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I don't want any freaking tartness in my bottled tea

Note to stupid beverage makers: when I buy a bottle of unsweetened tea with no lemon, I don't want any citric acid put in there for tartness. Ok? If I wanted tartness in my sweetened tea, I'd just get it with lemon.

Let me explain.

Like many people, I like the convenience of bottled drinks, especially for when I'm on the road. And like many people, I like iced tea. And, as it turns out, iced tea is a common bottled beverage. So, one would think that this would be an ideal situation for me: I get a conveniently bottled drink that I like (and has a lot of caffeine).

Unfortunately, the situation is far from ideal.

You see, I find that acidic flavors conflict very inauspiciously with the pleasant natural flavor of tea. In particular, lemon can really overbear the delicate tea flavor, so I very much dislike tea with lemon.

"Ok," you say. "Fine. You don't like lemon in your tea. So why don't you just buy bottled tea with no lemon? I mean, there is bottled tea with no lemon on the shelves. Right?"

Yes. Unfortunately, every single freaking bottled tea manufacturer that I know of adds citric acid to their tea. Why? Get this: it's for "tartness."

Now, maybe I'm missing something, but wouldn't people who want tartness in their tea just get tea with lemon? Isn't the whole point of not putting lemon in the tea because you don't want tartness? What purpose does omitting the lemon serve when you're going tartness right back in?

What bugs me about this is every single manufacturer seems to think that "tartness" is a required element of tea, and that they are "helpfully" enhancing it by adding the citric acid. Well, they're not. All they're doing is making a half-assed lemon tea.

Fortunately, there is a reasonably palatable solution: Trade Winds. Trade Winds does add citric acid to its sweet tea; however, two things make the tartness rather mild. First, it appears to use somewhat less citric acid than other bottled teas. Second, the tea flavor is much bolder and less prone to being overpowered by the acidity (evidently this is due to its kettle brewing).

Still, I'd prefer a completely untart Trade Winds, or any bottled tea completely untart for that matter.

Tags: bottled_tea, citric_acid, lemon, rant, tea, tradewinds
Permalink: http://blog.aerojockey.com/post/bottledtea
Last Edited: 22 January 2006, 11:21 AM
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