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Nothing quite hits the spot like a cup of hot or iced tea. What are you supposed to do when your drink just isn’t sweet or flavorful enough, though? Don’t dump out your old cup of tea quite yet—we’re here to top you off with plenty of delicious tea sweeteners and flavor enhancers. With a quick stir of your spoon, you can easily take your tea to the next level.
Things You Should Know
1 1 of 13:Raw Honey
- A drizzle of raw honey offers plenty of sweet benefits. This natural sweetener is chock full of healthy minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes—plus, it adds a delicious burst of sweetness to your drink. Stir a spoonful of raw honey (not the processed kind that comes in a bear-shaped bottle) into your tea to get the max amount of benefits.XTrustworthy SourceCleveland ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- Dark-colored honey varieties like buckwheat honey and manuka honey have a strong honey flavor, while light-colored acacia honey has a less powerful flavor.
- Clover honey is also on the lighter side, but it may add a sour tang to your tea.
- Add a spoonful of honey to your tea if you’re feeling under the weather, too. Honey can help relieve a sore throatand suppress your cough. Honey combined with lemon juice is also a great combo when you’re feeling sick.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
2 2 of 13:Maple Syrup
- A small spoonful of maple syrup packs a sweet punch. Maple syrup is super high in sugar, so a little can go a long way in your cup of tea. This sweet syrup also has antioxidants, riboflavin, calcium, zinc, potassium, and manganese, putting it a cut above regular table sugar.XTrustworthy SourceConsumer ReportsNonprofit organization dedicated to consumer advocacy and product testingGo to source
- Maple syrup is pretty high in sugar and calories, so don’t drizzle too much into your tea at once! Just 2 US tbsp (30 mL) of the syrup has 25 g of sugar, so start off with 1⁄2 to 1 US tbsp (7.4 to 14.8 mL) instead.
3 3 of 13:Sugar Syrup
- A simple sugar syrup is a great iced tea sweetener.Whip up your own batch by pouring 1 c (240 mL) of water and 1 cup (200 g) of white sugar into a saucepan over high heat. Let the mixture boil and cool, and then refrigerate it in a covered container for 1 week.XResearch source When your iced tea isn’t quite sweet enough, stir in a little bit of sugar syrup and see how it tastes.
- The American Heart Association officially recommends that women and men cap their daily sugar intake off at 6 to 9 tsp (25-36 g), respectively.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Heart AssociationLeading nonprofit that funds medical research and public educationGo to source Keeping this limit in mind, start with 1 tsp (4.9 mL) of sugar syrup and work your way up from there.
4 4 of 13:Stevia
- Stevia offers plenty of sweetness with 0 calories. Although classified as a sugar substitute, stevia is totally natural and comes from a plant (unlike artificial sweeteners).XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source Start by stirring 1 serving of this sweetener into your tea and see what you think.XResearch source
5 5 of 13:Vanilla Extract
6 6 of 13:Fruit Juice
- Fruit juice adds a sweet, flavorful boost to all kinds of tea. Stir a spoonful or 2 of your favorite juice into your tea—just make sure that the fruit flavor matches up with the base flavor of your drink. If your drink still isn’t sweet enough, add in a couple more spoonfuls. Here are a few refreshing combos you could try:
- Peach juice and mint tea
- Apple cider and cinnamon teaXResearch source
- White grapefruit juice and regular iced teaXResearch source
- Fresh and frozen pieces of fruit can also add a refreshing burst of flavor to your tea.XResearch source Drop some fresh melon chunks, berries, or other small fruit pieces into your drink and see if it improves the sweetness and flavor.
7 7 of 13:Milk
- Milk can help sweeten and tone down over-steeped black tea. You left your hot tea to steep for a few minutes, only to forget about it for an entire hour. No worries—a little bit of milk can help smooth out some of the bitter flavors. With its natural sugars, milk can also add a touch of sweetness to your drink.XResearch source
- For a healthier alternative, opt for low-fat or nonfat milk rather than whole milk. Almond, coconut, and oat milk are other great alternatives to consider.
8 8 of 13:Dried Spices
9 9 of 13:Vitamin Powder
- Vitamin powders add a citrusy, immunity-boosting flavor to your tea. All you have to do is stir a packet’s worth of powder into your mug of hot tea—once it’s dissolved, you’re good to go. Jam-packed with vitamin C, B-vitamins, and plenty of other valuable nutrients, vitamin-infused tea is the perfect beverage to sip on if you’re coming down with something or just trying to strengthen your immune system.XResearch source
- Vitamin powders sometimes come in fruity flavors like orange and lemon-lime. To keep the taste consistent, mix it into a mug of fruit-flavored tea.
10 10 of 13:Fresh Mint
- While not a sweetener, mint adds a refreshing, flavorful touch to iced tea. Brew a bag of your favorite green or black tea with 1 tbsp (1.57 g) of freshly chopped mint. Steep everything for 3 minutes before straining out the tea bag and mint and pouring the beverage over ice. You’ll be able to taste an invigorating difference in every sip!XResearch source
- Basil is another refreshing complement to your iced tea.
11 11 of 13:Cream Soda
- Jazz up your iced tea with a sweet splash of cream soda. Pour a small splash into your tea and see how it tastes. Just half a can of soda has 5⅛ tsp (21.5 g) of sugar, so you don’t want to overdo it!XTrustworthy SourceNational Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteResearch and education center within the National Institutes of HealthGo to source
12 12 of 13:Ice Cream
- Transform your hot tea into a sweet, delicious dessert. Dollop a little bit of vanilla ice cream (or another subtle flavor) on top of your hot tea. Not only will it make your tea sweeter, but it’ll make your drink nice and creamy, too. Just be sure to stick with a simple flavor—more intense flavors may not jive well with your base tea.
- A refreshing sherbert could be a good pairing for a fruity tea, while vanilla ice cream could taste good with a black tea.
- Only add a little bit of ice cream to your tea at a time. You don’t want to overload it with too much sugar!
13 13 of 13:Sparkling Water
- Sparkling water gives your iced tea some fun flair. Take a few more sips of your tea so the glass is about halfway full. Then, fill the glass the rest of the way with sparkling water to give your iced tea a carbonated touch.XResearch source
- Lots of sparkling and seltzer waters are totally sugar- and calorie-free, making them a super healthy addition to your tea.XTrustworthy SourceCleveland ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- Pour some fruit-flavored seltzer water into your tea to give your drink a little extra punch. Just make sure that the fruit flavor meshes well with your base tea.
- Brewing your tea correctly helps it taste less bitter, so make sure that you brew your tea at the right water temperature and steep it for the correct amount of time.XResearch source