I am not super accepting of what’s happening here, since it’s 90 today and feels more summery than a lot of this summer has. But, it’s September now and the kids are back in school and Labor Day is looming. Summer’s heading out.
As I crack another bottle of the beverage I’ve been sipping every day, it occurred to me that 2015 has been my Summer of Tea. If you know me at all, you know that I have a strong aversion to caffeine and caffeine-bearing drinks. Migraines mean I can’t participate in the Coffee Juggernaut that is our current beverage culture, so I’ve turned my life over to tea and the tolerable levels of caffeine it contains. I make a great pitcher of sun tea, and now, fridge tea. But I’ve found that, this summer, I’ve tried nearly every bottled ice tea that has crossed my path. Countless airport newstands and office cafes have offered up teas for my consumption, and oh, have I consumed. So, what better way to memorialize my Summer of Tea than by ranking…
The Bottled Ice Teas of 2015! …and one extra.
Pure Leaf – funky aftertaste, tastes like bad flat Coke maybe? I am drinking this right now and the more I drink it, the more it tastes like it was brewed in an old pork and beans can. A quick query with Uncle Google tells me Pure Leaf is, made by PepsiCo. Well, well.
Steaz – just don’t. There’s no reason.
Gold Peak – Inoffensive, much like slightly flavored water, so it’s hydrating at least. This is in a lot of fast casual restaurants these days, I guess because it’s made by Coca Cola? Decent, in a pinch.
Arizona – I like the plum green tea, but it’s basically plum green tea KoolAid. There isn’t much tea to speak of. Still, pretty tasty if you’re in the mood for a sort of grown up Hi-C situation.
Any iced tea pod that goes in a Keurig – terrible.
Argo Tea – The bottled version, which I was surprised to find at my local Target, suffers from the same thing teas in their shops do – SWEEEET. The Carolina Honey is the weirdest sour/sweet combo with a strong faux-honey taste. It also comes in this jar thing with a huge, wide mouth, which, unless you have a huge, wide mouth, is an awkward drinking experience.
Marley’s Mellow Mood Tea – Oh my god, this stuff should maybe need a prescription for purchase. One sip and I am all zzzzzzz. But it’s actually tasty, too.
Tradewinds Tea – As far as I can tell, they only come in a gallon jug and I’m not investing in that. But it’s pretty tasty, as gallons of tea go.
Sweet Leaf – Nice, I think. It’s been a while since I’ve had one of these. I think it was fine. Pretty sure.
Snapple Straight Up Tea – Snapple is an old favorite of mine. I still miss the pink lemonade they replaced with a kiwi thing (kiwis are of the devil). I don’t love their regular teas – they’re so sweet. But I found this new Straight Up Tea last week and it’s not bad at all, tastes kind of like brewed tea. The slightly sweet was nice. I categorically avoid sweet teas, which are becoming a thing around here.
Teas’Tea – Oh god yes. Every variety has made me happy. The green tea tastes like green tea! Most have that good, slightly astringent flavor that tea should have, without feeling like you’re rinsing your mouth with witch hazel.
Honest Tea – One of the best out there. Every time I find this stuff – and it’s not often enough – I buy buy buy. The green tea has actual flavor. Even the sweetened ones are refreshing and lovely. 10/10 will drink again.
…and finally, my unicorn of teas:
TeaNY – Moby’s line of bottled teas. Pretty much the best I’ve ever had. Best. I found it in corner store in NYC, summer 2008. Never had it again as it doesn’t seem to be out west here. Actually cannot find it anywhere online either. I maybe imagined it? Entirely possible as it was a hot summer in New York and I was kind of starry-eyed and confused. Either way, I will long for it forever. Moby, can you hear me?
There you have it. So, go drink up the last of summer with this vintage Lipton commercial. Quench, my friends.