Teas That Don’t Need Sugar

Tate Lyle Demerara Sugar
Tate Lyle Demerara Sugar

I’m pretty open about not being a fan of sugar or milk in my tea, though I am happy to tell others if I think that a black tea is strong and substantial enough to handle these additions. Still, I would encourage you to try tea on its own, without sugar, both for the health benefits as well as being able to fully enjoy the subtle flavors of the tea. Here are a few suggestions for finding teas and tisanes that you may wish to start with as you eliminate sugar from your tea.

A Few Basic Guidelines & Tea Recommendations:

  • White, green, and oolong teas are seldom consumed with sugar. If black tea without sugar proves to be too much of a shock, try one of these other types of tea.
  • Flavored black teas can be great for transitioning from added sugar to no sugar.
  • If you normally drink Ceylon, Indian or African teas, try switching to Chinese black teas, which are often less assertive, have more complex flavors and are often naturally sweet. I’ve found that many tea-drinking novices really like black tea from Yunnan, as this tea can be quite smooth, spicy and slightly sweet on its own without sugar.
  • Start by drinking unsweetened black iced tea and eventually work up to unsweetened hot black tea.
  • Add a thin slice of lemon to your black tea (don’t add any milk, it will curdle). This should neutralize any bitterness and help you get used to the lack of sweetener.

Tisanes That Don’t Need Sugar:

  • Mint: Mint is naturally sweet and adding sugar to the tisane just blunts its cool, crisp notes. Try drinking mint tisane between meals to curb food cravings.
  • Rooibos and Honeybush: These plants grow in South Africa and each produces a rich, sweet beverage that doesn’t need added sweetening. Those with a more serious sweet tooth may prefer honeybush over rooibos, as honeybush is the sweeter of the two.

Naturally Sweet Tea Flavorings:

  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon is naturally sweet and absolutely delicious. In addition, there is some evidence that it can help control blood sugar.
  • Vanilla: Vanilla has a slight sweetness and a lovely flavor that can counteract bitterness and add sweetness to a tea. If drinking an unflavored tea “straight” is too much for you, try a vanilla flavored tea.

Don’t miss reading Lainie’s many tea reviews on this blog!

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10 thoughts on “Teas That Don’t Need Sugar

  1. Pingback: Rooibos tisane | Miamidadekidsd

  2. I’m with you on drinking most teas commando!

    Another herbal tisane that does not require sweetener is linden (lime, tilleul, tei). Leaves and flowers are steeped together to produce a naturally, gently sweet cup. Relaxing, too — nice in the evening. When I can get this fresh I like to add a handful to complement black or green tea, hot or iced. BTW when you refer to cinnamon do you mean the common stuff we get standard in USA (cassia) or the genuine stuff from Sri Lanka (zeylanicum)?

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  4. Bram

    To get rid of the sugar habit I started with drinking very sweet tea. In my case Ruhuna Orange Pekoe. Adding sugar makes it too sweet. It did not take long before I was rid of the habit.

    Although sometimes I still add sugar, but only if I have badly steeped low grade tea. For example in some café’s and there is no honey. (honey is another trick to get rid of the sugar and as a stepping stone to no addition at all)

  5. tsanat

    why should i change the way I drink tea bcs someone says its best enjoyed a certain way. I like my green tea with sugar and cardamon and milk. not your style but makes it a very enjoyable drink. makes tea drinkers seem like tea snobs

    1. Bram

      If you like it a certain way than please drink it as such and let no one force you to do otherwise.

      For me drinking tea without sugar was a no go, because it tasted awful according to my taste. After I got rid of the habit (addiction?) I can taste the richness of tea much better. So for me being able to drink and enjoy without sugar allowed me to step into a new big world of taste.

      But that’s personal.

      1. A.C. Cargill

        On this blog, at least, all opinions matter. We also adhere to the policy of “to each his own.” Having friends who are diabetic and a mother who died from it, I totally understand. Nice to know that some teas are just naturally sweet, plus many teas are lovely to drink without being sweet. Steep a little on the light side and sip and enjoy. 🙂

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