[Better] Sweeteners

I generally dislike normal sugar as a sweetener, I tried Sugar in the Raw and it really didn’t taste any better, but I had a thought that I might like using maple syrup and although I don’t have any, I wanted to know if anyone has tried it, and other possibilities for a sweetener, I’ve never tried honey, but I think I would probably like it better than sugar

54 Replies
Cofftea said

I use stevia for all my sweetening but tea (not that I sweeten tea much anyway). Sugar in the raw is great out of the packet, but as I didn’t like stevia in chai (or I should say it made no improvements to it) I’m guessing sugar in the raw wouldn’t make any earth shattering flavor improvements- the flavor of the SITR is too light itself. I wonder how stevia leaf would compare to the granulated? Brown and Indian sugar also interest me because they add flavor, not just sweetness. You might want to try tea infused flavored honeys- Republic of Tea and Lupicia both carry them. Maple syrup is REALLY yummy in a maple sugar flavored black tea I have. A former friend uses ice cream topping syrups to sweeten her chai.

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Kristin said

agave nectar. It is better than honey as it doesn’t add the honey flavor.

It’s also supposed to be better for you than sugar or honey. http://www.allaboutagave.com

You can get it at any Whole Foods or other natural foods store (and even Amazon).

Cofftea said

Are there any health benefits in agave like the antioxidents in honey? If not, I think the only way I’d put agave in tea would be tequila:)

Kristin said

Yes:

“The primary sugar in agave nectar is a complex form of fructose, which gives it a much lower glycemic index than honey. Depending on the variety, honey’s glycemic index usually falls in the 65-85 range. The glycemic index of agave syrup differs with variety and manufacturer, but usually falls between 11 and 30. This makes it less likely to raise blood sugar or trigger the body’s fat storage mechanisms.”

Kristin said

Oh, and it just tastes a smidge malty and sweet… it doesn’t taste like tequila. :P

Cofftea said

I guess I personally don’t see the lower GI as a health benefit because if you wouldn’t consume it at all the GI would be 0 (just the weird way I look at things lol). I consider health benfits to be things like antioxidents (like in honey) because you’d miss out on them by not consuming the said product and agave’s “anti-microbial properties” according to the link you posted. Of course that’s when used externally… I wonder if there are any when consumed internally…

I’ve been a big fan of agave, but recently have come across some articles suggesting that it might be unhealthy in the way that high fructose corn syrup is… does anyone know more about this than I do?

Cofftea said

“What do they say about High Fructose Corn Syrup?” LOL sorry, couldn’t resist. I agree w/ that commercial. The only perfectly healthy is calorie free natural sweeteners like stevia. I believe that others are ok in various degrees of moderation.

Harfatum said

Fructose is only processed by the liver, whereas glucose can be used all over the body. So, it can wear down the liver if you have too much of it. This is one of the reasons that some people prefer cane sugar (50% fructose to agave’s 90%) or pure glucose. I personally want to try glucose syrup.

Maple syrup does have a fair amount of antioxidants, so it may be slightly healthier.

Still, for the quantities consumed in tea, I don’t think which sweetener you use matters all that much.

Cofftea said

Antioxidants in maple syrup? Cool! I think it can matter depending on how much tea you drink and how much you put in. If I drank as much sweet tea as I do tea now I’d be in MAJOR trouble lol.

S said

Agave syrup is delicious (it reminds me of caramelized bananas) but it’s pretty unhealthy. I’m afraid of becoming diabetic, so I’m avoiding it.

Kristin said

Shanti, are you thinking of the right thing? Agave nectar is actually recommended to diabetics as an alternative sweetener because of its low glycemic index.

Cofftea said

That’s what I thought too, but then I thought maybe GI wasn’t connected to diabetes and I was thinking of something esle.

Garrett said

You know, I hopped on the agave nectar bandwagon when I first heard about how good it was supposed to be… But until recently when samovar tweeted about how agave nectar isn’t so “super” and I read the article about it, I sort of changed my mind…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/agave-this-sweetener-is-f_b_537936.html

S said

Kristin, the glycemic index doesn’t account for the large spike of fructose sugars that would enter the blood stream. Doctors do not reccommend fructose as a substitute sugar for diabetics because it has a propensity for turning non-diabetics into diabetics through insulin resistance, will cause weight gain, and will raise your triglycerides. I’m sure there’s more reasons, but I don’t have time to google right now…I’ll have to look at Garrett’s article later.

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I like maple syrup in tea, but it has to be the right tea. I think it adds a lot of its own character to the tea, and sometimes you don’t want that. I used it in a chocolate chai and I couldn’t taste any of the chocolate that I normally tasted quite well. The same with honey. I think honey adds less of a character to a tea (I use that in chai too, and love it!), but still is not “neutral” tasting to me.

I haven’t tried it yet, but I really want to try German Rock Sugar. It’s unrefined and is supposed to enhance the flavor of your tea without affecting the myriad flavors in the cup. I do use unrefined organic sugar in my tea and like it lots – you did mention you didn’t care for it – and the German Rock Sugar might be similar – I am not sure.

Cofftea said

Maple and chocolate? Hmmm…

German rock sugar is great! When used with tea, it doesn’t have the obvious “I just added sugar to my tea” taste that regular sugar gives me. I find that it just adds a slight sweetness and seems to enhance the natural tea flavors.

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I’ve been making a minor career out of using plain honeybush to sweeten up tart fruit infusions lately and it works pretty well for the most part. The secret seems to be two parts honeybush to one part fruit. I probably wouldn’t use it for tea, though.

Cofftea said

Green or red honeybush? Rooibos may work as well (?)

Not sure what color it is, it’s in a bag. ;-) It’s the Tazo honeybush.

