Sweetening tea naturally and frugally with stevia herb

For many years, I have drank all kinds of "teas" -- black, green, white, and herbal -- without sweetener. I always figured the added calories and negative health effects just weren't worth it! :)
 
I do still prefer most of my teas unsweetened, but I recently discovered a natural way to sweeten my tea as I brew it: Stevia leaf! :)
Dried Stevia Leaves

Here is my dried stevia leaf! A little goes a long way when using to sweeten herbal teas.

You can get a whole pound of dried stevia leaf from Mountain Rose Herbs for $9 (or you can order as little as 4 ounces for only $3.25).*

You can use stevia in more ways than just to sweeten teas, but since it is much sweeter than table sugar, a pound will go a long way! (A pound of dried herbs is also a large bag full!!)

Stevia and chrysanthemum

A small bag of dried stevia leaf, and a bag of chrysanthemum buds, which combined make a delightful herbal tea! :) I've been experimenting with the amount of sweetness I prefer, as well as which herbal tea combinations taste best with stevia.

Stevia and chrysanthemum herbal tea

Brewing loose leaf herbal teas using herbs purchased in bulk is a very affordable way to drink tea! I probably get upwards of 60 cups of tea per pound of herbs. Using bulk dried herbs is frequently a much higher-quality tea than purchasing bagged teas, especially the cheaper brands of bagged teas.

Mountain Rose Herbs has a page about brewing teas which I found interesting. They estimate 40-60 cups of tea per pound, depending on how strong or weak you prefer your tea. (I like to drink many cups of weaker tea each day!)

Having a good tea strainer is essential for making loose leaf tea without a lot of bother and mess. You can use mesh strainers that lift in and out of your cup or pot (like this tea ball -- a lot of mess in my experience, or this mesh strainer).

But I really love my ingenuiTEA teapot (which I won, but would purchase if mine ever broke!). There are other similarly-functioning devices out there as well. I love the ingenuiTEA tea pot and use it multiple times a day; I did a video review of it a couple years ago (link to the video is in this post). :)

*Full disclosure, as usual: Ordering through my affiliate links to Mountain Rose Herbs does send 15% back to us. I recommend Mountain Rose Herbs since they have the best affordable organic herbs and ingredients I've seen so far! They are highly recommended. :)

I'd love to hear...

What are your favorite bulk herb combinations?

Do you have any recommended teaware?

If you sweeten your tea, what do you like to use? :)

Comments

Most of family uses Stevia in our tea. I love it that it goes such a long way! You have to be careful not to add to much or it might have a slightly bitter taste.

I've just been delving into making my own medicinal teas, using herbs from Mt Rose Herbs. I've been very satisfied with their products -- a pound really does go a long way!

lizzykristine @ Uplifted Eyes
http://lizzykristine.blogspot.com

Here are all my posts about tea...it includes recipes, gadgets, and more....
http://whatscooking4us.blogspot.com/search/label/Tea

Thank you so much! :D I love reading about tea... :D

stevia is also a natural contraceptive... don't take it if you plan on having more kids!

The contraceptive side effects of stevia are highly debatable; I don't believe that normal dosages of stevia in humans have ever been shown to have such an effect. Feel free to link to studies if you believe otherwise though! :)

I've never heard this before. Stevia has been used as a sweetener by traditional cultures for centuries.

Would love to see some links/sources.

Thanks for this artical.My children and I love herbal tea.I also have been looking for a source that I can buy stevia from that isn`t expensive.I will definatly check the site out! Thanks so much Tammy!! Blessings,Toni

I just received my ingenuiTEA today. My son (7yr10m) and I LOVE it!! I just stared drinking hot tea about 1 month ago and have fallen in love with it. And thanks to you Tammy I've learned more than I ever would about tea.

Adagio Teas has a great offer right now - The ingenuiTEA, 4 tea samples (you choose), a "guide to tea" book and a "birthday" tea sample for just $19 ($22.75 with shipping).

