It never ceases to surprise me how many people apologize for wanting to put sugar in their tea, as if admitting a serious tea-drinking faux pas. I’ve always invited my guests to do what makes them comfortable and to drink their tea in any fashion they feel most pleasing. Still, I get meek apologies as if they feel that sugar in tea is just plain wrong. It got me thinking, is sweetening one’s tea a low-brow act of tasteless vulgarity?
Asian cultures traditionally drink their tea without any additives, yet the British are fond of sugar, milk and lemon! Traditionally, Russian Tea has a cube of sugar. In India, chai is sweetened by milk and honey and in Arab nations, Moroccan Mint Tea has quite a lot of sugar. So why then should Americans, who have a renowned appetite for sugar, feel apologetic when asking if it’s alright that they add sugar?
Quite often, a touch of sweetness brings out the taste of the tea. Yet, understandably, sugar is not a health food. There are many reasons to stay away from sugar (especially refined sugar).
You may want to explore some alternatives. The most obvious is honey (and all different types at that). Reported to have antimicrobial & antibacterial qualities and also good for soothing sore throats, this natural fruit sugar works with your body to increase energy and immunity.
Then there is Agave Nectar, which I have been using with much satisfaction as of late. I like that it does not crystallize and is easier to use. This natural sweetner is slowly becoming more readily available in local supermarkets as it gains popularity.
Another natural sweetner alternative is stevia. Stevia is a plant with very sweet leaves. Occasionally, you will find that stevia is used by many tea manufacturers to sweeten their blends. If not, either mix it in with your loose tea or find powdered versions at your natural health food store – but don’t use too much! This stuff is 30x sweeter than regular sugar!
No matter how you like your tea, never be afraid to enjoy it the way you like it most!
For more great articles, check out Madam Potts’ blog, Mad Pots of Tea!
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