Stop sugar shaming fellow tea drinkers!

Eden Jones
Enterprise Staff Writer

Ah, tea. It’s the essence of every hipster’s silent musings. It’s the number one emergency supply in the lockers of every high school dreamer. 

It’s like liquid poetry to those of us who have the good sense to appreciate the power of raw flavor, gently and lovingly diffused into hot water and steeped for five to seven minutes (or even indefinitely). What true hipster won’t confess to feeling the rush of affection and gratitude at the sight of steam gently curling out of the top of their mug, Hydroflask, or canteen—signaling the prospect of a good, hearty sip of Earl Grey, chai, chamomile, or simple black tea to fuel their late night or early morning inspiration sessions? 

However. I’m afraid I have a bone to pick with these hipsters. Throughout my years of near-daily tea appreciation, it has come to my attention that some of these more “diehard” hipster tea lovers throw askance glances my way when they witness a fellow artist emptying an average of six or seven sugar packets into a steaming Hydroflask. 

In my quest for the perfect cup of sweetened tea, I have heard much criticism from fellow poets, artists, and other would-be tea appreciators who apparently are selective in their appreciation for the beverage. Wrinkle your nose in disgust all you like, but how can you call yourself a true tea appreciator if you are shaming your fellow connoisseurs for the inch or so of honey that inevitably collects at the bottom of their cup? Why should my “hot Kool-aid” be respected any less than your “hot leaf juice?” What gives you the right to refuse me the title of “true hipster” because I prefer to drink my truly preferred beverage, instead of this hot, bland liquid you all refer to as “straight” tea?

Granted, I have enjoyed many a cup of unsweetened tea. I have found that some teas are better with honey rather than sugar, and in certain, rare cases, no sweetener at all is the best flavor compliment to some degree. 

But, in my years of enjoying sweetened tea, few have kept their judgements to themselves, and have thrown criticism my way in terms of side eye, wrinkled noses, and in a few cases, horrified looks when I order a cup of tea brewed with honey at the local tea house. 

I call on hipsters everywhere to end this cycle of sugar shaming, and allow sweet tea drinkers to fall under the stereotype of “true hipster” if desired. We are all artists, poets, creators, and connoisseurs in this world— allow honey poets to perform and play with just as much respect as the rest of you “straight” tea drinkers.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Eden Jones is a 2017 graduate of Park High School and is working as a summer intern at The Livingston Enterprise. She’s expected to begin college this fall at The University of Iowa. She prefers herbal tea.