Bottled Iced Teas with Lemon

Published August 1, 2009. From Cook's Country.

We were looking for iced teas that actually tasted like tea. Could any deliver?

Overview:

Americans’ love of tea has blossomed in recent years, bringing new bottled iced varieties onto shelves and prompting familiar brands to revamp their formulas. We tasted seven top-selling brands of sweetened black teas with lemon, and not surprisingly, iced teas that actually tasted like tea (and real lemon) received the highest marks. The top performers extract flavor from concentrated tea leaves. Several brands we liked less use instant tea and seemed muddled. Tasters also liked balance. Our results didn’t correlate with the total amount of sugar; rather, teas with too little citric acid came across as “lemon candy” and teas with too much as “too acidic.”

Americans’ love of tea has blossomed in recent years, bringing new bottled iced varieties onto shelves and prompting familiar brands to revamp their formulas. We tasted seven top-selling brands of sweetened black teas with lemon, and not surprisingly, iced teas that actually tasted like tea (and real lemon) received the highest marks. The top performers extract flavor from concentrated tea leaves. Several brands we liked less use instant tea and seemed muddled. Tasters also liked balance. Our results didn’t correlate with the total amount of sugar; rather, teas with too little citric acid came across as “lemon candy” and teas with too much as “too acidic.”

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