You're looking for a tea that tastes great on its own, with no sugar added ? Well, you're in luck because there's quite a few tea types out there that will taste sweet, without sugar.
Their sweet taste is often because of a sweet aftertaste, and you will find many teas that can provide you with this kind of experience. It's just that many are not immediately obvious.
Today we're delving into teas that are almost always whole leaf, but are not hard to find if you walk into a self-respecting tea house.
Onto the tea types, then.
1. Green teas blended with floral notes do not need sugar
You might balk at this, especially if you've had green tea before. This is true, green teas can be sweet. you will need a lightly processed green tea, and you will need to be careful with how you brew your green tea. I'll help you with that.
So green tea needs an 80 C/176 F water to steep in, for 2-3 minutes. Steeping it for a longer time or in hotter water will often result in a bitter green tea, often not even green looking.
Then again the color of your green tea is affected by many things, so it's best not to judge by color.
If you brew your green tea correctly, is should be only mildly astringent and bitter, but not enough to be a bother. And if you get a floral green tea, you might be very surprised at how sweet it can be.
This is because most floral teas smell sweet, and smell does affect your taste. If you smell a rose and it's very musky and smokey, it will taste much like that.
Which is why I wholly recommend you sniff out the green teas before buying them. If the vendor won't let you smell them, move on because that's not really good customer care. There are always tester tea pouches they can let you smell and see.
So if you're looking for a floral green tea, which would be great ?
Well, this depends on each person's preference. In my opinion, roses smell wonderful on their own, they can be overpowering in a perfume, and taste too perfume-y in a drink or jam.
Jasmine and lavender can be slightly bitter, but steeping them very lightly will give you just the aroma. I think green tea with jasmine is wonderful on its own, and adding a bit of lemon zest turns it into an instant summer drink.
Cornflower and sunflower petals work great with green tea as well, and they give your tea a flowery taste without feeling like you're drinking air freshener.
Honeysuckle, if you even find a green tea blended with it, would be another great option as well. As would melissa, even if it's rather a herb than a flower.
Orange flower is another beautiful option, since it will bring a citrusy feel without the acidic nature of orange peel. Same goes for cherry blossoms.
So go out, find yourself a few nice green teas blended with flower petals, and smell them all out. If in doubt, get a few of them and try them out. Or, ask the vendor for a recommendation.
As a sort of tip, the second time you steep green tea leaves you will get absolutely no bitterness. The tannins are extracted in the first steeping, and your second cup will be lighter, but only aromatic and not bitter at all.
Here's a great floral green tea you'll love, a jasmine pearl green tea.
It's from The Republic of Tea, and it comes in a nice tin but it's still loose leaf. Well, rolled into tiny little balls, as jasmine green tea usually is.
The total amount of tea is 3.5 oz/100 grams, and is says it can serve about 50 cups of tea. maybe a little more or less, depending on how much tea you're using for each cup.
Please remember that this is still green tea, even though it'll taste like jasmine flowers smell. So be careful to not oversteep them.
2. White teas are meant to be drunk without sugar
Now we come to white teas, which are very often simple teas. They're not nearly as astringent as green tea, and have almost no bitterness. This is because white tea is made of the much younger tea plant parts, the buds and the young spears.
These often still retain their fine silver hairs, and the versions of white tea that manage that are very prized teas.
White tea taste much more delicate than a green tea and this allows some very flowery notes to appear. Of course, some white teas will give you more flowery, subtle notes like the White Peony white tea, with a slightly nutty aftertaste.
And then there is the Tribute Eyebrow white tea, with a rather fruitier flavor and a bolder taste than the White Peony.
Now, if you've never really had white tea it will seem very bland at first. Do not worry, that's normal if you have lots of experience in drinking regular, fruity teas with some sugar added.
Once you do get used to the subtle taste of a white tea, you'll notice it's actually a very pleasant, floral tea and will give you much to think about.
Again, this is all with absolutely no sugar added. You can also find the brewing method for white tea here.
It comes in a nice tin, and is made up of 50 quality un-bleached tea bags.
It's a rare version of white tea, and the buds used for this tea are only picked on two days of the whole year. This results in high demand but low yield, meaning this kind of tea's one of the best regarded on the market.
Expect a subtle but distinct flavor, and only drink this tea on a clean palate. As in, do not eat or drink anything very flavorful or spicy or salty or sweet before this tea, or you risk masking some of the flavor.
3. Rooibos teas are sweet on their own
Rooibos teas are a bit of a curiosity. They're not 'true' teas, rather they're a herbal sort of tea. This means that it does not come from the Camellia sinensis plant, but from a shrub in the south of Africa.
Sometimes you might find it under rooibos, or listed under red tea. Always make sure you get a clear answer from the vendor, since red tea is sometimes a version of black tea, especially in Asia.
Rooibos teas are naturally sweet. The shrub itself produces a sweet flavor, and the way the herb is processed enhances that flavor.
So if you're using rooibos tea then you won't need to add any kind of sugar. This is a noticeably sweet tea, compared to every other tea type on this list.
