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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.
Click here for the Bottled Iced Tea Taste Test Slideshow
Click here for the Bottled Green Tea Taste Test Slideshow
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.
The 9 Best Green Teas in 2021
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products you can learn more about our review process here . We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
People have consumed green tea for hundreds of years. In beverage form, whether hot or iced, it's known for gentle flavors that range from earthy to sweet. On top of that, green tea can be used as an ingredient in everything from ice cream to cakes to smoothies. There are several varieties of green tea leaves—two of the most popular being matcha and sencha—but all of them offer terrific health benefits, like increased brain function, boosted metabolism, and lower cholesterol.
We've rounded up our favorite green teas below and detailed what we like, and even dislike, about each one. We researched top-rated options in a range of categories to ensure that all sorts of tea drinkers can find the right pick. After all, everyone should be able to enjoy the health benefits, culinary versatility, and delicious taste of green tea.
For a cozy and soothing cup, here are the best green teas to buy.
Taste Test: The Best Bottled Iced Teas
Snapple has ditched high-fructose corn syrup for real sugar, making our judges&apos mouths happy. The blend of strong black and delicate green teas lets the bright lemon shine through: "This one&aposs got the tartness going on," said one taster, mid-pucker. ($1.40 for a 16-ounce bottle, at most grocery stores)
BEST FLAVORED BLACK TEA
Archer Farms Blueberry Tea
Since black tea can be so tannic, it usually doesn&apost play nice with berries. So we were pleasantly surprised with Archer Farms&apos tea. "Just a hint of blueberry and sugar lighten up this winner," one taster noted. ($1.30 for a 16.9-ounce bottle, at Target stores)
BEST BLACK TEA
Ten years after Christopher Clayton started brewing tea in pillowcases, Sweet Leaf has taken off. The Chinese tea, with its "musky flavor" and cane sugar, is brewed for just 5 1/2 minutes, so it&aposs never bitter. ($1.40 for a 16-ounce bottle, at select grocery stores)
BEST FLAVORED GREEN TEA
Steaz Organic Iced Teaz Green Tea with Peach
One sip and we were hooked on the fresh peach flavor. "I can almost taste the fuzz," a panelist insisted. Steaz mixes fair-trade green tea with a touch of sugarcane and real peach juice -- and packs it all in a cool pop-top can. ($1.40 for a 16-ounce can, at most natural grocery stores)
BEST FLAVORED WHITE TEA
New Leaf Strawberry White Tea
You won&apost find an ounce of artificial fruit flavor here. New Leaf sweetens its delicate white tea with real strawberries and cane sugar, prompting one panelist to say, "It tastes like a fresh berry compote." ($1.60 for a 16.9-ounce bottle, at most natural grocery stores)
BEST GREEN TEA
Ito En Japanese Green Tea
Oi ocha (translation: "tea, please") is written on the bottle, and this "rich yet clean and bright" green tea definitely had tasters begging for more. Panelists loved its balance and "pleasant toastiness." ($2 for a 16.9-ounce bottle, at select specialty stores)
Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in June 2009.
The 15 Best Tasting Green Tea Brands
Green tea is widely popularized as one of the healthiest drinks on the market. It has a powerful effect on our body because it is loaded with antioxidants. Some of them, called polyphenols, reduce inflammation and help to fight cancer. Catechins are helpful as well for preventing cell damage and various other ailments. Antioxidants are also important because they destroy the formation of free radicals in the body, which play a major role in the effects of aging. It is, therefore, no wonder why fellow green tea enthusiasts often have a youthful look.
One of the most important compounds in green tea is called EGCG. It is widely believed that EGCG can defend the brain against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and that is also good for the heart. Your brain function can also be improved, thanks to its main ingredient, caffeine, which is known for its stimulant qualities. You will experience the benefits of concentrating easier, without being overwhelmed by jitteriness (I am looking at you, coffee and energy drinks), thanks to the effects of L-theanine. L-theanine, simply put, will make you happier and more relaxed as it increases the activity of your GABA neurotransmitters. This synergistic effect is one of the main appeals of this tea.
