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sugar

Tea Recipes

Tea Sweeteners You Can Use To Make Your Next Tea That Much MoreDelicious

June 27, 2022

Every cup of tea is unique — just like the person enjoying it. We all have specific ways to enjoy our favorite brew, but sometimes it’s good to mix it up a little. The next time you reach for your favorite leaves, consider trying a new type of sweetener than your favorite go-to. After all,  no two sweeteners are alike, with different additions often offering a rich and delicious, more nuanced taste to your favorite tea blends. Below, we’re discussing five of the most popular ways to sweeten tea below and covering the health benefits and taste profiles of each. 

What is the healthiest way to use tea sweeteners?

This question is entirely subjective and depends on the user’s health goals. The best way to sweeten your tea is to consider if you’re looking for a sugar substitute. Those who have diabetes may be interested in such an option or those trying to lose weight. If so, you may consider safe plant-based alternatives that aren’t as glycemic all demanding. 

If not, you might consider a more organic or whole food alternative to traditionally bleached table sugar. You also may benefit from reviewing the six main types of teas and flavor profiles that you’re looking for and experimenting with different sweeteners across your favorite blends.  Dietary goal setting is your first step to help you determine what the healthiest way to sweeten tea is for your unique physical needs. 

Below, we’ve outlined some of the top tea sweeteners that you can enjoy for your next cup of tea: 

1. Raw sugar 

What is the difference between raw sugar and table sugar? Fundamentally, they come from the same source. The only difference between raw and regular sugar is the refinement process. There is no proven health benefit to either one besides acting as an additional form of energy. Raw sugar is slightly less refined and maintains certain levels of molasses in its final form. With traditional table sugar, you will not see any of the molasses content, and it will often go through an additional bleaching or refinement process. Raw and traditional sugar make delicious additions to your favorite teas, often pairing well with high-quality loose leaf green tea with it’s lighter, grassier flavors. 

2. Agave 

Agave does not come from sugarcane, instead sourced from the agave plant. It is as refined as sugar but is made of fructose instead of sucrose. This allows it to have a lower glycemic index while still offering double or triple the sweetness of traditional table sugar. This powerful sweetness also means that you can use less over time, which is a cost-effective benefit that you can enjoy. You can also use your agave outside of tea time as a naturally-sourced sweetener for your next amazing tea infused brownie recipe (or dessert of choice!) 

3. Honey 

Honey has long been associated with tea time, with its rich, golden stream and botanical flavors to enjoy. Honey is unique because it will take on different flavors based on whatever plants the bees have recently pollinated. This is why regional honey often has different tastes depending on where you travel. Honey is a fantastic inclusion to any tea blend of choice, tasting particularly delicious against the bold palettes of black caffeinated blends. However, while honey offers a deliciously scented, warm addition to your favorite cup of tea, it is incredibly high in glucose and is not considered vegan. These are essential considerations to take for more conscientious tea drinkers. 

4. Stevia 

Stevia has risen in popularity over the years, becoming a popular “sugar-free” option to enjoy in your favorite teas, drinks, and desserts. Stevia is harvested from plants in the chrysanthemum family, giving it a more deep, floral taste than traditional sugars. Before its rise in popularity in America, it was a favorite in South America and the Asian islands. While it comes in many forms, the FDA currently has only approved the crystallized form available at grocery stores for safe ingestion. Additional studies will continue to be done on the effect of pure leaves used for edible purposes. Stevia is safe for diabetic patients as it promotes lower blood sugar levels than traditional sugar. 

5. Maple Syrup 

While this is untraditional, maple syrup can give any of your favorite fall teas a delicious, earthy flavor. Depending on how you source your maple syrup, you may enjoy additional health benefits along with its unique and deep flavor profile. This sweetener can be used seamlessly in virtually any tea blend of choice and adds an infusion of “fall” into every cup. You can also use it interchangeably with sugar in your favorite tea time recipe or dessert. 

Tea Gifts

Tea Favors For Baby Showers

July 25, 2017

If your best friend is talking about having babies anytime soon, get ready, because you’ll be planning a baby shower in the near future. And that includes choosing a cute party favor for guests to take home. We’re biased, but tea-based favors are the way to go!  Here are a few adorable options that will make any baby shower an affair to remember:

1) A Baby is Brewing Loose Leaf Tea

A Baby is Brewing Loose Leaf Tea

These tea tins from Idea Chic are an adorable favor to gift your shower guests. Available in blue or pink, these tins come filled with decaffeinated Fruit Mint tea. Yum!

2) Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice Sugar Bowls

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice Sugar Bowls

These sugar bowls from Beaucoup are a cute party favor if the mom-to-be has a baby girl in the oven. Your guests will enjoy sweetening their coffee and tea at home with these bowls, remembering that little girls can be sweet as pie—a great reminder when they’re not being so sweet!