Oh, how exciting! :) The ingenuiTEA just makes loose tea so EASY. :) I still like some bagged teas, but unfortunately unless I'm willing to buy bagged teas that cost 50 cents or more per bag, the quality isn't as good as brewing loose tea/herbs purchased in bulk. :)

I was just at the Adagio website and saw that they had a sampler pack -- something like $29 for an ingenuiTEA, 8 small tins of tea, and some other stuff. That would definitely make a good gift for a tea lover! :)

Tammy, thanks for posting this. I sweeten my coffee every morning with stevia (the powder) -- but I never thought of brewing tea with the dried stevia leaves. Stevia grows pretty well in my garden.

I will try this!

Hi Tammy,

Is this your Kitchen Tip Tuesday post? Because I didn't see Mr. Linky...?

Thanks,
Kelly

No, this isn't my kitchen tip for the week... the kitchen tip is yet to come. :D

I'll agree that one pound of tea is quite a bit--my midwife was amazed at the amount of pregnancy tea you suggested I get. ;-) I'll admit that I had half a pound left after all was said and done. :-) I passed it on to another expecting mom. <3

I do buy bulk teas but my usual tea brand is Republic of Tea. The cans run around $8 - $10 for 50 bags, and is delicious.

I have a brewer similar to yours (different brand) and I love it, but the last time I ran out of bulk black tea I didn't buy any more, and have been using up some different bagged teas I already had. I agree, though, that loose tea tastes best.

I don't drink a lot of herbal tea. I did buy some red raspberry leaf (loose) but have not enjoyed it--I have enough left for one more pitcher of iced tea and then it will be gone, thankfully! I know it's good for us pregnant ladies but I just don't *like* it.

I would also be intersted in more information that backs up the statement that stevia is a natural contraceptive. If that is the case, is it really safe for children?? I am definitely going to do some research on this. I have never used it before and have only read about it on this website.

Jean

Jean, stevia is used around the world and has been used for a long time. (Joshua has done more extensive research into it and could give all the "where's" and "when's"!)

Honestly, I debated about whether or not I should have approved the anonymous one-sentence comment about stevia being a contraceptive. People who are not willing to leave their name or any references to where they are getting their info -- particularly info that I can't seem to find validation for elsewhere -- aren't usually a very credible source.

That said, researching everything is great and I am a huge proponent of being informed and educated! :D Feel free come back and share what you come up with! :)

My hubby and I have gotten hooked on loose leaf tea too! There is a tea shop not too far from here where we get ours.
We usually sweeten with liquid stevia- I bought some on Amazon when one particular brand was on sale for $2/bottle. I think even now its only $4. We tried the powder but it didn't dissolve in liquid well- I never thought to just use the leafs though. We do have some flavored stevias that we like a lot.

Hi Tammy

I recently purchased Stevia in the powder packets. I read reviews and then found that while the first sip was good, there was a horrible aftertaste.

Have you ever used the powder and if so do you find the dried herb to taste better than the powder(I'm sure it probably does)

I'm going to have to look into a Stevia plant since someone posted it grew well in her garden, after I try it dried of course.

Thanks for such an informative post. I enjoy your blog and recipes a lot and appreciate the work that goes into this site.

I use a little stevia powder + some honey crystals (or sometimes called honey granules).

Is there a difference in taste between the leaf itself and the powdered stevia?

I'm not sure on the taste difference. I like stevia; Joshua doesn't like it as much as I do. Maybe my nose is not as sensitive!

I do think brewing the leaves in with the tea leaves is easier than trying to stir in the right amount of dried powdered stevia. It's also less processed! :)

I've been wanting to try it but wondered about it and had been too lazy to look up info ;-)
-Donna-

Is it hard to use for sweetening other things when using leaves...I can't imagine it would work well in a smoothie or baked goods....

