If you’re trying to quit sugar, then you know how hard it is to satisfy your sweet tooth without it. Finding a sweet treat that doesn’t contain sugar can be a straight-up nightmare.
This is especially true for drinks like tea and coffee. These drinks are usually served with cream and sugar, and it can be hard to adjust to the taste of undoctored tea.
Luckily, Mother Nature is looking out for us. Some naturally growing herbs and plants actually have a natural sweetness to them that makes them wonderful for tea. Read on for some of our favorites and our suggestions on how to make them taste the best.
Sips by is a personalized tea discovery subscription. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Members receive 4 teas chosen just for them in every box. Learn more about our tea subscription service.
What Is Herbal Tea?
Here’s a fun tea fact: Most of your favorite teas like chamomile, rooibos, and peppermint are actually not tea, by definition. Most tea comes from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which grows in China, India, and Africa.
These Camellia sinensis teas include black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea, and more. These teas come from the same plant, but their oxidation processes, regions, growing conditions, and harvesting seasons are very different.
As far as oxidation goes, tea plant leaves react with oxygen in a process that increases caffeine content and darkens tea color.
Herbal teas, on the other hand, do not come from the Camellia plant at all. Instead, they come from regular herbs and other plants. This is why herbal teas are often decaf and lighter in color.
Even though they aren’t really tea, herbal teas still present a variety of health benefits. Even better, they come in so many flavors that everyone’s sure to find one they like.
6 Naturally Sweet Teas
With so many herbal teas, it’s hard to know where to begin. If you have a sweet tooth, you can try starting with some of these naturally sweet teas.
Chamomile tea comes from the chamomile plant. This plant is native to Asia, India, and Europe, but it grows freely in the United States as a wildflower. Chamomile is known for its daisy-like flowers, which are used to make the tea.
Chamomile flowers look like daisies because chamomile is actually part of the daisy family. If you’re out foraging, make sure you can tell the difference: Daisies can make a good tea, but it won’t taste like chamomile.
This tea also has a distinct apple taste that makes it naturally sweet. We recommend drinking a hot cup of chamomile before bed since chamomile has relaxing and soothing properties that can make sleep come easier for some.
We recommend Sarjesa Chamomile Blend for a good cup of evening tea. This delicious floral blend includes rose petals and clover for an extra dose of sweetness.
Have you ever had licorice candy? If you have, then you’ve already experienced how sweet licorice can be.
Licorice root tea comes from the licorice plant, which grows naturally in southern Europe. This flowering herb has been used for centuries as a natural sweetener and can also help soothe side effects of acid reflux when brewed as tea.
Licorice root tea is sweet and carries a slight tang to it that is sure to make this tea a staple in your tea cabinet. This tea can be enjoyed hot or iced, and we recommend drinking it alongside some strawberries or other sweet fruit.
Rooibos tea comes from the aspalathus linearis plant, native to South Africa. Although this tea is common now, it was only introduced to the tea market in 2001. This makes it a fairly recent development in the tea world.
Rooibos tea is known for its spiced taste, and it has a light sweetness about it that makes it lovely for an early afternoon cuppa. It’s also rumored to help with stomach upset, so it may be just what you need if you struggle with after-dinner heartburn.
One of our favorite parts about rooibos is that it comes in so many flavors. You can get cinnamon-spiced rooibos, earl grey rooibos, fruit-flavored rooibos, and even chocolate-flavored rooibos.
If you want the taste of pure rooibos, we recommend Steep & Sip Royal Rooibos. This rooibos tea has no added flavor or sugar, which means you can experience the pure, natural sweetness of this popular African tea.
Star anise comes from the Illicium Verum plant, which is native to China and Vietnam. This plant can be used in baking and cooking, and it’s an important ingredient in chai tea.
Star anise has a similar flavor to licorice root, and it shares the same natural sweetness. You can find star anise in chai tea, citrus tea, and some gingerbread-flavored teas.