Cofftea said

Based on their website- the fact that they do not specify green and the pic, I’m led to believe it’s red.

I would definitely not recommend rooibos. The sweetness of honeybush versus the sweetness of rooibos and their flavors are like the difference between honey and saccharine, in my opinion… and I really don’t have a high opinion of saccharine.

Cofftea said

LiberTEAS, I wouldn’t either- but I kept my mouth shut cuz I don’t like rooibos period lol.

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Lori said

Personally , I use demerera sugar for the taste. No particular health benefits really.

Cofftea- does Stevia taste like sugar or artificial sweetener?

Cofftea said

Lori, I’m a bad person to ask that question to. I taste absolutely no difference between granulated stevia, white sugar, and any artifical sweetener.

Kristin said

I personally think granulated stevia is bitter. It also seems to leave a white residue in the glass. But, I’ll still drink colas sweetened with Stevia as an alternative (Blue Sky and Zevia brand). There is a new product made from Stevia called Truvia. Truvia is basically stevia but processed to take out the bitter taste. I don’t know what the processing does to it or whether it tastes good. But anytime manufacturers like Coca-cola jump on board (as they have with Truvia), I get worried.

Cofftea said

Kristin, I guess I should specify that I use Truvia brand stevia:) I didn’t know that there are any sodas made w/ stevia, I learned something new!

I used to use demerara. I do think it tastes different (good) than white sugar by itself. I am trying a container of natural cane sugar this time.

Cofftea said

Chrine, that’s the reason I don’t use sweeteners at all. I used stevia once in Mayan Chocolate Chai and it ended up dumbing down the chocolate.

Garrett said

I’ve only ever had Truvia when it comes to stevia, does stevia typically have a bitter taste to it?

denisend said

Stevia (old school stevia, before the new processing methods that make things like Truvia) is AWFUL. People complain about the aftertaste of the fake sweeteners, and I can taste them but they aren’t overpowering to me. Stevia has an unbearable aftertaste (IMO).

I haven’t tried the newer processing methods. I’m curious, but I can’t keep my reaction to the word STEVIA out of my head, so I probably won’t. I haven’t had stevia in about 10 years and it still makes me gag.

wombatgirl said

Actually, while Truvia tastes better for some people – it still tastes nasty to some. raises hand I wanted to switch to it, but it just tastes icky to me.

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Glamorosi said

I use honey a lot – I collect different types from all over (different flowers, regions, seasons, etc.). I also like agave. On the rare occasions I use sugar it’s usually rock sugar.

Cofftea said

Have you tried tea infused honey?

Glamorosi said

No, I haven’t tried that yet Cofftea – do you use it?

Cofftea said

No, I really want to though- I just won’t have the $ for a couple months.

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I do not have a lot of positive things to say about stevia. I don’t like the aftertaste of it… it just leaves a real funky taste to anything I add it to, unless I add it in relatively small amounts and use it in combination with another sweetener. Example, I will add about one-third to one-half the amount of sugar I would normally use, and a small amount of stevia. This seems to offset the funky taste, and lowers the amount of sugar I would otherwise use.

The one thing I will say is that at least stevia does not make me sick the way aspartame does (I’m highly allergic to the stuff).

I prefer raw sugar to processed white sugar. I do notice a slightly different flavor to it… but it is not a profound difference. I prefer agave nectar (raw) to sugar. Although I did not hear that they are uncovering some troubling information when it comes to agave nectar, I hope it does not pan out because I really do like it.

I prefer honey to agave nectar or sugar… and again, I would choose raw honey, and locally harvested if I can find it. Unfortunately, honey is quite expensive, especially the raw stuff, because it’s harder to find. So I generally go with agave nectar.

I have tried other sweeteners as well – including brown sugar, molasses, and maple syrup. I found that these sweeteners tend to add some of their own flavor to the cup though, so I would choose these sweeteners only if it would benefit the tea that I’m drinking and not alter the flavor in a way I do not want.

I don’t care for artificial sweeteners of any kind… including Splenda.

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i’ve tried; torani syrups, honey (various flavors, creamed, raw, granular), agave nectar, maple syrup, white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, confectioners sugar, sweet and low, stevia, splenda, nutrasweet, jam, preserves, chocolate chips and other baking chips, cocoa nibs, coco mix….i am sure there are more

all in all i found honey, raw sugar, torani and jams to work best for me

Cofftea said

Granular honey? Interesting… never heard of it. Confectioners sugar? I’d think that’d just make a gross paste… I don’t consider chips and cocoa nibs sweeteners, more flavorings, because they give it rich decedence. Cocoa mix could be a sweetener… depending on how dark it is.

Neat! I’d never heard of granular honey. You learn something every day huh.

Cofftea said

I wonder how that would work in instant chai mix instead of sugar.

Harfatum said

Crystallized honey is popular in Korea, as I gather – Korean shops here in the US often have it for a reasonable price.

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When I sweeten my tea, I use German Rock Sugar in my infuser basket with my tea leaves. At only 25 calories per teaspoon…I only use 3-4 crystals, you can’t beat it.
I get mine from Teavana.

i adore those expensive little rocks, worth their price though

The last time I was at Teavana (we only have one in the area, and it is about 45 minutes away… and so, it’s a rare occasion that I actually get to go to that mall)… I bought some of the stir sticks with rock sugar on them – I got the pomegranate flavor. I used a couple in tea, but, the pomegranate flavor was lost. So I took to eating them like a sucker. Reminds me of when I was little and we’d go to Disneyland… one of my favorite candies from their main street candy store was their rock candy.

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Garrett said

I just bought some stevia to grow in my herb garden, so i’m gonna try and look into steeping the whole leaf to get things sweeter…

Cofftea said

52teas sells it. I’m tempted to buy some.

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