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A possibly stupid question about sweetening

Hi all!

Bit of a newbie round here, looks like a great and passionate community though!

This may have an obvious answer (of “no”), but could anyone suggest a way to sweeten tea (normal, everyday black tea) without refined sugar, or sweeteners with aspartame/sucralose please? Maybe even an old wives tale or odd ingredient?

Many thanks in advance!
Matt

34 Replies
Cofftea said

Stevia, raw honey, agave, pure Grade A maple syrup.

Cofftea said

Or just sugar in the raw.

cody said

This is the second mention of maple syrup I’ve heard today. I don’t know why I never thought of putting it in tea before… especially considering I’ve used it as a sweetener in vegan baking before.

But I’ve used honey, agave, and raw sugar. All are yummy.

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amandajo said

An article I read once mentioned using fruit. They said perhaps lemon (although I think that would have to be an awfully sweet lemon to really “sweeten” it.) I could see orange slices working well in iced tea, maybe even peach.

Cofftea said

Yes, a splash of fruit juice would work!

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amandajo said

Just added a little mango juice to some earl grey tea…pretty good actually!

Caitlin said

that sounds so interesting!

amandajo said

It was! Now I am actually contemplating adding a few drops of mango juice to the Chocolate Malt Honeybush I’m about to brew! lol

Cofftea said

Mango and chocolate? I’m not at all sold on that idea lol.

amandajo said

Lol! That’s why I said contemplating!

Cofftea said

But then again a lot of people swear by the combo of orange and chocolate and that isn’t my thing either.

amandajo said

That’s actually what gave me the idea! I love chocolate and orange… Of course I know a certain someone who swears by chocolate and cayenne… and that’s not exactly a too common combo either! ;)

Cofftea said

In Mexican cooking it is:) It just depends on where/what kind of food you’re used to eating I guess.

Caitlin said

hmm – mango and chocolate that could be interesting – I had chocolate covered pineapple once and that wasn’t too bad

amandajo said

True enough, Cofftea. As for the chocolate malt honeybush/mango combo, just tried it, would not recommend it. The mango is true strong, it drowns out the other flavors!

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Lori said

Nothing “wrong” with adding sugar. Some flavored teas " need" sugar to bring out the flavors. Oolongs don’t require sugar, but some black teas , like Assams, really need sugar to cut the astringency. For a while, I was adding way too much sugar (either white or turbinado) but now I am trying to cut down on my use.

Personally, I never could get used to Stevia as a replacement.

Cofftea said

I think we need to be careful to not say there’s anything “wrong” w/ adding sugars or that they “need” it, even if it’s in quotes. Matt’s already made it clear that for whatever reasons he has he doesn’t want use white sugar. And whatever reasons those are, they’re fine. To also say some teas “need” sugar I don’t think is being mindful of some people’s tastes to not to want to sweeten their teas.

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AJ said

Jam/jelly is always an option. It’s seen in Russian tea culture; I’ve tried it myself (although I rarely sweeten teas), and since it’s fruit, you get a sort of tart sweetness (thus it works better with black teas, where it won’t overpower them). It can leave a bit of a residue at the bottom of your cup, though—unmelted/dissolved pectin and fruit bits.

But still, delicious.

Cofftea said

Hmmm… I like where you’re coming from w/ that idea, but then you need to worry about the above sweetners Matt wants to avoid cuz they’re in jam… unless you’d make your own w/ stevia (I’ve never seen it in a store). Would the jam settle to the bottom?

Jaime said

I’ve had lattes made with jam. There’s some settling, but most of it melts into the hot tea. I find that the jams make them sweeter than using honey or sugar.

Cofftea said

Oooh now I’m thinking a Mayan Chocolate Chai latte w/ raspberry jam!

Jaime said

I want to hear how that turns out!!

Mel said

I have thought of jam with tea before, thanks for recommending this! I am so trying this out tonight!

Cofftea said

Confirming jam works for me. I put a heaping TB of raspberry jam in 16 oz of a black tea that was supposed to be blackberry but really has no fruit flavor. Hints for next time: Steep it an extra min, don’t use jam w/ seeds. I also think this is best for blacks and herbals… not sure I’d use it for greens or whites… But I think that’s just my one personal preference against sweet tea and being insanely picky about my fruit flavored teas.

AJ said

Yes! I’m converting people to jam!

Yeah, it’s definitely too strong for anything other than black teas. That’s all I use it in.

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Wow, thank you everyone for the great response and really useful ideas! I love the idea of using fruit especially. Mango and Earl Gray sounds like a little piece of heaven!

My reasons for not wanting aspartame/sucralose is due to a nervous system condition I have that was caused by having a Diet Coke once a day for a month. My system is very sensitive to artificial sweeteners and can cause restricted blood flow to my brain! It’s a nightmare to avoid as they are so prevalent :)

As for no refined sugar, I just don’t like it ;)

Thank you so much everyone! Great debate here too, hope it continues :)

I can’t have aspartame either, it makes me very ill. Sucralose does not affect me quite the same way, but, I don’t like it. I don’t really care for stevia either, but, you might like it, so I would recommend trying it to see how you like it… I do recommend using about a third less of it than you would sugar because it is very sweet.

I prefer not to use refined sugar also, but I do use raw sugar sometimes. I prefer raw agave nectar though or locally harvested raw honey. Those are my two favorite sweeteners when I choose to sweeten my teas.

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CupOfJoy said

You should try agave nectar! It can be found in many grocery stories now, and health food stories. It’s organic and all natural sweetener made from the juice of the agave plant. It’s perfect for hot and iced tea, it’s a lot sweeter then honey so you use a little less but the consistency is thin so it’s easy to stir into your tea and it doesn’t just stay at the bottom! I really recommend it!

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Ice cream!

I don’t do this regularly (I think I did once, for chai), just getting into the spirit of creative suggestions! I usually find just adding (whole) milk is enough sweetener for me, but generally use honey when it’s not. I’ve tried stevia, and find it acceptable but a little odd tasting.

Cofftea said

Funny- I did that last night! (With the addition of coffee creamer)=D

amandajo said

I’ve done this before too! If you’re out of sugar and milk, it’s only logical! ;)

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I don’t know if this is far enough away from refined sugar, but my favorite sweetener for tea is raw sugar cubes. They are brown & not really a cube, but more of a lump.

I like the varying sizes they come in, since I don’t always need the same amount of sugar per cup/tea.

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Feisty said

I love honey in tea and find it very versatile, it goes well in blacks, chais and even the occasional green that I think would benefit from it. I find some other sweeteners such as artificial ones or white sugar can only really be tolerated (by me) in a strong black tea like Irish Breakfast. I haven’t tried any of the special honeys (organic, clover etc) but just liquid or creamed honey (if it’s all I have) seem to work great. I’ve even seen solid honey drops (I’m sure someone here could supply the company(s) that make them) so you could take your honey on the go with your new mug!

Cofftea said

Lupicia and Republic of Tea has flavored honeys if you’re ok w/ not buying local

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