How to Use Honey in Tea

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Learn how to use honey in tea with its own natural sweetness and variety of flavors. Honey and tea are perfect companions that give you many different taste experiences. Maybe you prefer the strong flavor of black tea or more delicate soothing herbal blends? Either way, you can take your taste experience to the next level.

Tea pot with mug of hot tea and jar of honey.

A delicious substance made by bees, honey is a staple in kitchen pantries. A common ingredient in recipes, honey is used as a natural sweetener in many hot drinks. Whether you are a once in a while tea drinker or a connoisseur, this guide will help you enjoy this dynamic due.

Choosing the Right Honey

Choosing the right honey for your cup of tea might be more confusing than you think. You have a lot of choices. First, do you want to use raw honey or pure?

The terms raw, pure and natural are often used rather loosely in marketing. When shopping, read the honey label closely and try to understand exactly what you are getting.

Bees make honey from many different nectar sources. Each floral source provides it’s own flavors and aromas. 

Sometimes, you can even find purple honey – that occurs naturally but that is a rare one. Another regional favorite in my area is Sourwood Honey, we can never produce enough of that special flavor.

Educate yourself on the different varieties of honey and their range in flavor. Do you want a strong or bold flavor that you can taste or something more delicate that does not overpower your tea?

Small muth jars of honey flavors.

How to Sweeten Tea with Honey

Heat can destroy some of the nutritional benefits of honey. Wait until after the steeping process to add it in.

  1. Heat the water for your cup, mugs or pitcher.
  2. Add the tea bag and let it steep the desired amount of time.
  3. Remove tea leaves or bag and let it cool for a couple of minutes.
  4. Cautiously take a sip. If it doesn’t burn your mouth – it is time to stir in the honey.

If you are making iced tea, the same principle applies. Brew your tea in the manner desired, let it cool on the counter for just a bit.

Then, stir honey in the tea while it is still warm – before placing in refrigerator or adding ice.

How much honey to use to sweeten tea you may ask? Well, it depends. I start with a tablespoon for a cup.

Then, adjust for your particular taste preference. The variety of honey used may also require more or less to get the flavor you desire.

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Combinations to Try

As with any flavor, your personal taste preference plays a role in deciding which it the best for you.

Here are some popular combinations but don’t get hung up on them. You can just use regular honey – choose a mild one to avoid over-powering delicate tea flavor.

  • Blueberry or Orange Blossom with Earl Grey or any Breakfast Tea
  • Tupelo, Clover, or Holly with Jasmine tea
  • Clover, Linden or Avocado with Green teas
  • Alfalfa, Sage or Clover with Chamomile tea

Benefits of Adding Honey to Tea

There are several possible benefits of adding honey to tea instead of regular sugar. Of course, it is just fine to do so because it tastes good, right?

  • natural sweetener
  • antioxidant properties
  • energy boost
  • soothing effects

Nature’s Sweetener

As people become more concerned about health, they are paying more attention to the foods that they eat. 

Other than strict vegans – who do not eat honey as a rule, it is a good alternative to granulated sugar or synthetic sweeteners.

Antioxidants and Immune Support

Honey has antibacterial properties and antioxidants. It also contains magnesium, potassium and enzymes, in addition minerals and vitamins.  

While experts disagree on the level of health benefit received through honey consumption, we do know that it contains good things that our bodies need.

Hot tea sweetened with honey can soothe indigestion problems. And, some people swear it helps allergy suffers with regular consumption.

Energy from Honey

And the end of the day, honey is sugar. These natural carbohydrates can give you a slight boost in a much more satisfying way than sugary drinks or caffeine.

Soothing

Of course, a hot drink, such as tea with honey is a popular home is very soothing. In fact,honey and cinnamon are often used for cold symptom relief

Almost everyone has needed a cup of tea with honey, lemon and ginger for a sore throat at some time in their life.

Is Honey Toxic When Added to Hot Tea?

Any raw product that is over heated can experience a decline in its natural properties. Even with vegetables, we all know it is possible to over cook them. 

They lose color, flavor and nutritional value. How dangerous is heat and how hot is too hot?

Ayurveda Principles

The idea of honey becoming toxic when heated dates back to those who followed the Ayurveda beliefs

In general, adhering to the idea that it was important to consume raw foods without changing any of their molecular structure.

But, if is was truly toxic, what about pasteurized honey. No longer a raw food, it that has been pasteurized has been treated to kill any bacteria that might be present. This allows people with immune problems to enjoy it safely.

HMF

Also, to complicate matters further. Honey is acidic with a low ph. When heated, the chemical structure changes. Fructose molecules are broken down into HMF (HydroxyMethylFurfuraldehyde).

Not a danger to humans, honey with high levels of HMF is toxic to honey bees. The test can also be used to detect whether or not honey has been heated and therefore may not be considered raw.

Risks

Honey is a raw food. And, just like raw apples made into juice or other raw foods it could contain small amounts of bacteria. 

These tiny organisms could be deadly to babies under 1 year old. Their immune systems are not developed enough to consume it in raw form 

Likewise, adults that are immune compromised are usually advised to avoid consuming raw honey.

But for most of the honey-loving public, it is a nutritious sweetener that is safe. So, does putting honey in a hot cup of tea increase it’s toxicity. No I don’t think so.

Woman adding teaspoon of honey to cup of warm tea.

Don’t add honey to boiling water. Let things cool down just a bit. This is the best way to use honey in tea as a natural sweetener without losing its health benefits.

Use the same principle to make honey sweetened lemonade – it is good hot or cold.

FAQs

How much honey to add to tea?

Personal preference and it depends on how big the cup is. For a standard 8 oz cup, most people start with 1 tablespoon and adjust up or down for personal tastes.

Is it okay to put honey in hot tea?

Yes, but if the tea is boiling you may damage your honey, let the drink cool slightly before adding honey.

Is honey good in tea?

From the viewpoint of taste, yes – it sweetens tea and adds its own floral overtones to the flavor.

Finally

Tea is a soothing drinking that brings comfort and sooths ills of the mind and body. Sometimes, we just love holding a hot cup of tea – even if the weather is nice. 

By combing honey and tea, you get the best of both in a nutritious soothing drink that can perk you up and keep the day going along.