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Find the Best Honey for Your Tea – Try These Combinations!

Adding the right kind of honey to your tea invigorates the senses, boosts your sipping satisfaction, and can help with soothing a sore throat.

The store shelves are stocked with what looks like nature’s sweetest nectar. However, not all jars of honey are quite as earthy as their marketing suggests.

Here’s what you need to know about getting the purest dollop before opening your wallet.

Why Typical Honey in the Grocery Isn’t the Best Choice

Picking up a jar of honey during the regular grocery haul seems like the easiest option.

While grocery-store honeys are cheap and easily available, this is a case of getting what you pay for. These honeys aren’t always the best quality. Some actually contain more filler ingredients than actual honey.

In addition, they are often processed so that they don’t provide the same health benefits as the more natural options.

Raw vs. Processed Honey

People are often surprised to discover that there are really two classes of honey. Many decide to “never go back” once they discover just how close to the hive you can get by going raw.

Raw honey preserves more of the pollen, enzymes, and antioxidants that are naturally found in honey.

Choosing between processed and raw honey for your tea adventures comes down to factors like flavor, desired health benefits, and price.

Here is a great video that sums up the differences between raw and processed honey:

Raw Honey vs. Ultra-Processed Store Bought Commercial Honey

What to Consider When Buying Honey for Tea

There are many factors to look at when choosing the best honey for tea. Honeys harvested around the world under different conditions have wildly different flavor profiles.

Take a look at what you need to know before shopping around for honey.

What Type of Tea Are You Drinking?

Honey isn’t a one-size-fits-all taste. The wild streak of honey means that flavors are actually influenced by the local pollination process.

Honeys come in shades that vary from white and light amber to dark amber. You’ll also find color spectrums within those main tones that can appear yellow, green, red, purple, and black.

Honeys can also express spicy, floral, fruity, woody, and grassy notes.

Choosing honey based on the tea you’re drinking can be a true adventure in proper pairing!

Processing and Packaging of the Honey

Raw honey is truly honey as it looks inside the beehive!

It’s made by simply extracting honey from honeycombs. Next, impurities are separated from the honey using a cloth. This ensures that you won’t find wax or discarded bees floating in your jar.

Finally, the honey is strained and bottled to give you a taste that’s as close to nature as possible.

raw honey collected by beekeeper
Raw honey is being collected by a beekeeper

Processed honey undergoes more steps before it gets to your table. Unlike raw honey, processed honey is pasteurized and filtered. This is actually one of the reasons why processed honey has a much longer shelf life than raw honey. By destroying the yeast found naturally in honey using heat, it will keep for longer.

It’s very easy to tell raw and processed honey apart just by looking at the jar. The filtration process makes processed honey very smooth and clear.

By contrast, raw honey can look very rough and thick. You’ll also notice air bubbles in raw honey that aren’t typically present in processed honey. Of course, you can’t just rely on appearance when determining a honey’s quality. Always look at the label.

While raw honey will always be “just” honey, some processed honeys contain unexpected surprises. Many budget honeys actually contain sugar, corn syrup, and other sweeteners to cut costs.

What Raw, Organic and Pure Honey Mean

  • Raw: Pure honey that has not been heated to the point of pasteurization (118 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Pure: Honey that has been heated to the point of pasteurization (118 degrees Fahrenheit) without the addition of any ingredients.
  • Organic: Honey of any kind that is produced from the pollen of organically grown plants without the use of chemical miticides.

Types of Honey and Taste

Taste and health benefits vary based on the type of flower the honey comes from. There are actually dozens of honey varieties that are sourced from around the globe!

While you’d need to be a botanical explorer to taste them all, there are some varieties that are commonly available from stores and online retailers.

manuka honey
Manuka honey is one of the most appreciated in the world

When shopping for honey, you’re likely to come across these varieties:

Manuka: Exclusive to New Zealand and Australia, manuka honey comes from a scrub plant. This honey is praised for its antibacterial properties. It has a medium sweetness and pleasant earthy taste with subtle nutty and woody notes.

Orange Blossom: Harvested from bees that collect nectar and pollen from orange blossoms, this honey is known for its sweet, citrus-infused taste. It has an extremely aromatic and fruity flavor profile. Orange blossom honey is touted as having strong antimicrobial properties that make it a popular holistic treatment for use with wound healing, acne scars, and respiratory infections.

Acacia: Derived from the acacia flower, acacia is a light honey with a light texture. Its mild flavor and floral aroma make it a top pick for people seeking a traditionally sweet flavor. Because of its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, it’s also a popular holistic option for the treatment of infections.

Eucalyptus: Sourced from the nectar of eucalyptus trees, this honey with an herbal flavor is used by people around the world to treat congestion, asthma, coughs, and flu symptoms.

Black Tea and Honey

Black tea is one of the most popular teas due to its many health benefits tied to improving heart health, lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol, improving gut health, balancing blood sugar, lowering blood pressure, and reducing risks for certain cancers.

Black tea’s strong, earthy flavor makes it a great companion to darker honeys.

It requires a stronger-tasting honey that holds its own against the depth of flavor. Look for deeper ambers if black tea is your go-to tea.

Trying to pair black tea with a light, sugary honey may create a mismatched flavor profile.

black tea with honey and lemon
Try adding some manuka honey and a dash of fresh lemon juice to your cup of black tea

Best Honey for Black Tea

Raw Manuka Honey UMF™ 15+ from New Zealand Honey Co. is a beautiful companion for black tea due to its intense flavor. The thickness of the honey helps to give your black tea a coffee-like quality. The thickness also makes the tea feel more satisfying.

