“I know very well that I am in a minority
here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea lover if you destroy
the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable
to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant
to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are
merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving
sugar in plain hot water.” – George Orwell
To an extent, the above quote is something I believe in. However, Iam never one to judge people’s taste preferences especially since even today I am still guilty for sweetening my teas. I like to think I have improved from when I first started drinking tea though. That was back when I would put refined sugar in every cup not even thinking about how the tea tastes on its own. I would automatically assume this liquid needs to be sweetened. While I do not do that anymore there are some teas out there that I think make the perfect cleaner treat with a hint of additional sweetness. Every tea is different and I sometimes find that each steeping needs a different level of sweetness. Here are some items that I have used in the past and some that I currently use to sweeten my tea.
White Sugar:Certainly not the healthiest item to add to your tea but it is what I started with and feel it should be mentioned as I am sure it is a common additive for others, too. White sugar is my least favourite at sweetening a tea as it alters the taste completely. Depending on how much you add to your cup, it starts to just taste like flavoured sugar water as it masks the complexity of the tea. I used to add two teaspoons to any cup (I cringe when I think of that now) and have slowly changed that by putting in half a teaspoon less each time.
Honey: Since I am not a huge agave syrup fan, I find honey to be the perfect match for tea. I first discovered the combination years ago when I was feeling sick. I always gravitate towards tea and when I am sick that doesn’t change. However, I know that adding white sugar to my tea wouldn’t make sense for someone under the weather so I went for a spoon of honey. Honey is one of the most popular among natural sweeteners and I don’t think it takes the “tea” away from the star role. It is best if you use pure, raw (unpasteurized) honey.
Maple Syrup: Please note that I am not talking about popular name brand syrup you buy at your grocery store to top your french toast and pancakes with. This isn’t Aunt Jemima. I am talking about maple syrup that is actually tapped from a maple tree. Being from Canada, real maple syrup is not hard to find locally. If you’re looking for real maple syrup be thorough when checking the back labels in the grocery store. The darker the syrup, the more its sugar has been concentrated. I find this sweetener to be a bit more difficult to match with a tea. So far, I have found that any kind of “nutty” or “fruity” teas goes well with this as it compliments the flavours nicely. You can also use it with chai.
German Rock Sugar:
This one is probably my new favourite way to sweeten tea. As a long time tea drinker I only just tried German Rock Sugar last month. While adding a lovely sweetness to a cuppa, it enhances the flavours of the tea without altering the taste as it is a lot milder than the other sweeteners listed. These sugar crystals are crystallized through a heating and cooling
process that allows large sugar crystals to form. They are then coated
with caramelized sugar and allowed to dry before consuming. The Persimmon Tree has some on their website
that is affordable (pricier than white sugar, but worth it) and can also come in a glass jar for better storing. My only complaint is that I wish it melted faster so I could enjoy my tea quicker!
Do you like to add sweetness to a cuppa from time to time? What are other items that you use to sweeten your tea? Let me know in the comments below!
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