bar chocolate brand. The star ingredient in their chocolates is muscovado sugar, extracted from sugarcane. Sugarcane, which has distinct flavor profiles depending on origin and variety, is traditionally processed to produce muscovado sugar. This sugar is then combined with compatible cacao beans. Chocolates manufactured solely of cacao and sugarcane have the potential to showcase the beauty of Okinawa’s unique muscovado sugar to the world. In this issue, we introduce Raw Muscovado Sugar Bonbons that let you fully appreciate the flavor of muscovado sugar.

Here are some features that distinguish TIMELESS CHOCOLATE’s Raw Muscovado Sugar Bonbons.

Made solely of sugarcane and cacao

Muscovado sugar is turned into a silky, bean jam-like paste using a special method before being hand-coated with numerous layers of coarsely crushed 100% Ghanaian cacao. It allows you to discover a flavor of muscovado sugar that you have never tasted before.

Muscovado sugar is Okinawa's traditional "nuchigusui"

There are only about 10 traditional muscovado sugar makers in Okinawa. By using their muscovado sugar, which has been passed down through centuries as nuchigusui (fortifying remedy), they are passing on the flavor and value to future generations.

Not just any sugarcane will do

The sugarcane utilized in the product has been naturally grown by the company’s partner farms. Each stalk is hand-cut, and the first extraction of sugarcane juice, which has the most umami, is traditionally heated manually to yield muscovado sugar for the Raw Muscovado Sugar Bonbons.

Stumbled upon Okinawa’s sugarcane culture while looking for sugar to go with coffee

Masayuki Hayashi, the owner of TIMELESS CHOCOLATE, was a globetrotter. He journeyed throughout Japan and other countries, eventually becoming a barista in Melbourne, Australia, the coffee mecca of the world. His love for coffee led him to discover Okinawan muscovado. He picked chocolate as a medium to convey its captivating qualities.


Hayashi explains, “People in Melbourne add sugar to their espresso, but it puzzled me that they lacked knowledge and passion for it despite seeking the world’s best quality coffee. What’s the best sugar? After much thought, I decided on Okinawan muscovado. During my investigations in Okinawa, I discovered that, like coffee beans, sugarcane, the raw material for muscovado sugar, has different varieties and regions that produce unique flavors, giving it a distinct taste. Meanwhile, sugarcane was being purchased at a low cost, and the old muscovado sugar production process was fading out, so I began to consider protecting Okinawa’s sugarcane culture. I chose to manufacture chocolate using simply sugarcane and cacao.”


Hayashi founded TIMELESS CHOCOLATE by importing and roasting chocolate beans, and it has since become a well-known brand that has won the Prefectural Governor’s Prize, the top honor in the Okinawa Prefecture Local Products Competition. The flavor is consistent and generated through a process of subtraction using only sugarcane and cacao beans.

Hayashi elucidates, “For instance, muscovado from Iriomote and Iheya Islands has a vanilla scent, while Yonaguni Island’s has a slightly salty taste. I make chocolates by blending a single variety/origin of sugarcane, similar to single-origin coffee, with cacao beans that enhance the sugar’s flavor.”

Raw Muscovado Sugar Bonbons are for savoring authentic Okinawan muscovado


The muscovado used in the chocolates is produced by a traditional muscovado sugar maker, whom Hayashi refers to as “master.” There are only about 10 experts like him in the Prefecture. He uses a traditional cauldron called Shinmei to heat muscovado over a wood fire, resulting in a rich, dark color and a very flavorful taste.

Hayashi says, “When a woman in her 70s tasted this muscovado, she wept, saying, ‘Why, I can’t believe you know about this.’ That experience convinced me that I had finally found the authentic taste of Okinawan muscovado, a flavor that has been disappearing over the last few decades. I was deeply touched when the woman explained that this muscovado was a precious nuchigusui, passed down for generations by her ancestors. I think that’s why I can keep making chocolates in subtropical Okinawa, which isn’t the best climate for producing chocolates.”


Raw Muscovado Sugar Bonbons are the perfect choice if you want to fully experience the taste of muscovado sugar. The juice obtained from the first pressing of sugarcane is heated until it reaches a texture similar to smooth bean jam and then coated in chocolate made entirely of Ghanaian cacao. As the muscovado sugar and cacao melt in the mouth, a rich flavor fills the palate. Hayashi suggests nibbling on it due to its intense flavor rather than consuming it all at once.


“The bonbon goes superbly with sake, but it’s also delightful when paired with green-scented beverages such as matcha and sencha due to the sugarcane’s green aroma. I’m confident that you will savor a flavor of muscovado sugar you’ve never experienced before.”

Introducing KOKUTO SUGAR to the world

Currently, Hayashi is involved in a project aimed at producing muscovado sugar. The goal is to develop a muscovado sugar blend that everybody can enjoy and use, including various varieties and origins. He hopes to introduce Okinawan muscovado to the world.


Hayashi comments, “When I had my barista friends in Australia try the muscovado, they were amazed. They asked me what kind of snack it was and said they’d never tasted muscovado with so much flavor of grain. This feedback gave me confidence in its potential. To differentiate it from local muscovado sugar, I am considering marketing it as Kokuto Sugar or Black Sugar, a unique type of sugar. I am currently working with professionals from various industries in Okinawa, including coffee experts, chefs, and sake breweries, to create muscovado sugar products. My initial goal is to make muscovado sugar easy to use by blending various cane varieties rather than emphasizing different flavors based on the origin or variety. I believe this will help raise awareness of Okinawan muscovado sugar and encourage more people to try it.”

The love for muscovado sugar that began with coffee has evolved into chocolate, much like a journey without a destination. We hope you enjoy the TIMELESS chocolates, which are rich in Okinawan history and culture.

*Some of the images posted on our website have been provided by those whom we inter-viewed.


Address 3-223, Miyagi, Chatancho, Nakagami District, Okinawa Prefecture

*The information in this article is current as of the date of the interview. Please contact the restaurant for the latest information.