Furthermore, green tea increases fat burning, so it is ideal if you want to lose a couple of pounds. It also lowers the risk of diabetes, so you may have your cake and eat it too. Honestly, what more could you want?
When looking for a good product, though, be wary of the brands containing large amounts of fluoride. This is the evidence that tea is of lower quality. This list will offer you only the best brands of tea we have found. So, let us begin.
We will open this list with a true classic. Here, we have a green tea that is also scented with jasmine flowers, bringing you a remarkably unique flavor. It is blended using only peppermint, which brings out a truly amazing fresh mint taste. This premium tea is made only from the finest leaves cultivated and is naturally low in caffeine, so it’s a good choice for those who are sensitive to the effects of the stimulant. There is absolutely no bitterness, which is present in regular brands.
It is recommended to steep this tea for only a minute, but if you like your tea stronger, two minutes will suffice. One box contains 20 bags of tea. Twinning’s of London also offers the following variations: decaffeinated green tea, pomegranate, raspberry, and strawberry green tea, and lemon green tea.
You may also be interested in some of the top tea makers from our list. Check them out.
Harney & Sons is a family owned business. They are set to be famous for producing some of the finest tea on the market. This tea has an excellent citron flavor (mix of orange and citrus) and, as such, is perfect for the people who are just beginning their green tea journey. It is sure to have a wide appeal thanks to its interesting aromas.
Additionally, this tea contains marigold petals and orange oil. This is a completely organic product and serves as a perfect alternative to coffee. Visually, it is completely evident this is a high-quality product as it is presented in a beautiful tin box that will surely spark some nostalgia. Inside it, you will find 20 silken sachets, each of them containing 2 grams of the best Chinese green tea. That is enough for 40 cups of tea. This is an excellent tasting tea that will invigorate your body and mind.
Next, we have one phenomenal organic Matcha tea brand. You can think of Matcha as green tea on steroids. This tea is a lot brighter than ordinary green tea because it packs huge levels of antioxidants and is much richer in nutrients. This is a high-quality powder that can also be used for cooking and as a part of delicious and healthy smoothies. By purchasing from Zen Spirit, you will also get a free e-book of food recipes. It is USDA Organic approved as well as vegan certified. This is not just a run-of-the-mill regular tea. Zen Spirit offers a blend of the finest ingredients delivered from Japan and then, ground by ceramic stone mills. This Matcha is 100% gluten and sugar-free.
The texture of this tea is very silky. Your LDL cholesterol will be lowered thanks to the high levels of EGCG. The package contains 100 grams of product, and there is a money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied. That’s how confident the people at Zen Spirit are. This is, simply put, the best organic Matcha tea on the market that will give you high levels of focus and relaxation. And isn’t that something we all want?
Yogi Tea has been providing sensual tasting, 100% organic tea since the s. Rigorous testing and constant improvement made this product among the highest quality green teas currently on the market. The people at Yogi enrich the best parts of green tea with amla extracts and grapeseed, which gives it a bigger pack of potent antioxidants.
For a nice citrus flavor, there is a touch of organic lemongrass, while jasmine and licorice simultaneously add a touch of sweetness for the ultimate tea experience. This tea doesn’t have GMO ingredients. It does have 21 mg of caffeine per bag. There are 16 tea bags in a box. Yogi also offers the following types of green tea: Kombucha, Passion Fruit Matcha, Blueberry Slim Life, and Super Antioxidant. All of these offer a different blend of green tea for you to try.
Lipton is another brand with an immediately recognizable trademark taste. This is an intriguing blend of flavors that contains jasmine, passionfruit, and orange, all of which excellently complement the taste of green tea. The blend contains only freshly picked tea leaves, which is an indication of high-quality. There are no colorings or preservatives included, and that makes this a completely natural product. A box of Lipton’s green tea contains 40 tea bags that are wrapped to preserve freshness.
