The Best And Healthiest Ways To Sweeten Your Cup Of Tea

Let’s drop the act for a second. Plain tea is boring. While some herbal options boast unique and confounding flavors, your average green and black teas leave a lot to be desired. But that’s okay! At the time of writing, it’s not a crime to add sweeteners to your favorite brew most commonly table sugar. One problem, though: table sugar is pretty shocking for your health, especially if consumed regularly throughout the day.

So are there any decent, satisfying alternatives to putting sugar in tea? Absolutely. You may actually be surprised to realize just how many there are. Some of these include cinnamon, honey and even licorice root!

Below is a list of ten sugar substitutes to ensure you maintain your intake of tea without losing any of your teeth. 


Milk is an obvious but effective choice when it comes to replacing sugar in your tea. If you’re drinking black tea, you’ll have noticed its high-tannin bitter flavor. This type of astringency can dry out your palate, so putting a drop of milk to your cup will smoothen that right out. 

There are no strict guidelines for this, except make sure you add the milk at the end as the milk will lower the temperature of the hot water and will disrupt the infusion of your brew. Also, try not to rely too much on this as a sweetener as milk is relatively high in fat. 


For those of you who have tried honey at any point in your life, you’ll know it’s a no-brainer in the sweetening-tea department. This natural and unprocessed substitute has 30% more sweetening power than your everyday sugar so you’ll have to use a short amount to match the impact! 

Do try and research the honey you’re getting your hands on as some are pretty high in glucose and fructose, which shouldn’t be over-indulged. If you can, pick an organic honey such as French honey for a carefree and tasty brew. 

Agave Syrup

Extracted from a Mexican plant, agave syrup has plenty of sweetening potential, and like honey, does not require as big a serving as sugar to create intensity. Agave also boasts a neutral taste, which works perfectly for anyone looking to avoid overwhelming flavors that sweeteners and syrups can often bring to the table. 

Agave contains high fructose levels so don’t go too overboard with this one. A little drop here and there, a little stir, a little sip, and you’ll be fine. It’s still a healthier alternative to your standard white sugar. 

Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar contains healthy fats (yes, healthy fats!) that have been found to prevent high cholesterol and heart disease so you’d be a fool to miss out on introducing this to your food cupboard. The inulin within coconut sugar works as a dietary fiber and promotes gut health.

That being said, don’t just go throwing heaps and heaps of this stuff in your cup of tea. It is sugar at the end of the day, though sucrose levels are only 75% compared to any average table sugar, which is pure sucrose. 


Stevia is a powdered sweetener made from the leaves of an Amazonian plant that contains no calories and is 50 to 300 times than sucrose! Using this as a sugar replacement is one of the best options if you’re looking to keep your weight in check but still enjoy la dolce vita. 

Stevia is a great additive to a lot of drinks but tea is where it really shines. Dissolving easily, add just half a teaspoon to your tea, taste, and add more depending on your personal preference. 


Once Xylitol is extracted from birch or beech trees and processed, it turns into a white, crystalline powder almost indistinguishable from sugar. Better yet, it has the same sweetness as sugar and therefore couldn’t be a better fit for those looking for a healthier alternative.

Xylitol is found in fibers of many fruits and vegetables and can even be made in small amounts by your own body. Believe it or not, while being a great sugar substitute, the main source for commercial use is corn cobs. Xylitol is also used in chewing gums.


Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth but maintain a healthy weight, if not lose weight? Try making tea with cinnamon. Calorie-free, this is a great way to zhuzh your tea up with a natural sweetener (and a touch of spice) and achieve that sugar high missing from regular old tea. 

Cinnamon contains ingredients like cinnamic aldehyde and coumarin that help prevent bacterial and fungal infections and may even soothe a sore throat and modulate blood sugar levels. Satisfying and healthy!

Licorice root

Native to southern Europe, Licorice Root is a good natural sweetener. High in glycyrrhizin and 50 times sweeter than regular sugar, this plant-based sugar is ultra-versatile and can be used as a food coloring agent if you’re interested in accompanying your brew with a bite to eat. 

The Greeks, Romans and Chinese all went nuts for this stuff back in the day. Tutankhamun had a famous love of the root. In 1922, when Howard Carter dug up his tomb, a collection of treasures was found beside the Pharaoh’s mummified body. These included jewelry and artwork and, of course, licorice root!


Molasses, unlike refined sugar, it’s naturally rich in antioxidants, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin B6. That alone should be a good enough reason to use it in your tea. People also use it as a topping for oatmeal or yogurt, such is the reputation of this sugar. 

Just a cheeky little drop of this stuff into your brew will revitalize it the same way a spoonful of standard sugar would. 

Monk Fruit

Extracted from the Chinese Siraitia Grosvenorii plant, monk fruit is a whopping 300 times sweeter than table sugar and what’s more, it doesn’t contain any calories! The sweetness is thanks to a compound called Mogroside. 

On top of tasting nice, monk fruit may promote weight loss and improve blood sugar levels, though the studies are few and far between when it comes to concrete confirmation. Also bear in mind monk fruit extract is often mixed with other sweeteners! 

Josh Teal

Josh Teal is a freelance writer with wit and verve, powered by copious amounts of tea and coffee. That makes him something of an expert in all things brewing, whether it's for you or for your pets!

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