Did you buy that bottled iced tea because you thought it would be a smart idea to drink something rich with vitamins and antioxidants? That is a good idea, but bottled tea might not be the best way to achieve your noble goal.
Don’t get the wrong idea. Brewed, not bottled, green and black teas have significant health benefits. Research has proven that they contain many antioxidants like polyphenols, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), and catechins, which help to prevent cell damage, aging, and have other disease-fighting properties.
Although many bottled teas are marketed to customers as having enough antioxidants to make a change in their health, studies have concluded that a number of these products have much less than they advertise. And with all of the sugar that's put into the branded bottles, the health benefits out of tea are practically zero.
Polyphenols, which are found in brewed teas, are often scarcely present in bottled teas because they are bitter and unpleasant to our palates. So how do companies remedy this? Manufacturers simply add more water in lieu of tea into their products; to obtain the amount of polyphenols found in one cup of tea you could brew at home, you would have to consume nearly 20 bottled teas. Just imagine all the sugar you would be ingesting!
With this research available to the public, why are bottled teas still so popular? (In 2012, according to Beverage Industry, the ready-to-drink canned and bottled tea category grew 5.1 percent last year to $4.3 million in sales.) Well, to put it simply, bottled teas taste good, and as consumers, and humans, we buy things that we like. Because so many people enjoy these products, companies like Snapple and the AriZona Beverage Company have no need to change their methods of production and marketing.
But here at The Daily Meal, we wanted to put several iced and green tea brands to the test. So Nestea, AriZona, Snapple, Lipton, Teas', Honest Tea, and Tazo products underwent a blind taste test with our editors. Judges of the samples simply based their rankings of the green and iced teas on taste. Was the tea bitter? How was the aftertaste, if it had any? Does it taste like tea — or more like sugary water? Click ahead to find out how the brands ranked in both iced teas and green teas.