Do you sweeten your tea? Back in the days of my adventures with Char, she always had a bowl of proper sugar cubes close by. I remember when a much younger Kat used to sneak a cube out of the bowl and let it secretly dissolve in her mouth when no one was looking! I’ve noticed these days when Kat does sweeten her tea, she sometimes uses other forms of sweetener. When I asked her about it, she says her friends all use different kinds of sweeteners for their tea, and she likes to have a few different types in the kitchen in case one of them drops by. See, deep down she’s just as proper as her great-grandmother.
Here are some of the sweeteners I’ve spied in the kitchen recently:
Honey- of course honey is a classic pairing with tea. You can get so many different types of honey these days, and they all taste a little bit different. I once travelled to the farm market with Kat where I saw her taste all sorts of different varieties. She was particularly fond of a spring wildflower honey. The floral notes are lovely with oolong tea.
Coconut sugar- This one appears to be a popular sweetener among Kat’s friends. It’s also called coconut palm sugar. It’s made from the sap of coconut trees, and not the actual coconuts. It is similar in flavor to brown sugar.
Agave Nectar- similar to honey but thinner and even sweeter. Made from the agave plant, you only need a few drops of this sweet stuff to sweeten your tea. It has a very clean sweetness, without any noticeable strong flavors to conflict with your tea.
Maple Sugar- syrup or granulated, this sweetener is tasty but also has the added maple flavor. Nice if you are looking to add extra flavor with your sweetness. I like the idea of adding it to a vanilla or pumpkin-pie spiced tea!
Stevia- this sweetener is derived from a plant related to daisy and ragweed. I love the image of a leafy sweetener floating in tea. You can grow it in your garden, but usually it’s seen in powder or liquid form. It is very sweet, with a bit of licorice flavor, and you only need a small amount compared to regular cane sugar.
Artificial sweeteners- of course, there are lots of these out there and they are very easy to find. They all have slightly different ingredients and flavors. Some are known to have a bit of an aftertaste, so you should find out which one your guest prefers before serving them.
I must admit, my favorite is still the old fashioned sugar cube. It reminds me of younger days when everyone used cups and saucers for their tea. What sweeteners do you use? Do you pair them with a particular type of tea? Do you keep any in the house for your guests?