April 2012 Issue
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The Sweetest Enemy

by Cynthia Fazekas

Tiny, beautiful crystals can add up to trouble!

Just last night, a national news show aired a segment about researchers and doctors announcing that sugar is toxic. The news of course, is not new to those of us in the tea industry. Many of us were drawn to tea because we were looking to avoid sugary beverages and found tea to have fabulous flavor and soothing effects. We got lucky early and discovered that a well-brewed cup of tea needs no enhancement and have benefited since.

As the general population (reluctantly) receives this message, tea sellers have a great opportunity. The easiest way to cut back on sugar for the average American is to cut out soda and juices. Replacing these with water is an option but we know that tea and tisanes are flavorful alternatives and no sugar is needed to have a great cup. Teach your customers to gradually lessen the amount of sugar they add to hot beverages and let their palates adjust incrementally. They must retrain their taste buds to not solely seek sweet and enjoy other sensations.

Help your customers reduce their sugar intake by offering correct brewing methods for teas and a variety to please any palate. The most forgiving are rooibos and honeybush as they don't get bitter even if steeped too long and at too high a temperature. Add that they are naturally caffeine-free and you have a sugarless beverage that even kids can enjoy. Green rooibos is particularly tasty when fruit flavored and makes a worry-free alternative to punch.

By gradually reducing sugar intake, we learn to really taste our food and will enjoy sugar more as the occasional indulgence it really should be.