Sugar is fine for adding a sweet touch to either tea or coffee, but honey adds sweetness and a unique flavor that will change your whole cup. You may not get much variety at your local grocery store, but there are many different kinds of honey if you look around.
Honey has been used as a food or sweetener since the beginning of time. Well, maybe not quite that long, but there are references to honey in the Bible, and the ancient Aztecs and Romans traded in honey as well.
Honey is produced by bees, who make it from nectar gathered from flowers to feed their young larvae.
I'm sure everyone already knew that honey is made by bees, but maybe you didn't know that the taste of the honey is effected by the flowers the bees visit. This is what creates the varieties of honey on the market.
Some common varieties of honey:
- Alfalfa - A very light honey with mild flavor.
- Basswood - This honey has a stronger flavor, but still has a light color.
- Buckwheat - A much darker honey that's full bodied.
- Clover - Similar to alfalfa honey, light and mild
- Orange Blossom - Light honey with a sweet, almost citrus taste.
- Tupelo - Light colored but heavily bodied honey with a distinctive taste.
There are an almost unlimited number of specialized varieties, unique to local regions. You may need to experiment a bit when using honey in your teas, as the flavor of the honey may overwhelm the delicate or subtle aromas of your tea.
Containing fructose and glucose, honey is sweeter than table sugar (sucrose), so you'll need less of it to please your palate. Honey also contains minerals and other elements that your body could use. So overall, it's a healthier choice than sugar.
Another great thing about honey is that you can store it at room temperature virtually forever.
It may crystallize, but you can just heat it to remelt the crystals with no damage to the taste of the honey.