Each bag contains 35 milligrams of caffeine and 150 milligrams of flavonoids. It can be enjoyed both hot and cold and tastes great even without sweeteners. For the best experience, it should be brewed for up to 90 seconds. The tea is environmentally friendly and is certified by the Rainforest Alliance, making this an ethical choice as well. To conclude, with this tea, Lipton offers an amazing experience that your taste buds will never forget.
This tea is sourced from the exotic gardens of China’s Hunan Province. This region is famous for producing delicious green tea leaves that are scented three times with real aromatic jasmine to bring you a remarkable experience. And that is exactly what we have here. All of the ingredients are non-GMO and contain high levels of healthy catechins and antioxidants that will benefit your health greatly.
This kosher tea contains moderate caffeine levels that will give you a great energy boost. It can be equally enjoyed iced or hot and should be steeped for 2 to 3 minutes. Numi’s tea is also gluten-free, carbon-free, and vegan certified. The tea bags are also biodegradable, making this brand environmentally conscious.
Here is a great recipe for their Jasmine Green Bubble Tea. Brew 4 tea bags in 3 cups of hot water, and add sweetener if you like. Next, prepare half a cup of dried tapioca pearls and mix all of this together with 2-3 tablespoons of cold milk. Add ice and enjoy.
The folks at Numi impressed us with the impeccable taste of their tea, which is neither too bitter nor too sweet. Once you try it, you might not want anything else.
Tazo brings us a green tea from the mountains of Zheijang, which are located in China, the powerhouse of green tea. This is a handpicked tea that impresses with how fresh it tastes. It is also completely organic, with no additives and sweeteners. Thanks to this purity, you can expect an easily recognizable, somewhat bitter, premium taste, aside from all of the amazing health benefits.
This is a package of 6 boxes, all of them including 20 individual tea bags for just over $25.
Uncle Lee’s brand offers one of the strongest blends of green tea on the whole market. The reason for this is Uncle Lee uses extra-large tea bags full of whole leaves. The tea bags are also oxygen bleached, preserving the tea’s numerous qualities. This gives you all of the strengths of natural flavors, plus amazing health benefits. The tea comes from the Fujian Province in China. It is grown without the use of pesticides and is, therefore, 100% organic.
In this offer, you get 4 boxes, each of which has 100 tea bags for a price of a low $20. What a steal!
Smith Teamaker has a jasmine silver tip blend, and cooking this tea produces a delicate floral flavor and scent. The tea has a discernable pale yellow color. Its premium flavor is achieved thanks to the roomy sachet, which lets the leaf fully expand. It contains no flavorings or additives and is grown absolutely naturally.
It is blended in Portland, Oregon. To achieve the best flavor, simply heat the water to 190 degrees and steep for three minutes. Aside from the taste, this specific brand gave us a nice bump in concentration. This tea is a great alternative to coffee or black tea, and it can help you lose unwanted weight in a natural way.
Here we have another authentic Japanese Matcha powder. Leafix offers us premium-quality tea sourced from prestigious tea farms in Japan. On the visual side, you can’t help but notice the vibrant green color, making this a chlorophyll-rich powder. It is fully sealed to preserve the fresh aroma and is 100% organic. There are no added sugars, it is gluten-free, suitable for vegans, and Kosher certified. The package size is 100 grams, which is enough for 100 servings. One gram has 27 mg of caffeine, which is just the right dose to improve concentration while avoiding the jitters.
Matcha can also be used in many for baking, flavoring cocktails and ice creams, and soups. Couple this amazing versatility with its profound relaxation properties, and it isn’t any wonder why Matcha is regarded so highly. This is an excellent brand, offering high-quality Matcha at a very affordable price.
