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Taste test: green tea

Ten years ago, when the Taster's Choice column was launched, we compared the flavors of green tea after brewing and seeping tea bags of each brand. Today, green tea is so popular that several manufacturers sell bottles and jugs of the brews, ready to drink. In fact, we found nine bottled, canned or otherwise pre-made green teas at local grocery stores. The brands had different aromas as well as different colors and strengths. These teas were not for the jolt-seeking tea drinkers. The smooth, green teas were very light and offered less caffeine than black tea.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent


(out of 100)
Snapple 68Gold Peak 66Sweet Leaf


Snapple's green tea was paler and less sweet than some other brands. Judges described it as weak, although they did not object to the lightweight drink. "It tastes like a three-second tea bag dunk," one panelist said, "but the tea has a nice, mild flavor that would be a great drink on a hot day of fishing." Another described it as "A true tea. It has earth notes and bamboo with a hint of sweet and a light, celery color."Apple and pineapple were among the fruity flavors judges detected in this brew. "It looks a bit like unfiltered water, but definitely has some zip," one judge said. Another said, "The light, fruity taste is perfect for summer." Overall, judges said the blend was refreshing.One taster described Sweet Leaf's green tea as clean and transparent "with a grassy background." He liked the freshness of the drink. Another smelled and tasted a pleasing hint of pear in the mixture. "I wouldn't know it was green tea if I were blindfolded," she said. A couple described the flavor as crisp.

they buy?
Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$5.99 for a case of six (16-ounce) bottles from Publix.$1.49 for an 18.5-ounce bottle from Publix.$1.39 for a 16-ounce bottle from Publix.

Also Sampled: Arizona (99 cents for a 23-ounce can from Publix, 57 points); Tazo ($1 for a 13.8-ounce bottle from Fresh Market, 54 points); Honest Tea ($1.69 for a 16.9-ounce bottle from Winn-Dixie, 47 points); Tradewinds ($2 for 1 gallon from Publix, 44 points); Lipton ($1 for a 20-ounce bottle from Publix, 41 points); and SoBe ($1.69 for a 20-ounce bottle from Winn-Dixie, 24 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Wayne Conery, manager of the R Bar in Treasure Island; Kay Studer, personal chef; and Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island. All drinks were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving sizeOne 18.5-ounce bottleOne 16-ounce bottle8 ounces
Fat/Fiber0g / 0g0g / 0g0g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium30g / 10mg35g / 40mg19g / 0mg
Carbs/Protein31g / 0g36g / 0g19g / 0g

Taste test: green tea 08/04/14 [Last modified: Monday, August 4, 2014 7:47pm]
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