New Zealand Honey Co. Raw Manuka Honey UMF 15+

Size: 8.8 ounces (also available in 1.1 lb / 500g jar)

Order directly from New Zealand Honey Co. for free shipping and fast delivery:

Product Highlights:

  • High antibacterial potency (UMF 15+ / 514+ MGO)
  • Beautiful consistency for blending into tea, shakes and more
  • Great value for money
  • Packaged in BPA-free jars
  • Product of New Zealand

Green Tea and Honey

Bursting with bioactive compounds, green tea is credited with helping to burn fat, improve brain function and suppress brain aging.

The grassy, mild flavor of green tea makes it an ideal choice for mild, floral honeys. In fact, the way that a light honey tints the beautiful green hue of green tea to a more nuanced shade is quite lovely to see in your cup.

Avoid spicy or grassy honeys that will bring out the bitterness of green tea.

Best Honey for Green Tea

McCoy’s Honey Florida Orange Blossom Honey is an amazing companion to green tea because of the way its citrus accents help to create a tropical, sunny flavor profile.

This raw honey is a true nectar that brings a beautiful thickness to tea. Made by bees in honey groves, this honey is one of the sweetest you’ll find.

McCoy’s Raw Florida Orange Blossom Honey
  • Amount: 6 lbs
  • Type: Raw Unfiltered Honey

Product Highlights:

  • Produced by bees that live in orange groves
  • 100% made in the U.S.A.
  • Sweet flavor with a hint of citrus

White Tea and Honey

Bursting with antioxidants, white tea is used to help with lowering the risk for insulin resistance, keeping teeth free of bacteria, and reducing the risk of heart disease.

White tea is known for its delicate flavor. While it has a more subdued flavor profile, white tea’s sweet, floral notes populate your taste buds slowly to reveal a collection of ultra-subtle flavors.

White tea actually pairs beautifully with mildly floral honeys, such orange blossom or wildflower honey, the same way that green tea does. Unlike the way they balance out the grassy flavor of green tea, floral honeys help draw out the floral flavor undertones in white teas.

Ginger Tea and Honey

Ginger tea is a popular “health aid” due to its high concentration of antioxidants. In studies, ginger tea has been linked with better digestion, nausea reduction, headache reduction, and cancer prevention.

Ginger is praised for delivering a bit of “bite” to the tongue. Ginger’s strong, earthy and spicy flavor profile actually creates a bit of a challenge when it comes to finding a tea that can compete without distracting from the flavor.

ginger tea honey

Take a look at my favorite ginger tea brands to find the best option to pair with your honey.

Super Healthy Ginger and Honey Combo

Pairing ginger tea with a healthy powerhouse like Raw Manuka Honey UMF™ 24+ from New Zealand Honey Co. creates a very tummy-friendly drink. Like ginger tea, manuka honey is associated with better digestion due to its ability to promote gut health.

In addition, manuka honey is known for its antiviral and wound-healing benefits.

The intense flavor of manuka simply holds its own against the strong taste of ginger instead of fading into the background like some other honeys.

New Zealand Honey Co. Raw Manuka Honey UMF 24+

Size: 8.8 ounces (also available in 1.1 lb / 500g jar)

Order directly from New Zealand Honey Co. for free shipping and fast delivery:

Product Highlights:

  • One of the highest grades of manuka honey on the market
  • Super high antibacterial potency (UMF 24+ / MGO 1122+)
  • Graded based on UMF Honey Association criteria
  • Uses BPA-free recycled packaging
  • Product of New Zealand

Jasmine Tea and Honey

Jasmine green tea combines the earthy flavor of green tea with undeniable floral undertones.

Jasmine green tea has a standard green tea base. That means that it offers all the same health benefits as green tea!

However, it’s grown to have a fresh floral finish that counteracts the bitterness of green tea. In fact, many people credit this tea with having a perfumed aroma.

Jasmine tea tastes exceptional with a mild floral honey. In fact, going with a bolder honey helps to draw out the fragrant characteristics of this tea.

Options like orange blossom honey and acacia honey create a sweet, exotic flavor that transcends the notion of what tea should be!

Peppermint Tea and Honey

The natural menthol in peppermint gives peppermint tea a minty, cool taste with a mildly sweet bite. The mouth, lips, nose, and throat enjoy a cooling sensation that leaves the taste buds tingling after every sip.

Peppermint tea is generally regarded as a refreshing, airy tea that is commonly used as a digestive aid. People also use mint tea to improve energy, reduce nausea, unclog the sinuses and soothe a sore throat.

The same mechanism that allows mint tea to prevent the muscles in the digestive system from contracting may also be helpful for relieving some types of headaches. There’s even strong evidence that peppermint tea can help to fight bacterial infections. Of course, some people simply like peppermint tea for its ability to freshen breath!

peppermint tea

Peppermint tea’s invigorating flavor actually makes it a great companion to almost any type of honey. You can choose to play up the sweetness with a sweet, floral honey. You can also draw out the zesty notes with a dark honey.

Generally, orange blossom, eucalyptus, and manuka are considered the best matches for peppermint tea.

Tea and Honey – Final Thoughts

Experimentation can be the best part of finding the best honey for tea. While there are some general rules about pairings, the truth is that a good match always starts with quality.

You’re going to get strong, potent flavors with maximum health benefits when you opt for high-quality, carefully sourced honeys and teas for creating your custom elixirs.

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