3) It’s About Time Teapot Timer

It's About Time Teapot Timer

These teapot-shaped timers from Beaucoup are great favor for a mom who’s about to pop, and a useful toy to have on hand for baby shower games. The timers can count down from 1 to 60 minutes, and are a useful gadget for guests to take home, like when the kids won’t share and you have to set a timer!

4) A Cup of Tea with the Mom-to-Be Tea Jars

A Cup of Tea with the Mom-to-Be Tea Jars

These tea jars from The Tea Wagon are a great gift when Mom and Dad are keeping it old school and letting their baby’s gender be a surprise. Each tin holds about 3-5 servings of loose leaf tea, and come in a variety of flavors, including: Lavender Earl Grey, Peppermint Green, Strawberry Rhubarb, Caramel Apple, and Blueberry Burst.

5) Flavored Sugar Cubes

Flavored Sugar Cubes

Treat your baby shower guests to tea with a pop of color and extra flavor with these flavored sugar cubes from Beaucoup. Make them available during the party or as a flavorful gift to enjoy at home. Varieties include: lavender purple, lemon yellow, mint green, raspberry blue, and rose pink.

6) Bath Tea Soaps

Bath Tea Soaps

Treat your baby shower guests to a relaxing, tea-infused bath with these tea soaps from The Soaking Tub. Basically tea bags for bath time, these tea-infused soaps come in a muslin bag that you simply place under the running faucet in your bathtub. The tea leaves will stay in the bag, but the leaf’s benefits will push through the bag to infuse your bath with lovely scents, colors, and relaxing properties. Chamomile, lavender, spearmint, rosemary, juniper and rose petals will make bath time something to look forward to, and the bags are reusable!

7) Personalized Mason Jars

Personalized Mason Jars

These mason jars from Beaucoup offer guests an on-trend glass to take home and use for drinks, storage, or as a memento. An array of designs are available, including baby feet, elephants, a teddy bear, and a stork.  Cute!

8) Personalized Tea Bags

Personalized Tea Bags

These tea bags from I Heart Details are a classy, simple favor to gift your shower attendees. These tea bags are available in black or green tea, and include a personalized name and date to commemorate your special event.

 

Tea History & Culture

How Taking Tea Sans Sugar Meant Opposing Slavery

January 26, 2017

Today, sprinkling a spoonful of sugar into your tea doesn’t say much about your views on human trafficking. But in the late 18th century in England, it did.

In 1791, about 400,000 Brits boycotted slave-made sugar from the West Indies as a protest against slavery and Great Britain’s failure to pass a bill abolishing the slave trade. Drinking tea was a hugely important social custom in England, and with the sugar boycott, it became a political one. As NPR put it, the sweet condiment “came to epitomize the evils of slavery.”

Great Britain benefitted economically from slavery, with slaves on plantations in the West Indies pumping out valuable trading goods like sugar, which also drove consumerism in England. The Empire also profited from the slave trade, trafficking more than 3 million Africans across the Atlantic Ocean between 1700 and 1810.

To abolitionists, this was morally abhorrent and had to end.  The sugar boycott provided the average British citizen with one way to not only advocate for the end of slavery, but to put a dent in the economic influence that slavery had on their Empire.

Printer William Fox started the boycott by publishing a pamphlet titled An Address to the People of Great Britain on the Utility of Refraining from the Use of West India Sugar and Rum.

That long titled boiled down to one main takeaway: every time you add sugar to your tea, you’re supporting slave labor. For those against slavery, opting out of sugar was a simple way to communicate a political and moral position on the hotly debated issue. Fox’s pamphlet surpassed Thomas Paine’s American Revolution-inspiring Common Sense as the most distributed pamphlet of the century.

According to the BBC, the boycott certainly made an impact: sugar sales plummeted by a third to a half, and hundreds of thousands signed petitions calling on the British Empire to outlaw the slave trade. As BBC put it, the boycott “is one of the earliest examples of consumers using their purchasing power to reject the trade in goods which have not been ethically produced.”

To meet tea-drinkers’ sugar fix, grocers started stocking sugar from the East Indies, where sugar production didn’t rely on slave labor.

At home, people made sure to let their tea party guests know where their sugar came from. Sugar bowls like the one below added the label “not made by slave labor” to assuage guests’ concerns about a host’s ethical or political stance.

Today, Fair Trade, non-GMO Project, or Organic labels aim to both help consumers make informed choices and communicate those choices to others.

Some British citizens responded to the sugar boycott by switching to green tea, a beverage that didn’t call for sugar the same way black tea might to some palettes.

The sugar boycott lost its mojo as time went on—particularly as Brits saw the violence endured by French citizens for resisted the monarchy—but Great Britain did eventually abolish the trade of slaves in the British Empire in 1807. To incentivize Brits to follow the new law, the government threatened to fine ship owners a steep £100 for every slave found on British ships. Although the slave trade was now illegal, slavery itself remained legal 1833, when the British Empire abolished the practice in all its territories.

Be aware of what you put in your tea cup.  As history has proven, it may have a large impact.