Oolong tea unfolds its floral honey and light caramel essence, resting on a blanket under the midday sun and sprinkling sweet sugar cane on a pillow of daydreams.
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My oldest daughter brought me a bottle of this tea recently, so I figured I’d give it a try. I can’t recall ever having tried a RTD Oolong tea, so this may very well be a first for me!
The first thing that I notice is that there is no sediment at the bottom of the bottle. This appeals to me immediately, because that sediment … just isn’t attractive. Yeah, I know, just give it a shake and then it dispenses the sediment throughout the tea. But, I’m drinking that! I strain the tea that I brew myself before I drink it because I don’t like floaties in my tea. The fact that the sediment is there means floaties if I shake it into the tea, or if I don’t, I may be sacrificing flavor. I don’t like either option.
So, when I find a RTD tea without the sediment, I’m a happy tea drinker. I’m also happy about the ingredient list here:
Water, Organic Oolong Tea, Organic Cane Sugar, Citric Acid.
Woot! I’ve been kind of hard on Tazo products in the past, and for good reason, but, this one … this one may just be worthy of some praise.
My first impression: Not too sweet! I’m liking that immediately. It has a light sweetness to it, it doesn’t taste syrupy or like it’s more sugar than tea. That’s my biggest problem with the RTD teas. They’re way too sweet. I am liking that while there is a pleasing honey-caramel sweetness to this, it isn’t an overpowering element, and I think that some of these sweet notes are coming from the Oolong tea and not the sugar.
My biggest complaint about this is probably that it’s chilled. Sure, I like iced tea. It’s a great refresher. But, I think Oolong needs to be served hot to get the most flavor out of it. I have on occasion made iced Oolong tea, but I usually use a Formosa Oolong for this because the deeper flavor of the Oolong isn’t too transformed by the chill. Something happens to the flavor of tea when it goes from hot to cold. Sometimes … it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. With Oolongs, I find that the flavors begin to mute and there is such a lovely complexity to an Oolong that you don’t want to obscure it by chilling it.
But, I am still getting a nice Oolong flavor here. I’m picking up on some floral notes and hints of fruit notes (peach). It’s sweet and it has that thick texture that I’ve come to expect from an Oolong.
I’d give this tea extra points for the fact that it’s a RTD that’s not too sweet. Bonus points for that! I’d subtract a few points, though, because I’m missing the complexity that I seek when I sit down to enjoy an Oolong. That said, it’s a refreshing beverage that if I were to see this in the refrigerated section of a convenience store and I’m thirsty, I just might grab it based solely on the fact that I’m pleased that it’s not overly sweet, it’s made from organic ingredients and there’s not a heavy sediment collection at the bottom of the bottle.
Tea Type: Green Iced Tea (Ready to Drink/Prepared Drink)
Where To Find: Dutch Bros. Coffee
OK, so my youngest daughter’s latest “thing” is the Italian sodas from Dutch Bros. You know what I’m talking about right? Basically, it’s like club soda that’s been infused with Torani Syrup and then generously topped with whipped cream and/or infused with a dollop of cream (both of those are optional). As we were sitting in the drive through, waiting to place an order for her after ballet class treat, I noticed “Torani Infused Teas” on the menu and my curiosity was piqued.
So, I asked the clerk what it was and was told that they add the Torani syrup to either green or black tea. Then he listed off the flavors of Torani syrup that they have and when he said Grapefruit, I decided I’d try a Grapefruit Flavor Infused Green Tea from Dutch Bros. Coffee. I mean … I figured the worst that could happen is that it tastes like an overly sweet tea much like the ready to drink teas that you get at the corner convenience store.
My first sip of the beverage – yep, that’s what it is. It’s a very sweet tea with more grapefruit flavor than tea flavor and an abundance of sugary sweetness that overpowers the tea notes to oblivion. This drink … well, it was … alright. Drinkable. Something that I’d be able to finish but not something for which I’d want to return to Dutch Bros.
But then something impressive happened. My husband told the clerk that I’m a tea snob and very picky about my tea. When the clerk asked me how I liked the tea, I said, “It’s drinkable.” My husband translated this to the clerk to say, “That’s a compliment from her.”
Ha! My husband fancies himself a comedian. I’ve tried to explain to him that just because our pre-teen daughter and her friends find him entertaining does not mean that he could make a living as a stand-up comic.
When I say drinkable, basically, what I mean is that this tastes alright, but it’s too sweet and it’s not something I’d buy again. I can drink it but would I call it tea? No.
Upon hearing that the infused tea drink was merely “drinkable,” the clerk takes back the drink and explains that their drinks are 100% satisfaction guaranteed. Then he made me a new Grapefruit Flavor Infused Tea, this time, using half the syrup that was used the first time around.
This time, it’s actually quite enjoyable. Not just drinkable, but something that put a smile on my face. I have a mildly sweet drink where I’m able to taste both the grapefruit and the green tea. The grapefruit reminds me of the flavor of a Texas pink grapefruit (my favorite). It doesn’t taste like a candified (yes it’s a word, I just made it up) version of grapefruit. It tastes like the Texas pink grapefruit that I cut in half and lightly sprinkled with a little sugar to contrast with the tart bitterness of the fruit. It tastes … yummy!
And I can taste the green tea this time around (the first cup that was made for me, I could not taste green tea). It tastes light and crisp, with a refreshing hint of vegetative flavor. Slightly grassy. It marries nicely with the notes of grapefruit, and there is a pleasing balance between the components of this beverage.
Overall, this was a really tasty tea. Bravo to the clerk at Dutch Bros. for taking a little extra time to make my drink just right for me. I appreciate this kind of customer service, and this tea exceeds what I’d find at the “average” coffee stop.