Tea is one of nature’s finest works – a beautifully brew-able leaf that produces a potent or soothing brew, depending on its processing. Honey is another superstar of the natural world, gathered with great effort and care by hardworking bees. Together, they make a warm, comforting cuppa that is, both flavor-wise and chemically, more than the sum of its delightful parts. You’ve heard of honey in its familiar liquid form being added to tea – particularly in conjunction with lemon for stubborn colds and sore throats - but what about honeycomb?
The True Flavor Of Honey
Honey in its familiar liquid form on store shelves has usually been processed. In the case of some unscrupulous honey sellers, it may have even been adulterated with sugar syrup or corn syrup, artificial flavors, and coloring. Even if a bottle of honey is true, genuine honey, it has still undergone heating and processing that may have damaged or removed some of its nutritional benefits. When added to something with a reasonably strong flavor, such as a cup of hot tea, the taste buds will generally be none the wiser that they’ve been fooled.
When honey is still in the natural comb, it is effectively packaged by nature herself and offers the fearless honey-lover a delicious taste of “the good stuff.” In addition to being true, genuine honey, (complete honeycombs can’t be “faked” or diluted as liquid honey can) it also offers the most accurate tasting experience. Each octagonal comb cell acts as a little bottle of honey, preserving its natural flavors and nuances in a wax container with the same flavors and nuances.
Not only do these wax cells protect against humidity and moisture in the hive, but they also carry the antibacterial and anti-fungal properties of beeswax and propolis. This construction keeps the honey safe to eat after the comb is cut away. Imagine if food or drink packaging was entirely edible, and not only continued to boost the flavor and trace elements of the edible products inside but added health benefits all by itself. That’s honeycomb in a waxy nutshell – and it’s only a handful of the many reasons it’s so popular.
Using Honeycomb In Your Tea
If you’re already familiar with adding honey to your tea and want to try something different, a honeycomb snack offers an entirely new sensation in a drink. Because it’s so flavor-filled and nuanced, it’s best to start your sippable journey with a small piece of raw honeycomb. Here are some general culinary guidelines to follow when indulging in this heavenly pairing:
Step 1: Brew your tea as you normally do, but take care to keep it at around 105 degrees or below.
If you don’t have a food thermometer handy, a good rule of thumb is if it’s too hot to keep a sip in your mouth for a few seconds, it needs more cooling time. While hotter tea will dissolve both honey and honeycomb, the high heat may also break down beneficial nutrients in the honey and comb.
Step 2: Decide how to add your honeycomb.
Most comb enthusiasts will just pop a small piece of the comb into their tea directly. Luckily, Pass The Honey is conveniently cut into small bite-size pieces to make this as easy as possible for you! If you’d like to keep the wax contained as much as possible while still enjoying the benefits of off-the-comb honey, you could also pop your honeycomb slice into a disposable tea bag.
Note: tea steeping balls and reusable tea infusers are not recommended for containing your honeycomb, as the liquid wax may cool and solidify into the hard-to-clean steeping holes. But our founder's mother, Jeanne, has the perfect solution: use a disposable paper tea steeper instead.
Step 3: Allow a few moments for the comb to begin melting.
You’ll notice the waxy tops of the honeycomb cells start to melt away, allowing the sweet honey inside to flow into your tea. Resist the urge to stir or agitate right away: good honey will “steep” into your tea the same way tea leaves are steeped into water. We recommend you avoid using milk products in your honeycomb tea, as the cold temperature of the milk entering the hot tea may cause the wax particles to bunch up.
Step 4: Stir away.
Honeycomb can and will cause your tea to become cloudy – this isn’t dangerous or harmful in any way and is completely edible. The cloudiness comes from the dissolved beeswax in the translucent tea, what you’re seeing is the tiny dissolved wax particles. Yes, this is entirely safe to drink! If you aren’t a fan of the taste or texture, the dissolved beeswax can simply be skimmed off the top with a spoon and set aside.
If you don’t drink the dissolved comb wax in your tea, don’t toss the leftover beeswax: it has a number of household benefits and is generally handy to have around. If it’s a bit crumbly or hard to contain, it can be popped into a plastic bag and allowed to sit in hot water until it’s malleable into a useful ball or chunk.
Whether you choose to enjoy this honeycomb snack in a warm cup of tea or serve it on your next charcuterie board, it will be a delicious addition packed with flavor and nutrients. And be sure to thank the bees while you’re savoring their creation!
- “Can You Put Honeycomb In Tea? Here’s How To Use It Safely.”Coffee and Tea Corner.com, (no publish date), https://coffeeandteacorner.com/honeycomb-in-tea/. Accessed August 27, 2019.
- “Eating Raw Honey.”Whole Foods Living.blogspot.com, (no publish date), http://wholefoodsliving.blogspot.com/2012/04/eating-raw-honey.html. Accessed August 27, 2019.
- “How to Use & Consume Honeycomb.”Pass The Honey.com, (no publish date), https://passthehoney.com/pages/how-to-use-honeycomb-in-your-daily-life. Accessed August 27, 2019.