And of course, if you get a rooibos blended with vanilla, or cinnamon, or cocoa shells, or another kind of ingredient that leaves a sweet aftertaste, then your cup will taste amazing.
My personal favorite is a rooibos cocoa blend, and it's something that you will only find in specialty shops. But simple rooibos is easy enough to find, and cocoa shells are easy to find as well. You can simply make your own at home.
What I wouldn't recommend though is to add citrus or very strong fruits, since they would not go well at all with this kind of tea.
Here's an example of the kind of rooibos I was talking about. It's a cinnamon and vanilla flavored rooibos blend, from The Republic of Tea.
You can find the listing on Amazon here.
The tea is on the very delicious side of blended tea, and it's going to go exceptionally well with any milk you put in it.
It comes in teabags, and you get 36 of them in a very beautiful and colorful tin that's going to keep everything fresh. each teabag steeps one flavorful and full cup of tea.
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4. Some oolong teas are great without sugar
When it comes to oolong teas, these are hard to explain in just one sentence. In short, oolong teas are the wide spectrum of tea between green and black tea. But they're so much more as well.
However, getting yourself a cup of light oolong will bring you closer to the green tea taste, but not as grassy a taste. It's also not as bitter as green tea, even if it's a lighter tea.
A light oolong will often have a floral flavor as well, but you can find different variations. You see, oolong teas can be coaxed in several directions, depending on what the tea master is trying to achieve.
Some light oolongs can be fruity, others can be floral with a nutty aftertaste, some might even seem spicy. So you'll have to ask the vendor for a clear explanation of the flavor profile of the oolong you mean to purchase. Or inspect the label on the tea if there are notes.
The clearest winner though is the milky oolong. This is a kind of oolong that's going to give you a buttery, milky taste in your cup and no, you should not add actual milk to it. I did once, and I was upset with the result.
The milk flavor is great enough on its own. It comes from the way the leaves are processed and how much they're left to ferment, and also the type of leaves used has a penchant for developing this kind of flavor.
Another type of oolong you might enjoy without sugar is the Jasmine Pearls variety. This is very green oolong, so do not leave it to steep for too long. And it's infused with a jasmine scent while the leaves are processed.
Keep in mind that oolong teas are rolled or twisted, and the leaves used are much larger than the usual ones in green tea or black tea. So when you do brew a cup, you should allow them plenty of room to unfurl.
This tea is a loose leaf tea, and it comes in a 3.5 oz/100 gr tin. It can brew about 50 cups of tea, maybe more or less, depending on how much tea you use for each cup.
Remember that while this is a Milky Oolong, it does not take milk at all. You'd be ruining the flavor by adding any milk at all, since there's a bit of astringency left in this tea.
Recommended post : How To Drink Black Tea
5. Some herbal teas, the floral ones most often
Herbal teas are many shades, and of many flavors. As many as there are flowers and herbs and spices out there. So a tea that's going to taste good without sugar is not going to be hard to find, but you have a wide palette to choose from and that can get exhausting.
As a general guideline, with hot teas fruity and citrusy teas won't do very well. They taste amazing as iced teas though, so keep them close in the summer.
Flowery teas are a better option for hot teas, like hibiscus, cherry blossom, orange blossom, jasmine, rose even if you like the taste of roses.
Just keep in mind that you will get a very different experience than with 'true' teas.
This tea is completely floral, made up of : hibiscus, raspberry flavoring, rosehip peels, apples, rose flavoring, vanilla flavoring, rose petals, and stevia.
That's a whole loot of sweet and floral notes going on, so you won't really need to add anything. If you're wondering about the stevia, there's very little added but they had to include it as an ingredient.
The tin itself is really pretty, and contains 36 unbleached teabags, so you get 36 cups of tea with this pack.
Give yourself time to get used to tea without sugar
When you try out new teas, you might be a bit surprised at the differences. So give yourself time to adjust to the new taste, since it will be quite a bit of a change.
At first you might feel overwhelmed by the lack of sugar, and how vegetal your tea will taste. That's actually not a problem, and soon enough you'll be able to single out different notes in your tea that you will actually enjoy.
Resist the temptation to add sugar to your tea. You'll only take a step back, of you were trying to rid yourself of the habit.
If you cannot drink the tea with no sugar at all, add honeycomb instead. This will ensure that the honey you get is pure, and hasn't been contaminated by anything. The beeswax in the comb is safe to eat.
When you're looking for a beautiful tea to drink without sugar, keep in mind that there are many options out there. Rooibos is always a safe bet, but there are others too.
Give yourself leave to try out several teas and see which you would like the most. And give yourself time too, since this is something that might take some adjusting on your part.
There are some teas I can't drink without sugar either. Black teas, for example, haven't been mentioned in this article at all. This is because there is no black tea that I think would be great without sugar, unless you're a black coffee person and can handle the malty taste.
I know most people aren't so this article is geared towards them. I hope I managed to help you out as well.
If you want to know more about coffee or tea, feel free to check the related articles below. Who knows what else you might find ?