Last weekend, a rather unusual question found its way to my inbox. The query was whether you can use powdered sugar in tea or not. As a good samaritan willing to help, I instantly sat down to write back, but it dawned on me that I didn’t know the answer.
So, I turned to good old Google for help. I meekly typed the query in the search box and was met with a barrage of answers. While some said it’s alright to use powdered sugar in tea, others reported it made the tea cloudy and not so delectable.
I had to take the matter into my own hands. I marched into the kitchen to find me some powdered sugar. At this point, I knew that there were at least two kinds of powdered sugar available to us.
The first kind is pure powdered sugar made with nothing but just pulverized granulated sugar. The second kind is commercially available powdered sugar that features a pinch of corn starch.
If you use powdered sugar sachets available for purchase, it most likely contains a portion of cornstarch. The starch serves as an anti-caking agent by keeping condensation and moisture from forming sugar granules into lumps.
For my experiments, I made milk tea with both kinds of powdered sugar. And this is the conclusion I came up with:
Table Of Content
Can You Use Powdered Sugar In Tea?
Yes, you can use powdered sugar in tea as long as the sugar doesn’t contain any other ingredient. You’ll need less sugar since it is finer and more condensed. If you use powdered sugar containing corn starch, the tea will be cloudy and have an off flavor.
The tea with pure powdered sugar tasted perfectly fine to me. As a matter of fact, the tea made with powdered sugar that contains cornstarch also tasted okay to me.
While making the second cup of tea, I was already anticipating it to taste somewhat weird. It definitely played a role in shaping my judgment.
I skimmed through Quora, Reddit, and a few other food forums to find out what other tea connoisseurs had to say about adding powdered sugar to tea.
Thus, I have collected some of the answers and pooled them down below so you can have access to well-rounded information at one stop.
Can You Use Powdered Sugar In Tea? Real Answers By Real People!
“Yes, you can, but confectioner’s sugar has cornstarch in it. So, it might turn out a little strange.”
“If it’s truly just powdered sugar with no additional ingredients, the tea should be fine.”
“Confectioner’s sugar contains a trace amount of corn starch that will not dissolve and will settle out of the tea.”
“You could use powdered sugar to sweeten the tea if you’ll drink it immediately, but a large batch left out for too long will become cloudy from the starch.”
“Of course, but you’ll need to use less since it’s finer and more condensed.”
“I tried this trick once. But since powdered sugar is mixed with cornstarch, my tea became cloudy and didn’t taste great. I wouldn’t recommend it.”
“You can, but keep in mind that it has a totally different sweetness level than regular table sugar.”
How To Make Milk Tea With Powdered Sugar?
For this experiment, I’ll teach you how to make a cup of Indian-style masala tea using powdered sugar.
First things first, create your own batch of powdered sugar. If you use powdered sugar from a sachet, it will most likely also contain corn starch which will effectively ruin the taste.
I pulverized the granulated sugar using a mortar and pestle. You can use a mixie too.
- Black tea granules
- Powdered sugar
- Ginger strips
- Bay leaves
Mix water and tea granules in a stainless steel pot. Once boiled, add ginger strips, cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, and powdered sugar. I added a teaspoon and a half of powdered sugar for a cup of tea. Let the liquid come to a boil once again. Next, add milk and boil for 2-3 minutes.
Needless to say, my tea tasted terrific!
Is Adding Powdered Sugar To Tea Harmful?
Well, answering this question can be controversial. Unfortunately, there’s no conclusive answer to share, as the effect of adding powdered sugar to tea has yet to be researched extensively.
But it’s the accepted consensus that adding sugar to tea might decrease the health benefits.
Well, tea is a highly healthy beverage, rich in antioxidants that reduce the risks of stroke, cancer, and heart disease. These antioxidants are known as polyphenols.
So, when you add sugar to the tea, it will bind to the polyphenols and prevent them from being absorbed by our bodies.
Thus, the health benefits are definitely compromised when sugar is added.
Now that you know powdered sugar is not really good for your health, let’s have a quick look at a few alternatives to sugar for tea.
Sugar Substitutes To Sweeten Your Tea
Molasses is a raw sugar byproduct. Simply put, it contains what sugar has been stripped of – minerals and B vitamins. Coming from sugarcane plants, molasses first start as cane juice that’s boiled multiple times to form a thick and aromatic syrup.
Thanks to its intense flavor and caramel aftertaste, molasses is used to sweeten warm beverages like black tea. You’ll only need about a tablespoon of molasses for your tea.
Honey is my favorite sugar substitute. Consistency-wise, honey is the same as molasses. You can select from a broad range of honey types, each with a unique flavor note and colors.
Honey is an excellent match for black tea. Having said that, it also enhances the qualities of green tea and works perfectly with rooibos tea. Since honey is quite sweet, a little goes a long way when making tea.
Maple syrup, also known as Canada’s liquid gold, is an extremely popular natural sweetener for teas. You can choose either a lighter variety that doesn’t change the beverage’s taste or a darker version with a caramel aftertaste. I prefer the darker version.
Maple syrup is loaded with antioxidants, B vitamins, and minerals. It’s also way better than sugar in terms of calories.
Depending on what tea you’re making, you can also use licorice, dried fruits, stevia, date syrup, birch sugar, and tagatose as sugar alternatives.
Can You Use Agave As Sugar Substitute?
I came across some blogs recommending agave to be used as a sugar substitute, but the truth is that agave is not a healthy replacement for table sugar. Matter of fact, agave has higher calorie content than table sugar.
Especially people that are closely managing blood glucose should avoid agave due to its high fructose content. Agave can reduce your insulin sensitivity and harm liver health.
Agave is sweet nectar derived from plant species of the same name. It is around 60% fructose, 20% glucose, and 20% water.
So, agave has roughly the same fructose content as high fructose corn syrup.
Final Words: Can You Use Powdered Sugar In Tea?
The answer is both yes and no. Let me elaborate.
If you’re using pure powdered sugar, the tea will taste fine. You’ll need to use a bit less than what you’d normally use. As you can see from my experiment above, the consistency of sugar didn’t alter the taste – it was lovely.
But a lot of times, commercially available sachet sugar powder is mixed with cornstarch as it serves as an anti-caking agent. When you use this kind of sugar, the tea will be cloudy and have an off flavor.