While drinking tea on its own is easily the healthiest way to take your daily cup, sometimes we just have to give in to our sweet tooth. In this article, we will be exploring 3 unique ways to sweeten your cup of tea without having to resort to plain old sugar or harmful artificial sweeteners. While they may have a few calories tacked on them, they can help enhance and liven the tea drinking experience when used properly, and in moderation.
This is considered by many historians to be the original sweetener. Made naturally by honey bees from flower pollens, this has been the main sweetener used by humans since ancient times up until the discovery of mass produced, refined sugar. When added to tea, it can create a rich and complex experience in the cup, owing to honey’s own natural complexity of flavour.
It can be easy to go overboard with honey as a sweetener. It is by no means neutral in flavour, and oftentimes the flavour of honey can be overpowering in the cup. Your best bet is to slowly add the honey one drop at a time until you find the amount that works for you. After you are able to pinpoint the exact amount that you like in your cup of tea, you can add that amount every time you brew a cup. To get the honey to properly absorb into your hot tea, be sure to stir it for a few seconds to make sure it is thoroughly mixed. After stirring, your tea will be ready to enjoy.
Honey goes particular well with green and herbal teas. The rich and deep honey notes pair perfectly with the lighter, fruitier, and grassier notes of herbal and green teas and make for a delightful pairing. When you enjoy honey in your tea, you are enjoying the most traditional sweetener in human history, in a way that is undoubtedly healthier than refined sugar.
You may have heard about many people doing this with coffee, but unfortunately, not many people have tried this out with their tea. Irish cream and coffee are a natural mix (not unlike apples and cinnamon), but what about irish cream and tea? Better still, what about triple sec? With so many different kinds of flavored and sweetened spirits out there, the possibilities are seemingly endless (just be sure to enjoy responsibly).
One of our personal favourites is pairing a rich english breakfast tea with a citrus liqueur like triple sec or curacao. The sweetness of the liqueur enriches the flavour experience and deepens the tea’s body, and the orange citrus notes add an acidic brightness to the aroma and palate.
Adding liqueur to your tea is a creative and interesting way to liven your tea experience. Alcohol and tea also make an interesting combination to serve when hosting guests; it can be served as the go-to after dinner cocktail.
- Maple Syrup
The most patriotic sweetener of the three. Maple syrup is a great way to sweeten your favourite teas, and it pairs exceptionally well with black tea varieties. When buying maple syrup (whether its for your tea or for your breakfast), make sure it’s real maple syrup, and made in Canada. Artificial maple syrups have flavorings and corn sweeteners that aren’t as healthy as the real thing. Also, it simply doesn’t taste as good. Nothing comes close to the taste of real maple syrup, and even though it costs more, it is well worth every penny.
When you’re in the grocery store looking for a bottle of maple syrup, be sure to check the label for “Made in Canada.” Buying Canadian helps to support your local Canadian maple growers and is a small act of patriotism that has real benefits for the country.
Just like honey, it’s important to remember that maple syrup is not a neutral sweetener. It will add maple flavor to anything you add it to. For this reason, pairing maple syrup with the right tea is very important. It takes trial and error to find what works best for you, but our favourite tea to sweeten with Maple Syrup is Assam. The robust and astringent assam goes perfectly with the woody maple flavours and we highly recommend trying it out.