On some days, there is just no time to brew your own tea, or perhaps, you just want to grab some tea on the run.  These are days when I’m grateful there is an abundance of bottled teas in the marketplace.  In today’s post, I assembled a panel of tasters to try 4 different bottled teas. 

I tried to avoid the very artificial teas like Snapple, Lipton, Arizona.  Instead, I went with two completely unsweetened teas and two very lightly sweetened teas.  Here are the 4 different teas:

The teas were judged on two criteria:

  • Does it taste like real tea?  (Scale of 1 to 5 – 5 meaning it tastes exactly like how fresh brewed tea should taste)
  • Would you drink it again?  (Scale of 1 to 5 – 5 meaning, yes, I would pay money to buy this again)

The Results:

ITO EN’s Oi Ocha – Unsweetened Green Tea

  • Average taste score:  3.7
  • Average repeat usage score: 3.5
  • Comments:  “not the taste of green tea I expected”, “ this one is my favorite, most tea-like tasting of the bunch”, “too strong and bitter for me”, “I would pay to drink this”

ITO EN’s Golden Oolong Tea – Unsweetened

  • Average taste score:  3
  • Average repeat usage score: 3
  • Comments:  “this tea is too light tasting for an Oolong”, “it tastes like tea, but not like Oolong”

Honest Tea’s Assam Black Tea  – “barely sweetened”

  • Average taste score:  2.1
  • Average repeat usage score: 2
  • Comments:  “I like that this is not too sweet”, “I don’t like this at all”, “tastes like watered down Lipton iced tea”

Plan Tea’s Black Tea – “no added sugar, just a drop of honey”

  • Average taste score:  2.7
  • Average repeat usage score: 2.5
  • Comments:  “the honey detracts from the tea taste”, “not sweet enough, should be plain or sweeter”, “tastes like honey and watered down tea”, “I would drink this if I want something sweet but rather not drink soda”

The overwhelming majority of this panel preferred the ITO EN Oi Ocha, however there was one outlier that liked Honest Tea that best. 

Personally, I thought the ITO EN Oi Ocha is a great choice for some iced tea on the run.  I tend to prefer unsweetened and stronger tasting teas.  I felt that the Honest Tea and Plan Tea was very watered down tasting and too sweet for iced teas that were only supposed to be lightly sweetened.  

Of course, this is not an exhaustive test of all bottled teas on the market and  by no means was this a scientific test, so I would love to hear if there are other bottled teas in the market that are more natural and true to the taste of ‘real’ brewed tea.