Sweet Leaf is the first bottled iced green tea brand on the list. This is a 95% organic product with a touch of mint and honey, which bring out an interesting flavor. It is just right, not too sweet nor too bitter. You get 22 mg of caffeine per serving, which is a bit on the low side. This is a cold brew, ideal for long, seemingly never-ending summer days. If you are looking for a new favorite iced tea, you have just found one. We guarantee it.
Teatulia offers us a premium ginger green tea. Here you have 50 pyramid tea bags that are made out of corn silk. Each one is filled with 2 grams of tea. The ingredients are green tea, lemongrass, and ginger. This is a 100% organic product, with compostable packaging. The caffeine content is that of a half-cup of coffee, which is actually pretty high. The aroma is lemony with a touch of sweetness and some grassy undertones. This ginger green tea tastes equally impressive in a hot or cold version and will best suit those of us who are looking for a new spark to reignite the love we have for green tea.
Next, we have Sencha, the most common variety of Japanese green tea. Sencha offers greater amounts of vitamins C and E in comparison to Matcha. This is a mild (low caffeine) but very flavorful type of green tea.
Maeda-en brings us an authentic Japanese tea experience. For a little over $15, you get 100 tea bags wrapped in foil. Each bag contains 2 grams of Sencha. If you want to drink it as an antioxidant supplement, it is advisable to drink over 6 cups a day.
Preparing it is very easy. For best taste, the tea bag should be brewed for 1 to 2 minutes. Sencha is immediately recognizable for its smoky flavor. It is important to note that this tea is not organic, which is the only downside we found. If you are at all interested in Sencha, Maeda-en brand is a solid choice.
Harney & Sons re-enters the list with another iced green tea. This one stands out because it is brewed with the leaves of ginkgo biloba, a plant that is well known for its numerous health benefits. So, you can expect a touch of citrus and a grassy aroma that may be an acquired taste for some of us. For the price of around $50, you get 6 bottles of 16 fl oz (around 0.5 L) green tea. This is a fully organic tea that is aimed at health-conscious people who also want a refreshing and great tasting beverage. It’s an interesting entry, and one we will surely be trying out again.
Last but not least, we have an interesting combination of tea and coffee. This is designed specifically as a weight-loss product, as it suppresses your appetite and gives you a solid energy boost. It is a 100% organic product that is sugar and dairy-free. The ingredients are as follows: green coffee bean extract, stevia, Garcinia Cambogia extract, green tea powder, and acai berry extract. Some of these extracts additionally boost your metabolism and pack powerful antioxidants. The acai berry will improve your blood circulation and has detoxifying effects.
For one serving, put 20 grams in 200 ml of hot water. There are 20 servings per pack. This is an ideal product for when you are on the go, as you can make it in seconds. And thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee, this is a risk-free purchase. Sexy Brew is a great choice if you like coffee and want to lose a few pounds.
Forms of iced teas
- Bottled iced teas come in plastic or glass bottles. They range in size from 14 to 20 fluid ounces. These are formulated to drink straight out of the bottle or can be poured over ice. They are designed for single-serving consumption. Be eco-friendly and recycle bottles when you’re done! Also consider BPA-free plastic bottles.
- Cans of iced teas are also formulated to drink straight out of the container. They come in a standard aluminum can at 12 fluid ounces, though a few brands sell supersized 23-ounce cans. Some consumers don’t like the metallic taste of drinking from a can and prefer glass bottles that don’t interfere with the taste of the iced tea.
- Powdered iced teas are dry mixes of tea, flavoring, and/or sweetener formulated to be mixed with water, then poured over ice. Powders can make a great quantity of iced tea from a couple tablespoons and are quite cost-effective. They might not be as strong in caffeine content as other forms of iced teas.
- Concentrates of iced teas, like powders, don’t require boiling water or brewing to make iced tea at home. Just add a small measure of liquid concentrate to cold water, stir well or shake in a closed container, and your iced tea is ready to drink. Play around with the ratio of water to concentrate to change tea strength.
