There are many types of tea drinkers. Some tea drinkers are strict purists who only want the best.
Many others enjoy adding citrus, sweeteners, milk, or other flavours to their brew. Many ingredients add more flavour and texture to your brew, as well as extra nutrients.
These are the best tea add-ins (and which tea to pair them) to make your cup more delicious and nutritious.
Green or black teas will pair well with lemon. The acidity of lemon helps to reduce green tea’s natural bitterness and brighten black tea’s roasty flavours.
It can also enhance flavour without adding calories or too much sugar. According to USDA nutrition data, a single lemon wedge has just 1 calorie and 0.01 grams of sugar.
Researchers have shown that eating lemon with a starchy meal can also help control blood sugar levels. Participants who consumed lemon juice with a few slices of bread had a slower rise in blood glucose and a lower peak. This meant that their blood sugar levels remained stable for longer periods. The same effect was not seen in those who consumed plain water or black coffee.
The study subjects had to drink a full cup of lemon juice, which is much more than what you would add to a cup of tea. Although you won’t feel the same effects as the study subjects, the added acidity might help with blood sugar.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects cells from damage and combats inflammation. Lemon juice is a great source of Vitamin C.
Honey is more than just a sweetener. Honey is also antimicrobial, antioxidant, and a prebiotic. This means it helps to feed good bacteria in your gut. These properties could help support a healthy immune response.
A tablespoon of honey has approximately 65 calories and 17g of sugar. Different honey types may not trigger the same blood sugar response. Raw honey does not trigger blood sugar spikes due to its low glycemic index. Raw honey’s complex chemical composition may explain this difference to white sugar and other plant compounds such as flavonoids and polyphenols.
Numerous studies have shown honey to be an excellent sugar substitute, even for people with diabetes. Regular substitution has been shown to reduce fasting glucose levels and support healthy cholesterol levels.
In the United States alone, there are over 300 types of honey. Each honey variety’s taste is determined by the environment and the flowers that honey bees frequent. Your tea may have floral notes from honey. Orange blossom, for example, can impart a touch of citrus.
Honey goes well with green or black tea but can overpower delicate white teas. You can try different types to find the one you love best.
Many tea drinkers should have Earl Grey or English Breakfast Tea with a little milk. The creaminess of milk is a nice complement to the roast, caramel-like flavor profile of black tea.
Some studies have shown that teas made with dairy milk may lose some of their antioxidant activity.
Researchers discovered that casein, a specific milk protein, was responsible for binding to and reducing the effects of tea catechins. Plant-based kinds of milk can be used to solve this problem.
Soy milk has a similar nutritional profile as dairy milk. Coconut milk and oat milk are good choices due to their creamier texture. Almond and rice milk are also options.
To avoid adding sugar, make sure you only buy unsweetened versions.
Warm spices are great for herbal tea blends. They also go well with mellow black or oolongs. This is the case with Chai tea, which is made from black tea leaves, ginger and cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, and star anise and pepper.
Fresh ginger, which is rich in antioxidants, has reduced inflammation markers in animals and humans. Ginger tea can help with digestion and nausea. The combination of ginger, honey, and lemon in chamomile tea has been used for years to treat common cold symptoms like a sore throat or scratchy throat.
Ginger can be used with many tea types, or it can be used all by itself. Infusing ginger is easy. You can either brew about one inch of freshly peeled ginger root with your loose leaf tea or add grated ginger into your infuser.
Similar antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are found in cinnamon. Cinnamon’s ability to lower blood sugar by stimulating insulin release is one of its most lauded attributes (although most studies were conducted in animals).
However, adding a cinnamon stick or two to your tea leaves can add some spice and increase the antioxidants.
You can add fruit to your tea to give it a taste.
Dried apples are a great option for black tea on cold days and go well with the warming spices. Add fresh blueberries or seasonal raspberries to the water to make iced white tea refreshing and cool in the summer. Iced green or black tea is also good with peaches.
Mixing in some juice or puree can add flavour to fresh fruit. This will increase the sugar content and add vitamins and minerals. Avoid extracts as they can give off an artificial, overwhelming flavour.
Although you are familiar with herbal teas, adding fresh herbs to your tea leaves can enhance the flavour and reduce the sweetness.
Lighter teas are good for herbs like rosemary, mint, lemon verbena, and rose hips. Most herbs will pair well with white or green tea. Iced black tea, which is more robust than its green counterpart, is a great choice.
Herbs can lose their flavour and develop unpleasant aftertastes if they are overcooked. This is why it is best to add herbs while your tea is steeping to ensure a gentle infusion. For fresh herbs, use 1 teaspoon of tea per cup; you can use as much as 3 teaspoons for dried herbs.
You can also extract some plant oils by gently crushing or tearing fresh herbs. This is what gives the herbs their flavour and aroma.
Tea is delicious and has many health benefits. However, you can add some ingredients to enhance your tea’s flavour, acidity, and sweetness. Try out all the options to find the one that suits your palate.