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Tea lovers have so many choices when it comes to sweetening their tea. Whether you enjoy it hot or cold, you need to first consider what you want to taste, the sweetener or the tea. I personally prefer my tea unsweetened, but that was not always the case. There are many teas out there that have added flavors to them such as fruits, herbs and spices. When you add just a bit of sweetener to these types of tea blends, the highlights and notes of the added flavors can really come out and enhance the overall taste and makes the tea taste better. It is a wise idea to always begin with a small amount of sweetener, and then add more if desired. Here are a few ways to make your tea experience all the sweeter (See what I did there?):
Sugar/Sugar cubes: You can use regular white granulated sugar or raw sugar to sweeten your tea. If you are hosting a tea party or a tea event and have a formal table set up, I suggest you use sugar cubes. They just look more “partyish” and they make less of a mess.
Honey: There are several varieties of honey out there and when I do add honey to my tea, I use an organic, light flavored one. If you use only a dab, it generally will not interfere with the delicate taste of the tea. I do tend to use honey, as well as lemon in my herbal teas especially when I have a cold or a sore throat. It is very soothing.
Agave: Agave means cactus and that is where they find this sweet syrup substance. I think agave has an almost caramel taste to it, especially the amber-color agave versus the light agave which has a more neutral taste. This is a high-fructose sweetener and it dissolves easily in hot and cold teas. Use it cautiously as it is one and a half times sweeter than regular granulated sugar.
Simple Syrup: This simple homemade syrup does require a little bit of work, but it is easy to make, and if time permits, you will be happy you did. All you need to do is add a cup of sugar and a cup of really hot water in a saucepan and stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. It is a good idea to add a few drops of lemon juice to help prevent crystallization. If you are an avid (or even the occasional) iced tea drinker, this is a good method to sweeten your tea. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Stevia: This is a zero calorie sweetener that is plant based and is ten (yes, I said 10) times sweeter than sugar. It comes in a powdered form as well as a liquid. Again, I recommend only adding one or two drops to begin with and add more if you still want it a little sweeter. Stevia is probably the healthiest choice to sweeten your tea. Some people say that when they add stevia to their tea, they notice an aftertaste that is similar to black licorice. But remember, everyone’s taste is different.