- Tea bags designed for iced tea require boiling and brewing of tea, then a cooling down period. Though this method is more time-consuming than the others, the quality of homebrewed iced tea can exceed other forms in taste and strength. Some tea bags are designed for a “cold brew” method, which cuts out the need for boiling water.
How to Make the Best Iced Tea
Baby, it&aposs hot outside. And a perfect drink to cool down is a frosty glass of iced tea. Plus, as Joyce Hendley reported in EatingWell Magazine, studies show if you drink tea regularly, you may reduce your risk of Alzheimer&aposs and diabetes, plus have healthier teeth and gums and stronger bones. How? Tea is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids, which are most potent when tea is freshly brewed.
Another benefit of brewing your own iced tea? When you make your own iced tea at home instead of using a powdered mix or buying it bottled or from a fast-food restaurant or coffee shop, you&aposll save money. Plus you can control the calories by limiting how much sweetener you add (or by not adding any at all).
Hendley talked to co-owner and tea sommelier at New York City&aposs Tavalon who recommended these 5 tips for making perfect iced tea.
Look for fresh tea at a tearoom or a market with high turnover, because the oils that give teas their flavor break down over time. Opt for loose tea rather than tea bags, as tea leaves need room to expand to release their flavors. If you use tea bags, look for larger ones shaped like pyramids, which give the leaves more room to bloom. Look for brands that list the region where the tea comes from so you know exactly what you&aposre getting.
Hibiscus-Pomegranate Iced Tea
This herbal iced tea blends sour, berry-flavored hibiscus tea with sweet pomegranate juice.
Tip 2. Start With Spring or Filtered Tap Water
Mineral water contains too many minerals that can create off-flavors when they come in contact with compounds in the tea leaves, and mineral-free distilled water produces a flat-tasting brew.
Feel the island breezes as you sip this cooling concoction.
Tip 3. Turn Up (or Down) the Heat
Use boiling water (212ଏ) to brew black, herbal and darker-colored oolong teas. But use cooler water (170° to 180ଏ) to brew green, white and lighter oolongs teas. Brewing teas that need cooler temps with boiling water can result in bitter or astringent flavors.
Crisp and refreshing, you just may find yourself craving this beverage on a hot summer&aposs night.
Tip 4. Use Just Enough Tea
Use 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons per cup of water when brewing teas with bigger leaves or flowers, like green tea or chamomile, and 1 teaspoon per cup for teas with denser, compact leaves, such as most black teas. If you want to make iced tea and don&apost have time for the tea to cool down, brew it double-strength to compensate for the resulting water from melting ice cubes. Or cool it to room temperature and refrigerate until cold.
This is a popular drink served in homes along the Yangtze during the summer. In China, honey is highly praised for its medicinal value. Some say daily doses of local honey may help ease hay fever.
Tip 5. Steep Long Enough to Release Flavors, But Not So Long That Tannins and Other Bitter-Tasting Compounds Dominate
Heartier teas, like black teas and darker oolongs, should steep for 3 to 5 minutes, while green, white and lighter oolong teas need just 2 to 3 minutes. Herbal tisanes and infusions have fewer tannins, so there&aposs less risk of oversteeping.
Orange-Early Grey Iced Tea
Get a little pick-me-up with this orange-infused Earl Grey iced tea. Tea is rich in a class of antioxidants called flavonoids that may help reduce your risk of Alzheimer&aposs and diabetes, plus help you have healthier teeth and gums and stronger bones. You can help preserve the flavonoids in iced tea by adding something acidic-like the orange juice in this recipe.
15 Best Green Teas for an Everyday Antioxidant Boost
We love sipping green tea year-round, both chilled or served piping hot. During the winter months, starting our day with a hot cup of green tea helps ensure we're beginning our routine on a healthy note. Plus, if you're new to green tea, there are tons of varieties and flavors to choose from to find your best match. Loaded with powerful antioxidants, essential nutrients, and anti-inflammatory polyphenols, green tea has quite an impressive list of potent health benefits.
