Sweeteners For Your tea

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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?

DIY Sugar Cubes

There’s nothing that makes my porcelain heart swoon more than the sight of proper sugar cubes in a proper sugar bowl during tea service! And while they might feel like an extravagance, I’m here to let you in on a little secret: You can make your own sugar cubes for a fraction of the cost of what you’ll find them for at the market!

Make your own sugar cubes

What you’ll need:

Sugar (White granules or brown sugar are best)
Water
Bread loaf pan
Parchment paper (not wax paper!)
Small mixing bowl
Fork
Flat surfaced utensil, such as a spatula

Measure 1 cup sugar into the mixing bowl. Add 3 teaspoons of water. Mix thoroughly with a fork. Line the bread loaf pan with parchment paper. Pour sugar mixture into pan and press firmly and evenly into the pan with the spatula. Once pressed flat, score the sugar into cubes using a knife. This will allow you to cut the final cubes more neatly and evenly.

Put into oven that is pre-heated to 250 F and bake for 1 hour.

Allow the sugar to cool for at least 10 minutes.

Remove the sugar from the pan and use a large knife to finish cutting the sugar into cubes using the scored lines as your guide. The resulting cubes can be stored in an airtight container for a year or more!

When it’s time for tea, fill your sugar bowl with some of your hand crafted sugar cubes, bring out the sugar tongs, and you’re ready for an elegant tea experience.

The only question now is, “One lump or two?”