Last Updated on March 2, 2023 by Practical Cooks
White sugar is the most common sweetener to use when sweetening coffee or tea. It comes in granulated, fine-ground confectioner’s sugar, also known as powdered sugar. But can you substitute brown sugar for white sugar in tea?
Brown sugar has a different texture but can be used instead of white sugar in tea. They are interchangeable in most situations, even though white sugar is used mainly for sweetening drinks and brown sugar is used primarily for baking.
Variations in Light and Dark Brown Sugar
There are two tones of color to brown sugar: light and dark. One is darker than the other because of the amount of molasses used to make the brown sugar. If you wish to use one or the other in place of white sugar, here is what you can expect.
The lighter color of brown sugar uses less molasses and does not have as much caramel texture as the darker version. It is less dense than dark brown sugar. This means it will dissolve quicker with not as much stirring in the tea. Those who like the light caramel sweetness can use light brown sugar.
The darker color of brown sugar will have a more robust caramel flavor. Since the molasses makes the sugar clump, it is more difficult to dissolve in tea. It dissolves quickly in hot liquids but requires more vigorous stirring to dissolve completely. If you prefer a more toffee flavor, go with dark brown sugar.
Substituting Brown Sugar in Tea for White Sugar
It is best to understand the difference between brown and white sugar. All sugar comes from sugar cane, but brown sugar is nothing more than molasses poured over white sugar. The molasses sits in the sugar and cakes up to a clumpy sweetness as it turns from a thick liquid to a solid. The molasses also adds to the sweetness and a more caramel texture.
Whether you use one or two teaspoons of white sugar, use the same amount with brown sugar that you would with white. Both are equal, and both have the same sweet levels. The only difference is the brown sugar will have the flavor of molasses added to it. Brown sugar also dissolves faster than white.
White sugar has a more refined taste. It is more crystallized than brown sugar, but once it is ground up into powdered sugar, it loses its sparkle. The powdered sugar then becomes more of the texture of brown sugar.
Special Note: Brown sugar works better in black tea than in green tea. Its sweetness will conquer its delicate flavor.
How to Make Tea with Brown Sugar?
The techniques are the same in making tea, whether it is brown or white sugar. The choice is up to your preference. Here is a recipe for how to make tea with brown sugar:
Step 1: Boil a cup of water on the stovetop.
Step 2: Add the tea bag.
Step 3: Pour the tea into a cup and let it steep for about 30 minutes. Letting it steep will prevent the sugar from overpowering the tea with sweetness.
Step 4: Add the brown sugar one teaspoon at a time. Stir it in until the brown sugar dissolves completely. Try one teaspoon before adding another, in case the caramel flavor is too much.
Other Alternative Sugars That Can Go in Tea
This is more of stepping on the wild side for tea drinkers. People can use these different sugars and sweeteners to substitute white sugar.
- Turbinado Sugar: There are several names given to raw sugar. Turbinado, Demerara, and Muscovado are the names of raw sugar in their different processing stages. There are minor differences between them all.
- Raw Sugar: This type of sugar is closely related to brown sugar. The only difference is the sugar is not processed into white sugar. It has the full molasses flavor. Compared to brown sugar, raw sugar has a texture like kosher salt and is lighter in taste.
- Stevia: This is more in the herbal category but sweeter than white or brown sugar. Stevia is grown in a home garden or purchased in a health food store. It is also gaining popularity among tea lovers as a health choice.
- Honey: Honey is not sugar, but it is a popular substitute for white sugar. It is a natural sweetener that hardly uses processing. It will thicken the tea a little, but the flavor is refreshing.
- Artificial Sweeteners: Many people who have diabetes will use artificial sweeteners like Equal or Sweet n Low. It allows them to still get the sweetness in their tea without worrying about raising their blood sugar levels.
- Flavored Sugars: These are also becoming more popular. They have different flavors, but rose sugar and vanilla sugar are among the top choices for people to use in their tea. Other added ingredients exist, but the extract is a primary ingredient for flavored sugars.
Is Green Tea Sweet, or do I need to add a sweetener?
Green tea is naturally sweet and has minimal sweeteners added to the drink compared to various teas. Adding sugar or brown sugar may overpower the drink and possibly ruin the flavor for some tea drinkers.
How do you keep brown sugar soft?
Put a piece of white bread in the same container you keep the brown sugar in, and the brown sugar will remain soft. This is only through speculation, and nothing has been scientifically proven. No one can argue that it works. Thousands of people have tried it, and all conclude the same. The sugar absorbs the moisture from the bread while the bread turns hard.
What does brown sugar in tea taste like?
Brown sugar will have a sweet flavor added to the tea. The molasses will add a caramel flavor, depending on the brown sugar’s darkness. The darker brown sugar is thicker on the molasses. It is closely related to a more toffee flavor than caramel.