The sweetening system used in hot tea and coffee can have an influence on the overall taste profile of the drink, according to new research.
A recent study commissioned by sweetener supplier Nutrinova looked at nine different sweetening systems: sucrose, sucralose and aspartame as single sweeteners, as well as two- and three-way blends with Sunett, a Nutrinova sweetener brand, - all with the equivalent sweetness of 5 per cent sugar.
An independent sensory panel tasted the sweetening systems in instant coffee and tea drinks at 60°C. The beverages were evaluated by Qualitative Descriptive Analysis (QDA), using attributes to characterise the sweetness and flavour profile as well as the mouthfeel.
Nutrinova reports that overall, while Sunett/Aspartame in a ratio of 30/70 proved to be the optimum blend across various flavours, Sunett/Sucralose showed strong potential, producing a good tea or roasted coffee flavour, as well as remaining stable in hot beverages with a higher pH value.
The company claims that a Sunett/Saccharine/Cyclamate blend improved smooth coffee flavour whereas Sunett/Aspartame/NHDC enhanced tea flavour attributes.
"We are delighted that the results of the study have confirmed what we have long suspected, namely that by manipulating the sweetener combination in tea or coffee the flavour significantly changes, so different top notes can be pronounced;" commented Katrin Sälzer, technical marketing manager at Nutrinova.