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If I want to replace sugar with honey in black or green tea, can I add the honey at any point or should I wait until the tea cools down a bit?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 17 down vote accepted

There is apparently evidence that some of the flavour compounds in honey deteriorate during heating:
http://www.ibra.org.uk/articles/Effect-of-heat-on-honey

The text suggests that honey should not be heated to more than 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). So it might be wise to let the tea cool down a bit before adding the honey. Having said that, I usually put the honey in immediately after removing the tea leaves and it tastes fine to me. The flavour of the honey is clear and pronounced and I have never felt that anything was missing.

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2  
Seems doubltful. What about all the honey bbq sauces and recipes out there? –  zanlok Jun 15 '11 at 23:55
2  
They're mostly a gimmick as far as flavour goes - my 'honey glazed' pork ribs and chicken never actually smells like honey. –  5arx Jun 16 '11 at 13:50
    
I think the flavour deterioration happens mostly at higher temperatures than that of hot tea. So yes, glazes, bbq sauces etc. will not taste much of honey if you apply it to the meat before grilling it. You will of course still get the caramelization effect and the sweetness, so it is not useless. But I think you can use sugar just as well. If you really want to preserve the honey flavour you should glaze the meat after grilling. –  Henrik Söderlund Jun 17 '11 at 10:42

It is preferable to add the honey into the tea when it is hot to let it melt a bit. Otherwise, it'll be harder to mix it in. And yes, you can replace sugar with honey in tea. It is healthier and I do it all the time.

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If you want to try something other than honey, agave nectar is another sweet alternative. I use it in baking instead of honey sometimes.

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Some people are "iffy" as to this because it generally requires a lot more to sweeten than sugar, and can leave a residue if too much is present, but I actually generally prefer to sweeten my tea (and coffee) with honey and/or brown sugar.

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Hmn... It's not the flavor that you should be worrying about when adding honey to hot tea, but rather, the honey's natural antibiotic properties. At high temperatures, the enzymes are destroyed.

Well, the thing asks that I avoid making statements based on my opinion... So I'd like to claim right here that this is not my opinion. I study food technology and honey was a topic that was discussed. And also, I was holding a conversation with the guy selling Manuka honey. So although I can't back up my words, I'll provide a link with information on honey.

"But, in some cases, the peroxide activity in honey can be destroyed easily by heat or the presence of catalase." - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609166/

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Does anything mentioned here effect whether the tea tastes good? –  SAJ14SAJ Sep 17 '13 at 12:33
    
If the person was originally using sugar, I think we can assume that the OP is primarily concerned with sweetness not peroxide activity. –  sourd'oh Sep 19 '13 at 15:41

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