Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Worthwhile Wednesday- Substitute Refresher Sweetened with Stevia Extract

So I have a confession to make, I really like the new Starbucks Very Berry Hibiscus Refreshers.

Image Credit: Starbucks

If you haven't heard of the refreshers, these are the new juice drinks that have green coffee extract in them.  I've only tried the one, but I really enjoyed it. The only problem is my wallet doesn't enjoy the daily trips through Starbucks and as someone that enjoys roasting her own coffee it can be especially painful to not be doing it yourself.

After telling my hubby I was going to need a replacement or face finding an extra 20-30 dollars a week feeding my habit, we started looking for some alternatives.

And leave it to my wonderful hubby to save the day!

Image Credit: Tazo Tea

He came home with another Starbucks product- Tazo herbal passion tea.  Now strictly speaking, this isn't a tea at all.  It's really just an herbal drink, but brews in a similar way as tea.

The taste isn't exactly the same and there is no caffeine in this version, but both have a good bit of hibiscus which for me was the main flavor I wanted to recreate. 

It's simple to brew.  Simple pour a quart of boiling water on one bag.  Allow to steep 5 minutes, remove, and then add another quart of cold water.  Store in your fridge.

The price difference is huge.  Consider that you're getting 6 pitchers for $2 more than the one 8 oz drink, it really is astronomical.

Now I like a little sweetner in my tea, I mean I'm southern...but I do not want to add more sugar to my diet.  So I decided to go with stevia extract, since it has been shown to not spike your blood sugar (and zero calories).

My stevia is from a bulk health supplier and contains only stevia.  However, in the future we'll be making our own stevia extract.  My stevia plants are really taking off in this hot, humid weather were having and it's time to get brewing.

If you go the store bought stevia route, please check that what you buy doesn't have other artificial sweetners mixed in with the stevia- sucralose is the usual culprit.

The hard part is knowing how much stevia to put in, too little and the herbal tea is tart, too much and the stevia will have a bitter after taste.  After scouring the internet I started adding 7 drops to each 8 oz glass.  Perfection!  

Now if you want to sweeten your whole pitcher at one time, a good substitute is about 1 teaspoon of stevia for every cup of sugar that you replace.

Serve your glass over ice, with mixed in berries for a cafe flare or....

...just go a little country with a mason jar and a straw.

Side note- The next step for me is to create this tea myself with bulk ingredients.  Any suggestions?

This post is part of Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #36.


Mark Crow said...

It is quite good...and Evie approved!

rebecca said...

We have a stevia plant and just throw a few leaves in with the steeping tea. Just use a few or you will have bitterness.

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