If you're looking for a non-artificially-sweetened, non-bitter tea drink, some tips:
* Some bag teas are made with dried fruit and/or rose hips, which add a tartness that takes away bitterness. Licorice root, which is in some of these, actually makes things sweet.
* The bitterness of tea is generally caused more by the tannins than by the caffeine. Caffeine extracts faster. Therefore, brewing short in lukewarm water will give you most of the caffeine and less of the bitterness. (The tannins are good for you, however, which is why I tend to brew long and add milk, myself.)
Thanks for the advice! I will experiment with brewing.
hmmm. I'm just now trying to think of when I last had tea with sugar. I think it was some time in my late teens. Tea was (still is) my father's caffeine of choice, so I had it (hot in the winter, iced in the summer) sporadically throughout my formative years. But The One True Way (Dad's) of consuming it was to add about a tablespoon of lemon juice to iced tea--no sugar at all, ever!--or to add about a teaspoon of sugar to a mug of hot tea. Artificial sweeteners are Right Out.
Somewhere along the line, I forgot to add the sugar to the hot tea. I've been drinking it that way ever since.
Maybe that explains why Guinness was the first beer I found that _didn't_ make me gag?
I have gotten way too used to sweet tea. Have to wean myself back down to minimally sweetened. I'm not sure I'm willing to go without a touch of sweet, though. I also drink my coffee sweet. At least I'm consistent, right?
If you prefer brewed iced tea, I'll tell you my standard recipe:
start with a coffee-maker. 12 bags of whatever tea you choose (I always used whatever was cheap). Tea bags in the filter mechanism, fill the carafe with water, run the coffee-maker. In a clean one gallon container, measure in 1 and 1/4 cup sugar. When the tea has brewed, pour the hot tea over the sugar and stir. Once the sugar is dissolved, fill the container the rest of the way with ice and stir till the ice melts.
Not *quite* as cavity-inducing as real southern iced tea, but it's the compromise my damned Yankee ex husband could live with. ;) (yes, I called him that to his face and we both laughed. He's a decent guy and a great dad, just not a good match to me.)
My mommy-in-law has never looked at me so funny as when--in a fit of frustration over our differing opinion of what is & is not chicken & dumplings--I called her a "goofy Yankee" & proceeded to explain to her the difference between what she made & the real thing. She took it well, but it's become a running joke in the family.
Give it a couple days - artificial sweeteners are addictive, too. I quit caffeine and sweeteners, and while caffeine was harder, it took me a good week to stop getting twitchy from lack of aspartame and Splenda. Good luck on your journey - you're doing awesome things for your health!
I figure it will take a few days to get over it, so I'm not quitting. After the twitching was over, did you notice anything specific about the state of your health?
I'm definitely cutting the level of caffeine, but I'm not ready to give it up yet - one bad habit at a time.
The caffeine withdrawal stuff will go away in a few days. I went through that a year and a half ago when I had to give up coffee because it was interfering with my anti-anxiety medication.
The thing is, once you get used to lower caffeine levels you'll wonder how you lived with as much caffeine as you used to.
After watching Ferrett twitch from one large Chai tea, I'm expecting that the caffeine lowering will leave me incredulous at the level I used to intake.
About 8 years ago for Lent I gave up everything sweet. Sugar, sweetener, fruit, etc., all of it.
About the time that that ended and we hit this time of year I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which was really Type 2.
I've kinda been crabby ever since...
It's hard to find this far north, but see if you can get your hands on some sassafras root. You can brew it straight or mixi t with black or green tea. It's very sweet on its own, so you might not even need sugar or honey. It's the stuff that originally gave root beer its flavor. Most manufacturers stopped using it in the '80s because it's technically a carcinogen--although you'd have to eat a whole tree or more for it to affect you.
I don't recommend going with sasparilla or the Pappy's concentrated sassafras liquid. They're pretty bad & a lot more expensive than the raw root.
Thanks, I will look for that the next time I'm at any of the natural food stores.
Have you tried yerba mate? It's a tea with a nice caffeine kick, but there are are other things in it that make it a very smooth ride. (There's a buttload of vitamins and minerals in the stuff, too.)
It's not too difficult to brew, either: http://www.yerba-mate.com/brewing.htm
A little honey and maybe some lemon make it taste awesome.
I've learned that a good Mexican market will have the loose stuff available for really cheap (look in the coffee section).
The words "good Mexican market" and "Cleveland" don't really go together, but I will look into that. Thanks!
Honey tends to cut through the bitterness in tea better than sugar does.
You can buy licorice root in stick form, and use it to stir your tea- BUT! If you have ANY kind of heart problem, you really shouldn't use it. Licorice root is great for breathing problems and stomach issues, but if you are trying a slow elimination diet, you might confuse results if you are using it.
If you like your tea cold, you can mix up some simple syrup and use that to make your own sweet tea. Mason Jars are pretty good containers for that, and you can line them up in the fridge so you can have a good cold sugary drink.
I am using honey for my tea, and brewing hot then pouring over ice and it's working.
I HATE licorice.