Bottled Tea Taste Test

With the recent and absolutely welcomed flurry of small companies producing bottled tea, consumers are left with a paradox of choice. Since most of these brands don’t have the exorbitant marketing budgets of the national “tea-flavored-sugar-water” brands , we decided to go our local Wegmans and explore the new and exciting world of craft brewed teas.

Inkos: Original White Tea

 

inkos

Company info and mission:
In 2002, the founders of Inko’s Tea wanted to bring a “better” tea to the marketplace. The problem was that most teas were too sweet, loaded with sugar or “diet” with that super artificial taste. They chose all natural sweeteners and hand-picked white tea strictly from the Fujian province due to its subtle taste and widely known health benefits.

Ingredients:
Organic Brewed White Tea (filtered water, organic Silver Needle White Tea, organic White Peony Tea) organic cane sugar, organic ginger extract, natural flavor, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), organic stevia, organic honey.

Taste:
With 14g of sugar, Inkos’ original white tea has just the right amount of sweetness for a casual tea drinker. The crisp and refreshing taste definitely makes this tea a formidable and healthy alternative to the national brands.

Cost:
$1.49

 

Honest Tea: Heavenly Lemon Tulsi Herbal Tea

Honest tea

Company info and mission:
Founded in 1997 and partially purchased by Coca Cola in 2011, Honest Tea’s mission is to create and promote great-tasting, healthier, organic fair-trade beverages.

Ingredients:
Filtered water, fair trade certified™ organic cane sugar, organic lemon juice from concentrate, organic herbal blend (organic rooibos, organic lemon grass, organic tulsi, organic lemon peel, organic lemon myrtle), organic lemon extract.

Taste:
Somehow, Honest Tea tastes “a tad sweet” even with 15g of sugar. The tulsi with aromatic lemon peel, lemon myrtle and lemon grass creates a surprising pleasant and undeniably Indian sensation. Tulsi, also known as “holy basil,” is a caffeine-free herb that has long been revered in its native India as a balm for mind, body and spirit.

Cost:
$1.29

 

Ayala’s Herbal Tea: Peppermint Melissa Spearmint

Ayala

Company info and mission:
Ayala’s Herbal Water makes zero calorie flavored water by infusing organic herbal extracts in pure Shenandoah Valley water. They use no sugar, no sweeteners, no preservatives, and no additives of any kind.

Ingredients:
Purified water, organic peppermint, melissa and spearmint flavor, organic annatto color, fruit and vegetable juice for color, and natural flavor.

Taste:
The peppermint and melissa, also know as lemon balm, provides an enjoyable gentle minty and lemony flavor. Although wildly refreshing with zero grams of sugar, this drink is more of a fancy infused spa water than a cold brewed tea.

Cost:
$1.69

Guayaki: Yerba Mate

yerba mate

Company info and mission:
Guayaki’s goal is to make organic, fair-trade yerba mate the mainstream energy source of choiceTheir mission is to steward and restore 200,000 acres of South American Atlantic rainforest and create over 1,000 living wage jobs by 2020.

Yerba mate (yer-bah mah-tay) is made from the naturally caffeinated leaves of the South American rainforest holly tree. For centuries, South America’s Aché Guayakí tribe have sipped yerba mate for its rejuvenative effects. The leaves of the rainforest mate tree naturally contain 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, abundant antioxidants.

Ingredients:
Purified water, Yerba Mate blend, organic cane sugar, organic lemon juice concentrate and citric acid.

Taste:

With 20g of sugar and added lemon concentrate, Guayaki’s Yerba Mate tastes like many of the national tea brands with the caveat of an earthy aftertaste. Consumers looking for an alternative to coffee will be pleased by this sweet, tart and earthy ancient beverage.

Cost:
$2.29

Teas’ Tea: Lemongrass Green Tea

teas-tea

Company info and mission:
Founded in 2001 with the mission of establishing a culture and interest in authentic green tea in the United States, Teas’ Tea offers natural, unsweetened bottled green tea.

Ingredients:
Purified Water, green tea, dried lemongrass, ascorbic acid

Taste:
The lack of sweetness allows tea lovers to enjoy a crisp and fresh tasting pure tea. However, the same earthy and slightly bitter lemongrass flavor that will delight herbal tea lovers, will likely disgust casual tea drinkers. Consumers should be very aware of what kind of tea drinker they are before purchasing this tea.

Cost:
$1.99

Runa Clean Energy: Hibiscus Berry

runa

Company info and mission:
Founded in 2009, Runa was inspired by the Kichwa people in the Ecuadorian Amazon, who for generations have enjoyed guayusa – a naturally caffeinated tree leaf brewed like tea, consumed early in the morning to help interpret dreams and late at night to provide energy and clarity while hunting in the jungle.

Ingredients:
Brewed organic guayusa (purified water and organic guayusa leaves), organic guayusa aroma, organic cane sugar, brewed organic hibiscus (purified water and organic hibiscus flowers), organic blueberry flavor, organic yumberry flavor, citric acid, ascorbic acid.

Taste:
Much like Yerba mate, guayusa can provide an alternative to popular energy drinks.  Runa’s hibiscus berry provides a highly complex and somewhat overwhelming combination of an initially pleasurable floral aroma from hibiscus flowers followed by tartness from the berries, bitterness from the guayusa and 11g of sweetness from the cane sugar.

Cost:
$1.69

Blue Buddha: Radiance

buddha-bottle

Company info and mission:
Inspired by Ayurveda and created by a yoga teacher, Blue Buddha blends herbs with tea to help support mind and body with essences of fruits and flowers for a delicious taste.

Ingredients:
Brewed caffeine-free green tea (purified water, organic fair trade certified green tea leaves, organic green tea essence), organic fair trade certified cane sugar, organic blueberry juice concentrate, organic lemon juice concentrate, organic blueberry and organic wildberry flavors, sensara® (ashwagandha and indian gooseberry extracts), wellbody 365tm (ashwagandha and maitake extracts) and organic pyure® stevia extract.

Taste:
The blueberry flavored sweetened green tea provides a smooth and light taste that can be enjoyed by traditional and casual tea drinkers alike.  Nine grams of sugar and and an interesting blend of well known Ayurvedic herbs makes Blue Buddha a relatively guilt free treat on a hot summer’s day.

Cost:
$1.99

Do you have a favorite bottled tea? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments.

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