I like red clover and peppermint. I haven't ever looked for it already blended. I got used to drinking it homemade and nothing else seems to compare. (DH's grandmother used to grow and sow and dry her own clover and peppermint and make tea with it.) I use raw honey to sweeten my tea, but am falling out of love with it...it seems to take so much. I'll be checking out the Stevia. Thanks for the heads up.

Thanks for the red clover and peppermint combo suggestion! I'll have to remember that. :)

I was just wondering. Since it is a leaf...do you just throw it in with your tea leaves and brew it that way? I would love to get one of those tea brewers and get some fresh tea leaves. I am inspired. Thanks.

I've used Stevia for 5 years now - LOVE the stuff. It is NOT a natural contraceptive. I have read the story behind that one - the sugar people fed HUGE amounts to rats and they didn't reproduce (they were hoping for cancer or something, but it's the best they could come up with) ... so the author of one of the books I researched (I think he is the owner of Sweetleaf and has done more research on Stevia than about anybody - but I'm not sure because that was 5 years ago and I read around 20 books!) decided to repeat the experiment on himself. He used something like 4 TBS of the leaf to a cup of tea (nobody in there right mind would use that much!) by adjusting the amount they used in the experiment to his own weight - he was sick for most of the rest of the day. His conclusion was that the rats didn't FEEL like reproducing. LOL... especially since the natives in Paruaguy (spelling?) drink the stuff all the time and have LOTS of children.

What Stevia WILL do for you ... regulate the pancreas and thereby your blood sugar. IF you are diabetic, watch your numbers carefully as it will affect them. I tested marginal for gestational diabetes - by eleminating all grains and sugars and drinking stevia water - I elemenated all symptoms of it within 2 weeks when they had me do the extensive test.

Stevia will help regulate your blood pressure. It will raise lower pressue and lower high blood pressure - and I've used this trick to keep my blood pressure down during pregnancies too.

It facilitates healing in deep tissues, muscle, cartlidge, and tendons. My mom fell and hurt her back really bad - the chiropractor suggested therapy and 4 sessions a week and said it would take 4 - 6 weeks for her to be back on her feet - and 12 weeks to recovery with expected pain up to a year. I told her to stop with the cokes and drink Stevia water ... within a week she was walking around - though still in pain. The chiropractor was so amazed that he ran a second set of Xrays at his expense and was shocked at the difference! She was back to "normal" in a bit over 3 weeks - a full 9 weeks ahead of what he expected. An added bonus was her hair was thicker and people were asking her if she colored her hair and what she was using on her skin, because it looked so much more youthful.

However - this is a plant. And I know of at least 2 people who have had mild allergic reactions to it.

There is some great information about stevia on the websites = www.mercola.com = www.curezone.com .. (which has gotten suffisticated lately and has less info on stevia than it use to - I just checked.) = www.sweetleaf.com.

I can't locate the book list that I read (use to be on curezone) - but Amazon has several of them on it's first page when I did a book search on just Stevia. I just did an InterLibrary Loan for most of them.

Does anyone know where one could buy the plants or seeds to grow this in one's garden.
My husband is diabetic and we have been using xylitol, but it is rather expensive when you sweeten a gallon of tea at a time. (I am a southern girl, and we must have our sweet tea. I usually brew a gallon a day. So using xylitol can become rather expensive.

Anyone know where to purchase the "dried stevia leaves"?

I bought my plant at Lowes in the garden center where the herbs are.

I'm not sure about buying dried leaves, but I know if you check at a greenhouse/nursery near where you live there's a fairly good chance of finding some of the plants this time of year. I used to work in a greenhouse around here (I'm near Virginia Beach) and I know we constantly had Stevia plants.

I bought a stevia plant from grower's exchange. They have a lot of herbs and plants that you can't find anywhere else. It's so easy - they ship it right to you.
The stevia making this one person miraculously better is, i'm sure, just a coincidence.

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