Sunday, July 11, 2010

do you sweeten?

When it comes to tea, there are many different preferences on how to drink it. Milk, no milk; lemon, no lemon; and sweet, un-sweet. I personally prefer mine plain and slightly sweet. With so many sweet options, how do you choose?

My only rule in regards to sweetening tea is no white sugar. In my opinion, processed sugars can mask the natural flavors of delicate teas. Raw sugars, honey and other natural sweeteners all enhance the delicate teas while adding varying degrees of sweetness.

I actually keep a complete arsenal of all of the following products on hand and sweeten depending on my desired sweetness and current tea of choice.

{rock cane sugar}

Rock cane sugar is best used with hot tea, as the larger crystals take time to dissolve. One of the purer forms of sugar, unprocessed rock cane sugar adds the slightest touch of sweetness to your tea without changing its taste or complexity. 

{rock sugar stir sticks}

Much like rock candy, minus the artificial dyes and flavors, rock cane sugar can be found in many forms. These rock sugar stir sticks make a lovely presentation when paired with afternoon tea or espresso. 

{sugar in the raw}

Turbinado sugar, commonly known as Sugar in the Raw although available from many manufacturers, is an unbleached crystalized sugar. These crystals retain their natural molasses and bring extra flavor and richness similar to brown sugar. This is usually my preferred sweetener, as it's rich flavor is sweeter than most sugars and requires much less to achieve one's desired sweetness. 

{stevia in the raw}

From the makers of Sugar in the Raw, a new raw form of Stevia is available. From their website:

Stevia Extract In The Raw gets its delicious, natural sweetness from Rebiana (aka Reb-A) — an extract from the Stevia plant. This extract is the sweetest part of the plant and has recently been isolated to provide pure sweetening power without the licorice-like aftertaste that many of our predecessors exhibited. All you get is the sweet flavor without any calories.

Unlike some of our competitors, Stevia Extract In The Raw does not use additional sweeteners such as erythritol (Truvia™) and isomaltulose and erythritol (PureVia™) to mask the natural sweetness of Reb-A Stevia Extract. The high purity level of our product eliminates any of the licorice-like aftertaste associated with less pure Stevia products currently in the market.

I was recently introduced to Stevia through our naturopathic doctor at work. This is the first "artificial" sweetener (although there's nothing artificial about it) that I actually like. There is no false aftertaste, 0 calories is always a plus, and the finer consistency enables it to easily dissolve in iced teas as well.


Honey is an excellent sweetener if you're looking to get more sweet with fewer calories. This highly potent sweetener allows you to use far less than you would if sweetening with sugar alone. It will, however, add a very distinct flavor to your tea - a flavor I absolutely don't mind when enjoying bolder teas. If choosing honey, I highly recommend picking up local honey from either the Farmer's Market or organic foods store. Local honey helps build immunity to local allergens, thus helping to lessen sensitivity to seasonal allergies. 

There is absolutely no right or wrong way to sweeten tea as it is merely a matter of preference. As I mentioned, I keep all of these sweeteners on hand in order to produce the perfect cup of tea to suit any mood. 


flip flops and pearls said...

We love Suger in the Raw!! Just bought a new box:)

Jacqui said...

Love your blog! I use to use just a little sugar in my tea but after meeting my now British Husband and his family I have become a fan of just a bit of milk:)

Yenta Mary said...

Hi! Found you through the hop and now following ... :) And I like honey in my tea ....

Carol said...

I'm following you from Fancy Meeting You Monday!
Will you follow me?

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