With teaspoon in hand or a pile of cubes, plain white sugar is the most common method of sweetening tea. However, a wide selection of sweeteners is awaiting the chance to help you discover the many facets of drinking your preferred beverage. For example, often overlooked as a way to sweeten tea, brown sugar offers a deeper, richer flavor than its refined sugar cousin. You never know when you’re going to find a new favorite combination. A few ideas for sweetening your next cup of tea include:
1) Rock Sugar
Rock sugar is a rather decorative (and oftentimes colorful) form of sweetening your tea, making it the perfect addition to a tea party amongst friends. Rock sugar crystals are molded into rectangular prisms or attached to a stirring stick that dissolves in your hot cup of tea.
2) Indian Jaggery
For an exotic take on sweetening your tea, jaggery is unrefined sugarcane sugar often used to enhance the flavor of savory and sweet dishes all over India. With no preservatives and chemicals added to the sugar, prepare for a distinctive, earthy taste.
3) Maple Sugar
Treat your taste buds to a different take on tea by adding maple syrup as a sweetener. While processed sap is just as sweet as sugar, it actually contains more minerals and fewer calories than honey. Use Grade-B maple syrup for a highly flavorful treat.
4) Agave Syrup or Nectar
An increasing number of people are discovering the deliciousness of agave nectar – a natural sweetener that comes from the agave cactus. For centuries, people in South America and Mexico have used agave, which offers 50% more sweetness than regular sugar. Choose agave nectar for stronger teas to enjoy a taste that resembles a blend of honey and molasses.
Sometimes, you must choose your tea sweetener to fit your health limitations. For example, most diabetics are stuck with the chemical aftertaste of artificial sweeteners. However, the leaves of the stevia plant produce a natural sweetener that doesn’t affect blood sugar levels. Scan your local market for options, such as Truvia.
With a variety of types and qualities, honey offers a versatile option in sweetening tea. Usually, clover honey is seen as the most popular choice because it possesses a somewhat neutral flavor. Other selections, such as tupelo honey with its buttery taste, offer flavor variations. The added benefit of using honey to sweeten your tea is that it contains healthy components, such as antibacterial properties. Many tea retailers also sell honey sticks for a less messy experience.
7) Simple Syrups
Also known as “sugar syrups,” solutions of sugar are boiled in water and often flavored with herbs or fruit (such as cranberries or ginger) during the cooking process.