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Sweeteners - 5 Best and 5 Worst

51 Replies
Will said

As far as the subject of tea… drink good tea, and there’s no reason to add sweetener.

Cheryl said

yea yea yea

Azzrian said

So true!

Feebs said

Hehe love it.

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Speaking of sweetener… I’m at work and still have another 2 hours to go so I was trying to kick start my mate caffeine with some sugar and put 1 packet of sugar in the raw and 2 of Equal into my tea (16 oz travel mug) and it is absolutely ATROCIOUS! Yuck! I needed the sugar to stay awake but I’m not planning on sweetening my tea again any time soon!!!

That combination really does sound pretty gross. XD

I would suggest picking up a jar of local honey to keep around the work place just in case you want to add that sweetness. I rarely use it for “unflavored” teas, but it’s very nice in a black tea and occasionally if you oversteep your oolong or even green tea, it can save that cup. :)

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timmya9433 said

Sugar in the raw is what I normally put in my tea…I just love the taste of it in tea with milk!

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VeryPisces said

My list of sweeteners, in order of preference, are German rock sugar, raw honey, agave nectar, and stevia. The rock sugar is the best in terms of not affecting the flavor of the tea and providing “manmade chemical”-free sweetening (as far as I know). But I use it sparingly due to glycemic worries. Raw honey is a favorite because of the flavor and the fact that it is natural, but it does affect the flavor profile of tea, and I use it sparingly for the same reasons mentioned for sugar. Agave nectar is better for glycemic-related reactions, but does affect the flavor of teas. I use it most often in chais since they already have strong flavorings.

Stevia should be a natural for me, but I just don’t like it. I got the Stevia extract and you only need a teeeeeeeeeny pinch of it, but there’s something about the flavor or the way it sweetens that makes it unenjoyable for me. Since I paid $10.00 for it I’m gonna find a way to use it up! Maybe I’ll get used to it or find teas that it works best with.

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Haridasi said

This is a thread right up my ally.

I have used stevia for years, and several brands. Stevia is calori free, no side effects. There isn’t anything bad to say about it, except that you might have to use it a couple of times before getting used to the taste. And then you love it.

I have settled for NuNaturals because they have the purest stevia without any bad aftertaste – or adding (bad) taste to the tea itself except sweetness.

Stevia is very bitter – and extremely sweet, so even using liquid drops I have found it difficult to sweeten the tea with the appropriate amount. So when I tried NuNaturals packets I was overjoyed because I finally found an easy way to sweeten the tea without using too much.

NuNaturals packets: http://www.iherb.com/NuNaturals-NuStevia-No-Carbs-Blend-50-Packets-89-oz-25-g/7244?at=0

I use brown sugar when I need a bit of extra kick (read energy) or honey if I’m in the mood.

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Feebs said

Sooo! Heheh – just catching on to this now – I don’t think stevia is as well known in Australia. It’s from a plant yeah? How does the flavour compare to other sweeteners?

I only ever use about a 1/2 teaspoon of raw sugar in some of the more robust teas or occassionally a fruit tea. Yellow Box honey in chai is amazing but I tend to avoid honey in other types of tea…

There’s a particular style of sugar that cafes in Sydney and I think Melbourne before that are using… I’ll try and find out the name. But it’s glorious.

My understanding is that Stevia comes from a South American plant http://www.stevia.com/Stevia_Article/Frequently_asked_questions_FAQ/2269 Depending on the brand you use, it imparts little to no actual flavor, but does a great job as a sweeter in both hot and cold beverages (it dissolves easier in hot).

We use pure stevia extract powder. You can buy it in many different forms, but I like the extract powder as it seems to be the least expensive way to go. We have had both of the Now and Kal brands of stevia extract. We have found the Kal brand to be sweeter.

http://www.amazon.com/Pure-Stevia-Extract-Powder-Kal/dp/B000VRSR84
http://www.nowfoods.com/Foods/better-stevia/Products/M011587.htm (check out the number of servings per container)

Feebs – if you can get your hands on some Tasmanian Leatherwood Honey, I’d recommend it. I use it in some of the stronger teas, like these few: http://www.artoftea.com.au/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=627&category_id=112&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=36
http://www.davidstea.com/cream-of-earl-grey-organic
Leatherwood is pretty unique, and it adds something different to tea. But you have to match it well or it might over power the tea.

Feebs said

Thanks guys! Will have to try both :)

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For green tea I love raw honey though. Green tea and honey is a match made in heaven.

As far as herbal or fruity teas I love german rock sugar (teavana)because it enhances the flavor without altering.

I saw some people post about the use of stevia in tea, I bought a box of truvia stevia packets and do not like the flavor in tea. It definitely has a weird flavor.

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Excelsior said

I only use a small amount of White Crystal Sugar I buy from Japan. 1/4 teaspoon per 400ml of Darjeeling tea. The sugar is extremely pure and I feel this small amount brings out the full flavor of the Darjeeling teas.

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david said

I generally use whatever is available.

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teawing said

“researchers are finding that the artificial sweetener is passing through our bodies and winding up in wastewater treatment plants…Scientists worry it could change organisms’ feeding habits and interfere with photosynthesis, putting the entire food chain at risk.”
Type 2 Diabetic here, not sure I see the problem with Splenda. This sounds like a marketing scare tactic and pseudo-science. Can we have some real reasons not to use it? Please? Until then, it is my sweetener of choice.

Uniquity said

I was intrigued by this so I did a very brief Google search. It seems likely the above (“researchers are finding that the artificial sweetener is passing through our bodies and winding up in wastewater treatment plants”) comes from a German study which I found referenced a number of times. I didn’t find the whole study, but here is a link to part of it:
http://www.springerlink.com/content/a15x761724884206/
(Found through the following:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617123650.htm)

teawing said

Thanks Uniquity, this gets more interesting all the time…

“They tested the water samples using their new analytical method and detected four (acesulfame, saccharin, cyclamate, and sucralose) of seven artificial sweeteners in the waters from the two German sewage treatment plants, indicating incomplete elimination during waste water treatment. Their analyses also showed that these pollutants contaminate rivers and streams receiving water from the sewage treatment plants.
The authors then compared the conventional waste water treatment by sewage treatment plants with advanced waste water treatment by soil aquifer treatment. Traces of artificial sweeteners were present in both cases, proof that water purification was incomplete.”
Marco Scheurer concludes: “Due to the use of artificial sweeteners as food additives, the occurrence of artificial sweetener traces in the aquatic environment might become a primary issue for consumer acceptance.”

The Chicago Tribune reported in 2011 "Trace amounts of sex hormones, prescription drugs, flame retardants and herbicides are being detected in treated drinking water pumped to more than 7 million people in Chicago and its suburbs.

If that is the case elsewhere, we have a lot more than Splenda to fear in the water.

And whether it breaks down in the water treatment process still does not answer if it poses a risk to humans…

Uniquity said

I’m making a huge leap here (especially having not read the full paper) but I would assume that a potential issue would not be in humans re-consuming the artificial sweeteners but maybe in that it could change the food chain from the animal and plant levels (animals eating plants that may have soaked this up and accordingly having a change in their food preferences that affect their eating habits).

Of course, as you rightly point out this is not the only thing surviving water treatment. People put a number of things into the water system (medication, bleach, cleaning chemicals, etc). I had the good fortune to grow up in rural areas where we had our own well. Of course soil contamination is still possible, but that was tested for regularly.

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