Lower in caffeine than black tea, green tea has a fresh, light flavor and is verdant green in color. After plenty of taste-testing, we decided on the 15 brands below as the most highly rated, sustainably sourced, and best-tasting green tea varieties to help you reach your happy place.
After recently going viral on TikTok, this Glazed Lemon Loaf Herbal Tea from Tazo has literally been selling like hot cakes. With tangy notes of lemon and comforting vanilla, we can see why this green rooibos tea from the brand is worth all the hype. Get your hands on it here while you still can!
Whether you're replacing your afternoon cup of coffee or are simply looking for a straightforward and flavorful green tea, this Pure Green variety from Yogi is highly rated and beloved by both tea-drinking newbies and experts alike.
Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO-Project-Verified, Yogi's Pure Green Tea is made from a blend of leaves sourced from India, China, and Sri Lanka.
The taste is light, smooth, and refreshing &mdash making it an ideal choice for a morning cup of tea or a healthy afternoon pick-me-up.
Made with green tea leaves verified by the Non-GMO Project, and packaged in natural, unbleached satchels, this People's Green Tea from The Republic of Tea is a sustainable and delicious option.
Milder in taste than some other options on this list, we'd recommend this green tea for beginners or for those who love to add ingredients like a squeeze of lemon to tea.
The Best Iced Tea Bag Brands: Our Taste Test Results
If you love iced tea, you have two options: buy it at the store, or make it yourself. The problem with buying it is that it's usually loaded with sweeteners, and if you don't like that sort of thing it's really hard to find unsweetened iced tea in a bottle. The problem with making iced tea from scratch is the wait -- it takes hours for a kettle of boiling tea to cool down, even with the help of a refrigerator and ice.
Thanks to food technology, the invention of cold brew tea bags has come to our rescue. Steep the tea bags in cold water for about 5 minutes, and you're good to go -- it couldn't be easier (with the exception of the Tazo brand, which requires you to steep in water for 5 minutes, and then top off with cold water, making it the only brand marketed as iced tea in our taste test that doesn't use a cold brew). There are more new flavors on the market than ever this season, and we're putting them to the test. From classic black tea to blueberry green and peach, there's a flavor for just about everyone. (And if you like your tea sweet, don't worry -- you can add as much sugar as you want.)
Some claim that cold-brewed tea (and coffee, for that matter) just don't taste as good as hot-brewed tea. Food-science expert Harold McGee says that cold-brewed teas "tend to contain less caffeine and less acid" than their hot counterparts. "And of course, they taste different. If the flavor of hot tea or coffee is your gold standard, then cold brews won't measure up."
We wanted to see if that's true, so we put 13 flavors to the test in a blind tasting. Who came out on top? Find out in the slideshow below.
As always, this taste test is not sponsored or influenced by the brands involved.
7. Lipton Liquid Iced Tea Mix
This iced tea lets you enjoy your favorite flavored tea within seconds. It includes flavors like: lemon black tea, peach black tea and raspberry green tea also. This tea is made by using real tea leaves along with flavors from natural resources. 8 fl oz serving of this instant tea contains 10 mg caffeine.
Method to prepare: Add Lipton lemon Liquid Black Iced Tea Mix into chilled water into a small size pitcher and enjoy.
Japan has long loved to drink green tea, but today the Japanese enjoy a myriad of different types of tea, from domestic green tea to British tea, which is favored by exotic species.
Now, you know that not only green tea and Matcha but there are also many kinds of unsweetened tea in Japan, as bottled teas!
If you visit Japan or oriental grocery stores, try some of the Japanese bottled tea!
Japanese bottled teas (except for iced English Black tea) are unsweetened and bring you several health benefits!