I’m pretty sure I tried Honest Tea when I went on my bottled tea binge a couple years ago, buying up every Snapple competitor I could find and playing the field. But I was reminded to give it another shot by this feller who pointed out it was relatively lo-cal and eschews HFCS and keeps it more or less real with cane sugar.
After a couple weeks of checking the grocery store bev aisle I finally found one single solitary bottle of the Green Dragon Tea flavor sitting there, looking a little beat-up, its label not entirely straight. So either they can’t keep Honest Tea on the shelf or somebody — maybe on the Honest Tea marketing team — stashed the bottle there under cover of darkness.
In contrast to yesterday’s lunchtime experience with Vault, it was all I could do to stop from inhaling the entire bottle in one single feverish chug. Not because it was so amazingly delicious, but because it’s super-mild and super-quenchy. (Honest Tea marketing team: Stop sneaking bottles into grocery stores and start hiring me to do your copywriting: “It’s fucking quenchy, man. No seriously.”) Also, I was desperately parched, but when am I not. Anyway, very subtle, nice clean tea flavor with a little fruitiness, just the way you like it.
Honest Tea’s big bone to pick, though, is sweetness. They even have a little graph on the label that explains how adding just a little sugar makes tea awesome, but any more than that and you end up with “liquid candy,” and then, even worse, “What they call tea.” That last point on the graph actually appears below the x-axis to indicate that Snapple and its ilk are totally off-the-charts in terms of awfulness.
And I gotta say, the “A Tad Sweet” (again, their wording) approach is working for me, and it does sort of make me realize how little sweetener I really need. That being said, I would be up for something with a little more punch in the flavor department, as the Green Dragon Tea is essentially nice quenchy purified water that’s been farted upon by a delicately scented Tea Fairy. Perfect for when you’re thirsty, but maybe a little blah if you’re looking for a bat mitzah or gala celebration of some sort in your mouth.
(Also, I should mention I noticed this curious terminology on their site: “Most of the tea purchased for bottling by American companies was the lower quality dust and fannings left after quality tea had been produced.” Emphasis totally mine.)