Although star anise is a common ingredient in tea blends, you might have a hard time finding pure star anise tea. However, any tea with star anise as the main ingredient should have a natural sweetness that satisfies your sweet tooth.
Os-what, now? You heard us right. While you might be familiar with its taste, Osmanthus doesn’t typically get its own tea.
Osmanthus tea comes from the flowers of the osmanthus fragrans plant, also called the sweet olive plant. This plant is native to China, Taiwan, Japan, Cambodia, and Thailand, and it has a distinctive sweet taste that makes it a popular flavor additive in herbal tea blends.
These small yellow flowers make the most delicious tea. While the taste may not be as sweet as a spoonful of sugar, its light sweetness makes any tea with this additive a good alternative to sweet tea.
We recommend The Irie Cup's Total Body tea for those interested in trying osmanthus. Featuring sweet rooibos alongside hibiscus, mint, and calendula, this gentle-yet-sweet blend is best paired with a good book and a warm afternoon.
You may not find straight-up apple tea on the market, but we guarantee it won’t take long before you find an apple-flavored blend. Many loose-leaf teas include bits of dried apple to lend a natural sweetness to the tea.
There are a number of natural chemicals that contribute to apple sweetness. However, the main reason that apple pieces are so good at sweetening up tea is their high concentration of sorbitol, a naturally occurring sweetener.
We recommend Tiny Bee Tea Honey Queen for anyone looking for a good apple tea. This deliciously sweet tea features apple pieces, rosehip, pineapple, and lemongrass for a citrusy experience. We love this tea over ice, although it’s just as good hot.
How to Brew a Yummy Cup
With so many options to choose from, we think that picking out your tea will be the hardest step. Once you’ve finally settled on your chosen cuppa, it’s time to get brewing.
Set some water on the stove to boil, or fire up a handy-dandy electric kettle. Some teas have specific brewing temperatures that work best for their herbal blends, so just make sure to keep an eye on your water.
Herbal teas are a little different because they each require different steeping times, which means it’s best to check the package on your tea. We’d hate for all of your hard work to go to waste!
Once you’re done steeping your tea, take out the bag or infuser and enjoy! You can even mix in a little milk or added sweetener for extra goodness.
If hot tea isn’t your thing, you can always chill your tea or pour it over ice for a refreshing glass of iced tea. We love hot tea, but sometimes the weather warrants something a little cooler.
Most naturally sweet teas are herbal, although you may find a few black teas that fall a little on the sweet side. Some of our favorite naturally sweet teas include chamomile, rooibos, and apple teas.
If you find yourself always on the go, try bringing along some naturally sweet tea. You’ll save the time it takes to sweeten tea, and you’ll save yourself from a sugar crash later.
As always, check out our blog for more tea inspiration and we wish you happy sipping!
Summer Tea Shop
The sun is shining, birds are singing, and you're ready to spend summer days lounging in your backyard. And what's a better accessory to lounging than a cool glass of iced tea? Sips by has the summer iced teas, teaware, and tea accessories to make your own personal tea oasis. So whether you're looking for delicious fruity teas to cold brew, convenient iced tea pitchers to make sun tea, or kits to take your summer tea options to the next level, Sips by's Summer Tea Shop has the tools you need to have a refreshing summer.
Interested in trying these teas and others? Subscribers receive 4 teas chosen just for them in every box. Learn more about our tea subscriptions.
About Sips by: We’re a female-founded and led startup that makes discovering tea fun, personalized, and affordable. The Sips by Box is the only multi-brand, personalized tea subscription box. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Based out of Austin, Texas, we are adept at savoring a hot mug even when it’s seasonally inappropriate.
Chamomile: A Herbal Medicine of the Past with Bright Future | PubMed Central
Pharmacological Effects of Glycyrrhiza spp. and Its Bioactive Constituents: Update and Review | Wiley Online Library
Sweet Taste in Apple: the Role of Sorbitol, Individual Sugars, Organic Acids and Volatile Compounds | PubMed Central