It’s been about 4 years now since I’ve been using those Stevia extract packets you buy at the store to sweeten my tea and bake with. Stevia is a zero calorie, natural alternative to using regular sugar or those frightful chemicals, Splenda and Aspartame.
So I thought to myself: What would it be like to use actual, fresh Stevia leaves to make my tea sweet? I put on my science hat and got to work.
I broke off a small sprig from my Stevia plant I keep outside on my deck. The plant doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. I don’t water it. Normal rainfall alone has kept the plant thriving. I crushed the leaves between my fingers to crack the membrane, then dropped it into my tea. It created a film on top of the tea that mostly likely can be attributed to the oils and other natural parts of the leaves mixing with the liquid.
After letting my tea seep for the normal time frame, I noticed it was a bit too bitter because I had actually let the teabag seep too long. As I sipped the tea, I noticed only a minor hint of sweetness that very much tasted like the Stevia extract packages. However, I was not at all impressed with the level of sweetness it offered. It was barely noticeable and probably wouldn’t be noticeable at all to someone else if they weren’t paying attention.
But alas! As I got towards the bottom of my tea cup, I noticed the sweetness becoming more pronounced until the bitterness of my tea was taken away by the sweetness of the leaf.
1. Stevia leaves can be an effective sweetener for your drinks — but only if executed properly. It’s gonna be trial & error experimentation.
2. You would need to use a heck of a lot more Stevia leaves than what is pictured to actually raise the level of sweetness to satisfactory. This would make for a cup of tea that is so overwhelmed with leaves, it might be difficult to drink.
3. Stevia leaves need a lot of time to infuse into the liquid, which means your drink will be cold by the time the level of sweetness reaches a status of “good enough”.
4. Stevia leaves may be a better option for making a large jug of iced tea that can infuse over a longer period of time — maybe a few hours.
What do you think of my experiment? Although it didn’t quite yield the results I had hoped from, I learned from this and found enjoyment in working with food straight from nature instead of from a package.
Enjoy your tea! Or coffee.
LET’S BE FRIENDS!