April 14, 2013

The Great Tea Taste-off

I've been trying to get away from soda, from caffeine, but struggled to find a good replacement beverage. I can drink a ton of water when I'm working out, but apparently not when I'm just working.

Also, I've started to follow the Atkins plan, which for me has created a side effect of dry eyes every hour or two, unless I am really well hydrated. The dry eyes are extremely uncomfortable, so this is probably the best thing to ever happen to me. I *MUST* drink quarts and quarts of liquid a day in order to prevent that discomfort. Everyone knows you're supposed to drink a ton of water to help lose weight. Voila! I can't NOT.

Hi, by the way. I've missed you all.

So. Trying to walk away from caffeine and soda, while not feeling forced to drink a beverage I don't really enjoy unless parched. I don't like coffee unless it's buried in flavored creamer, which makes it a high calorie beverage. Tea seems the logical answer. Except I can't drink sweetened tea on Atkins. Or rather, I can't drink as much as I need. I can use artificial sweetener, and do use Truvia, but each packet is considered a gram of net carbs (even though it says there are 0 carbs, they can say that when there is less than 1% so better safe than sorry). I'm currently supposed to have less than 20 net carbs per day. For those who don't know, net carbs = the number of grams of carbohydrates a food has, minus the grams of fiber. So you're basically keeping track of the sugars you eat. For me, less than 20 net carbs comes out to about 40 grams of carbs, period. 

I have several teas in my cabinet, but I've always drunk them with cream and sweetener. I've never really tried them without. I also found a sale on tea today, so added several more to the stash. Not having the cabinet room for all these teas, and now knowing if I even liked them, I decided to have a tea taste-off.

I started with 16 teas. Well, 17 if you count the Lipton's standard, but the first thing I did was throw that away. I already know I can't drink it unsweetened, nor can I drink it all day long. It is too acidic and upsets my stomach. Also, it was probably close to 10 years old. 

I eliminated the Tazo Wild Sweet Orange and the Good Earth teas from the competition as well. I already know I love Good Earth's Sweet and Spicy,  sweetened. That and the Wild Sweet Orange are both good unsweetened, though not amazing. I also already know green teas are ok sweetened, but not unsweetened. 

I do not have 16 tea cups in my house, so I knew there would be several rounds of tasting. I started with the teas in my cabinet: Green Chai, Organic Breakfast Tea, Salada White, Tangerine Orange Zinger, Berryblossom White, and Red Zinger. I steeped them for a minute or two, pulled the teabags out and put an ice cube in each cup. I smelled each teabag as I discarded it, and tried to guess which ones I would like by scent alone. I was not always right.

Once the teas were cool enough to taste, I took a spoonful then a full sip. The Tangerine Orange Zinger was the unsweetened winner, hands down. I also liked the White, which surprised me. I did not enjoy the other four unsweetened, so tried them with one packet of sweetener each. The Green Chai was good sweetened, but the Organic Breakfast tea won this round for the sweetened tea category.

The next round consisted of several Tazo teas: Sweet Cinnamon Spice, Apricot Vanilla Creme, and Passion. There were also Lipton teas: Green Tea with Orange, Passion Fruit and Jasmine, White Tea with Blueberry and Pomegranate, and Orange Blossom Hibiscus. The Stash Green Tea with Pomegranate and Raspberry was the last, so I added it to this round.

I learned I'm really a white and black tea girl. Most of the green teas didn't wow me, sweetened or not. I was really hopeful for the Sweet Cinnamon Spice, but it tasted like a cinnamon roll in tea, and that was just too odd for me. I'm wondering now if I'll even like any of the other "desert" teas. I'm game to try, but a bit skeptical. 

In the sweetened category, the Organic Breakfast Tea held it's own. However, in the unsweetened category I found a new winner. The Tazo Passion is amazing! It is full, with a strong flavor of rose and orange. It's obvious to me I like orange teas, but this is a step beyond. I'll be drinking a lot of this tea!

Now I know I have several flavors of tea I like unsweetened, for when I get tired of the Passion. I don't see that happening any time soon, but anything is possible.

It turns out the only tea I really didn't like is the Red Zinger. This is actually one of Superman's favorites, so I'll be keeping it around anyway. However, I do now have a lot of tea I'm not particularly fond of, sweetened or not. I know my tastes are not the same as everyone else's, so it's possible these teas could find a good home with someone who will appreciate them. I'm willing to put all I have left of each, waterproofed in a ziploc baggie, and send them off to anyone who wants some. I won't ship the boxes because it will be cheaper for me to send envelopes. Just let me know which of the following you'd like - first come first serve. If you've chosen more than one and someone else would like one you've chosen, I'll split it between you.

Stash Pomegranate Raspberry Green Tea
17 left
I really wanted to like this one. Maybe it if had been white tea...
Tazo Apricot Vanilla Creme
19 left
This one smelled amazing, but the taste for me was just meh. Maybe I needed to steep it longer or something. 
Tazo Sweet Cinnamon Spice
19 left
This is apparently discontinued as I can't find it on the Tazo site.
Lipton Green Tea with Orange, Passion Fruit & Jasmine
19 left
It has all the right ingredients, except the green tea part
Lipton Blueberry Pomegranate
Only 8 left. I like this one sweetened and with creamer, but that's not how I'm drinking tea these days
Tazo Berryblossom White
8 left
another I liked creamed and sweetened
Lipton Orange Blossom Hibiscus
16 left
another I really wanted to like, but didn't. 
Leave a message in the comments if you want any of this. If no one claims them they'll just go in the trash. I don't have the cabinet space for it all!

1 comment:

Lorraine said...

The tea I like right now is pomegranite and green tea. don't throw any out, I'll take them to test.