Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Tea - Why I Don't Sugar My Tea Most Of The Time

(pic credit: http://www.howstuffworks.com/innovation/edible-innovations/tea.htm)

Because I'm hardcore. Or because I'm addicted.

But seriously...

(pic credit: http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/diet-fitness/diets/green-tea-diet.htm)

Most of the time, I drink tea that doesn't need sugar. I drink a lot of Oolong, my favorite tea, or green tea, and while Oolong can handle some sweetness, it's totally not necessary. And I'm pretty sure it's a criminal offence to sugar green tea unless it's one of those delicious instant mixes that only tangentially count as "tea".

But here's the thing: I also don't sugar the black tea I drink most of the time.

There's several reasons for this:

  1. I'm lazy, most of the time. The fact that I actually boil the water in one container (the kettle) and then pour it into another (the teapot) is a pretty big deal in and of itself.
  2. I've been drinking tea for a really long time. Because of this, I'm both used to the natural flavor, and sort of in love with it, and I don't need to add anything to it to cover it up or change it.
  3. I'm concerned about the health benefits. Tea is really good for you. It's packed with antioxidants, it has trace minerals and amino acids, it's antiseptic, it helps control hunger, it's good for when you're feeling blue and when you're not, it's totally and naturally calorie free--but if you add sugar, it's no longer antiseptic, it's got calories you don't need, it messes with your blood-sugar balance, it makes you crave more sugar...It's just not as great anymore.
  4. Tea these days just doesn't need sugar, I feel. 
See, back in the day, the quality of the tea could be pretty lousy if you weren't in a tea-drinking society or if you were poor, and you'd need sugar to cover that up. And back when I was a kid living in the UK without a taste for it yet, it took a lot of sugar and milk to make it palatable. But now I'm adult, with adult tastebuds and more that a little bit of food-snobbery refining them, and there's so very many fancy and high-quality teas available. Even the basic teas, the ones meant for ice tea making or the ones meant for just day-to-day mass consumption, are better quality and more various than they used to be a lot of the time, and there just isn't, in my cup or in my tongue, that acrid bitterness there used to be.

Which means, most of the time, I don't sugar my tea.

There are exceptions, of course. Ice tea made at home and in the middle of the summer should be very dark and pretty sweet. If I'm going British-style, I'll sugar and milk a good strong black tea. If I'm away from home and have no choice but really old or really cheap tea or nothing, I'll pick cheap old tea and sugar, any day. Sometimes, the highly-flavored teas you can get from, say, Adagio or Teavana are better and more balanced with just a little bit of sugar.

But for day-to-day consumption? Not needed.

How about you? What're your views on sugar in tea?

(pic credit: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/black%20tea from Winter's Daughter)
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