Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Unsweetened Iced Tea in Short Supply

I have burned the last several weekends up trying to complete a never ending bathroom renovation. I have the distinct honor of cutting, nailing, gluing, and painting wainscoting and trim to the perimeter of the bathroom. The renovation has been nothing short of a pain in the posterior. Part of the challenge has been lining up baseboard trim and bead board against walls and a floor that are anything but true. That is what happens when you buy a house dated back to the late sixties.

Needless to say the home improvement work load has taken over my time which would have otherwise been spent doing some Czech cooking, baking, outdoor grilling, and getting the garden ready. During my renovation I have developed a deep admiration for commercially brewed bottled iced teas to quench my thirst. Our household consumes a lot of iced tea; however we opt for the unsweetened variety.

Why is Unsweetened tea scarce?

When shopping for bottled unsweetened iced tea there is no guarantee you will even find any available at the local supermarket. We usually shop for a tea known as Tradewinds unsweetened. The large plastic jug runs about $3.50 and is not always on the shelf as opposed to the sweet and extra sweet varieties. The only other competing brand I usually see is the Lipton Pureleaf unsweetened which tastes well, but unfortunately is much more expensive. I wrote this blog post surely to get word out to the public that there seems to be an untapped niche for unsweetened tea since the beverage tough to find. Somehow supermarket chain buyers or store managers are convinced everyone wants sweet teas or funky flavored teas and thus do not order enough inventory of the unsweetened tea. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy flavored or lightly sugared teas such as peach Snapple iced tea or even an Arnold Palmer half and half. But please start stocking more unsweetened iced tea. I don’t always have time to brew my own!

Brewing Iced tea at home

When it comes to having time to brew my iced tea at home with my iced tea maker, I usually opt for a brand out of Seattle known as Barnes and Watson. They have some tropical iced tea blends that are out of this world. They are based out of Seattle so I usually have to specially order the stuff online. I usually ration/reserve those teas for special occasions and cookouts. The other top iced tea for home brewing is Luzianne iced tea which is great on its own or mixed with some fresh lemonade.

My five “go to” unsweetened teas are as follows:

1. Barnes and Watson Tropical Tea (brewed from home).

2. Luzianne iced tea (brewed from home).

3. Tradewinds Unsweetened.

4. Lipton Pureleaf Unsweetened.

5. McDonald’s unsweetened tea.


Nola @ the Alamo said...

Most of the people here in Texas drink syrupy sweet tea; I am an oddity; I drink mine unsweetened. I've used Luzianne for years, love the stuff.
You are right, the prepared teas you buy are usually sweet. The brand that our WalMart carries in 1 gallon jugs is good, but it is sometimes a challenge to find unsweetened.
We have a fast food restaurant chain called Chicken Express and they sell brewed tea by the glass AND by the gallon jugs; their unsweetened brewed tea is EXCELLENT, and not very expensive.
Good luck with the renovation!

4Czech said...

Nola, it sounds like I need a Chicken Express right here in Illinois. Aside from Czech food, my other favorite food is southern; mainly barbecue and fried chicken. Add some brewed iced tea to the meal and I am in heaven.

Anonymous said...

I agree unsweet tea is extremely difficult to find in bulk or bottles. Seems to me that no sugar (or should I say no High Fructose corn sweetener) must be cheap if they can put it in sweet tea. One would think that it would be cheaper to make unsweet tea. And let the consumer add their own fake sugar if they wanted diet.