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Stevia as a sweetner for coffee and tea?


Richard Kilgore
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In another topic, v. gautam posted an aside reagarding stevia.

.............

I found a curious thing and don't know if others have noticed this: for me Stevia utterly destroys any flavor, from tea & coffee to strawberries, in hot or cold liquids. It completely kills anything worth tasting, leaving a wasteland in its wake. I was unpleasantly surprised with my first experience of Stevia sweetener; perhaps this is just my own peculiarity?

Anyone else have this experience?

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Unless there are specific dietary reasons for not using sugar, why would anyone bother with this garbage?  The calories it saves are inconsequential.

If we're just talking about a cup of coffee, then the calories are relatively inconsequential. Sugar has something like 16 calories per teaspoon and there are only so many teaspoons a person is going to put into a cup of coffee (though I've seen some impressive feats in this regard). But if we're talking about replacing sugar and high-fructose corn syrup entirely, then that's a few hundred calories per average American per day. Not inconsequential, especially if there's a substitute that tastes just as good.

Stevia, to me, tastes kind of weird. Of the fake sugars, Splenda/Sucralose is the one that is most convincing to me. The argument for Stevia is that it's natural, whatever that means. All of the fake sugars fail miserably, in my experience, where sugar is a structural element as opposed to just a sweetener. For example in chocolate, ice cream, etc. But for simple sweetening, Splenda does a pretty good job.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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It has no calories.

Correct...but what's your point?

Unless there are specific dietary reasons for not using sugar, why would anyone bother with this garbage?  The calories it saves are inconsequential.

If we're just talking about a cup of coffee, then the calories are relatively inconsequential. Sugar has something like 16 calories per teaspoon and there are only so many teaspoons a person is going to put into a cup of coffee (though I've seen some impressive feats in this regard). But if we're talking about replacing sugar and high-fructose corn syrup entirely, then that's a few hundred calories per average American per day. Not inconsequential, especially if there's a substitute that tastes just as good.

But I don't think we are; the topic is sweetening coffee and tea.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I used to use it for sweetened tea. It has its own distinguishable flavor that no longer sits well for me. I was using it for some of the health properties it was touted to have in conjunction with the addition of FOS - Frutafit Inulin Fiber - beneficial bacteria to help the immune system, help control the formation of free radicals, improve regularity. I think continuing studies are concluding that FOS isn't all that.

I don't use any of the non-sugar sweeteners, unless you count honey and molasses. And those don't generally go into my tea or coffee.

On the other hand, it was fun to grow stevia, but I had no idea what to do with the leaves. Plant is long gone.

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I would never refer to Stevia as garbage. Stevia is extremely beneficial to diabetics and others who are insulin sensitive, in that it flat-lines at -0- on the Glycemic index. Splenda / sucralose is chlorinated. Stevia is derrived from a plant, which makes it vegan-friendly, as well as having -0- carbs and -0- calories.

There are a number of factors to keep in mind when using it.

The flavor profile of stevia can greatly vary from brand to brand. I've personally tested a dozen different brands and was very surprised at how vastly different they were. I found Nu Naturals to be one of the best. "Now" foods also produces a very good one as well.

You can purchase stevia in three different forms. The most natural and at the same time least satisfactory is the powdered green leaf, which has a bitter after-taste (15 - 30x sweeter than sucrose). You can buy stevia in liquid form, as well as the most common form, a refined, white extract.

Depending on if and how it has been "cut", refined Stevia can be 200-300x sweeter than sugar. Although many companies will package stevia in "single-serving" packets, this -does not- mean that you need an entire packet for your needs. Sometimes, even a quarter of a packet will do the trick.

Some folks are "hypertasters", in that the bitter flavor profile is strongly exacerbated for them. Recurring palate descriptors such as "bitter" & "metallic" can be indicators.

Interestingly enough, if consumed on a regular basis, the palate will eventually acclimate to the bitter notes in a specific flavor profile, in which it was initially detected (think Campari). While I'm far from diabetic, I have noticed that I've become more sensitive to sugar as I've gotten older, so I like to pick and choose when I'm going to consume it (can you say, "Daiquiri"). With that said, I have been consuming stevia in my coffee for quite some time now, and the initial bitterness I detected has now pretty much disappeared. I also believe that the addition of milk (and more precisely, it's fat content) will certainly help temper bitterness--whether stevia or the other stuff. Adversely, the bitter compounds in black coffee could certainly exacerbate stevia's bitterness, but I also believe that to be true of artificial sweetners as well.

Audrey

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I find the flavor profile of Stevia rather bizarre, and I agree that it has a bad affect upon flavor. I'd love to find an all natural substitute to faux sugars, but Stevia strikes me as a lousy trade off.

I recall trying a Stevia variety in India that was acceptable. I should look up the name of it.

I am unfortunately addicted to artificial sweeteners. Indeed, "real" sugar in my tea or coffee strikes me as just too weak. There's probably a way to untrain myself from what is indeed a lousy habit but I haven't been able to summon up the will...

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