I am a big fan of tea. I hail from Punjab, India. I like it with cardamom and milk and water in 1:1 proportion. And I like to boil everything together (this is the way its done in majority of Indian households). Recently, I noticed that the tea tastes much better if I put sugar in my cup after pouring the tea in it, rather than boiling the sugar with everything. It tastes so fresh this way that I have altogether stopped putting in the sugar while boiling. Is there anyone who shares this taste with me and can give me some scientific explanation on what is the difference?

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    I can't answer your question because I've never done it any other way, but in the US (barring family custom otherwise) sugar is always added to hot tea in the cup after the spent tea is removed.
    – Jolenealaska
    Sep 25, 2013 at 23:00
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    I'm assuming it's the milk and water that are in 1:1 proportion, not the cardamom and anything?
    – SourDoh
    Sep 25, 2013 at 23:18
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    OK, Mister Smartypants
    – Jolenealaska
    Sep 25, 2013 at 23:29
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    I don't want to write an answer as this is mostly conjecture... I have seen a lot of other opinions agreeing with you on adding sugar. The only things I can think are that having the sugar already dissolved in the water change the solubility of the tea, or perhaps that the tea matter ends up absorbing some of the sugar.
    – SourDoh
    Sep 26, 2013 at 23:08
  • @sourd'oh Thanks for correcting the grammatical mistake. edit -- I like it with milk and water in 1:1 proportion and a little cardamom. :)
    – Pankaj
    Oct 4, 2013 at 0:06

2 Answers 2


Yes, it would taste different- Sugar chrystals are made of sucrose saccharose(glucose combined with fructose), if you boil sugar with an acid (milk is slightly acidic[ph 6.5-7]) your sugar splits into its monomers-fructose and glucose(invert-sugar). Fructose fits into your taste receptors better than sucrose or fructose causing it to taste sweeter(1.73 x sweeter).

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    What are the kinematics of this reaction? Does it occur at a significant speed at culinary (tea) concentrations and pH?
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Sep 29, 2013 at 11:58
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    I disagree with this theory. In candy making, one can add acid to sugar syrup to invert the sugar in order to prevent crystalization, or work very carefully without adding acid. To me, the final product tastes the same in terms of sweetness, no matter which technique was used.
    – rumtscho
    Sep 29, 2013 at 12:17
  • Thanks @matt I have wondered about this myself for a very long time!
    – dhruvbird
    Apr 5, 2020 at 18:01
  • I also disagree that this can happen quickly enough when making tea, as inverted sugar recipes usually specify a long amount of time and much higher concentrations of sugar: homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/… May 3, 2020 at 8:05

Yes according to science sugar is always use after boiling water because if we used sugar before boiling water then elevation of boiling point will occur that is more energy require to boil water.so this process is very expensive. So according to my opinion always use sugar after boiling water.

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    I'm not understanding how this could be "very expensive". Please explain. Jan 10, 2016 at 4:37
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    Assuming a 20% sugar solution (which imho would be disgustingly sweet), you get a boiling point of 100.6 C. The additional energy for that is basically neglible in home environments.
    – Stephie
    Jan 10, 2016 at 7:50

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