Sometimes it’s the simple things in life. I’m not the first one to say that, but I’m the one writing it at this moment. Thanks to the ease of finding information in today’s world, those simple things can get complicated very quickly.
In the case of sweetness in a beverage, my tastebuds perhaps never will mature. In fact, the only two plain drinks I enjoy are milk and water. Anything else — carbonated, extracted, brewed, aged in barrels, must be sweet either by the way it’s made or with an additive. There are a few hard ciders I enjoy that don’t actually taste sweet, but that contain enough sugar to drown out whatever it is that I normally don’t enjoy in beer.
Most of my adult life, I have been disappointed when I enjoy the aroma of a flavored coffee being brewed, or or an herbal tea being steeped, only to have the flavor come nowhere near its equal. It’s normally so far off the mark that I must add sweetener to either, and milk to the coffee.
That’s why I was pleased when I discovered a tea that tastes as delicious as it smells without my adding any sweetener: Celestial Seasonings Cinnamon Apple Spice Herbal Tea. It is caffeine-free and its ingredients are cinnamon, hibiscus, chamomile, natural cinnamon and apple flavors with other natural flavors, roasted chicory, orange peel, and roasted carob.
I thought I had found the perfect drink for me. It’s the parenthesis after “other natural flavors” that caught my eye. It says “contains soy lecithin,” an emulsifier.
Further research revealed that Fooducate, another blog, already had asked Hain Celestial (makers of my new favorite hot beverage) why they use soy lecithin, and whether it is a genetically modified organism (GMO). To sum up, the company answered that it “keeps the ingredients smoothly blended together and prevents clumping,” and also that it “is not from a GMO source.”*
I wondered, though, why ingredients already locked together inside a tea bag need any assistance from an emulsifier. Would “clumping” prevent boiling water from penetrating in the recommended brew time? Wikipedia’s entry regarding soy lecithin states that it “helps complete dispersion in water.” That still doesn’t quite clear it up for me.
Regardless of the answers, I will continue drinking the tea, as it does not contain soy protein, a somewhat controversial ingredient on health-food blogs, whether GMO or not.
I also recommend that you try it if you like cinnamon. If you make it with 8 oz. of boiling water, as suggested, and steep it for six minutes, you can make a very tasty cup of tea. Like mine, your co-workers or family members might ask, “What smells so good?”