Friday, August 17, 2007

Pure Green Tea: Adagio vs Ito En

Today at work I did a taste test between two different bottled green teas, Adagio's Anteadote Pure Green Tea and Ito En's Teas' Tea Pure Green, using the resources of my job to pool together a diverse group of tasters: white folk from a wide range of tax brackets, all higher than my own, and Arop, a refugee from Sudan, who is our sales rep. from Dr. Pepper.

First let me say, if you ever get a chance to offer a group of Texans unsweetened green tea, do it; it is an experience. I've never heard green tea, or any tea for that matter, compared to Worcestershire sauce until today, nor have I seen a 50-year-old woman stick her tongue out that far as she shook her head in disgust.

Our Contestants:

Adagio Anteadote Pure Green tea. A 500 ml bottle retails for $1.79 in my neck of the words or $2 on their website. The ingredients are simple enough, filtered water, green tea, vitamin c. It does not specify what type of green tea is used, though that is no surprise since it is bottled tea after all. It is labeled Product of China, so I assume it is at least Chinese tea.

My impressions: Its kind of pleasant, does not taste over brewed. As bottle teas go, you could do much, much worse. The problem is that the dominant flavor doesn't taste like tea; I don't know it its too much ascorbic acid or what, but it becomes unpleasant after a while.

Ito En Teas' Tea Pure Green. Retails at 2.29 for 500 ml. The ingredients listed are the same. Ito En is a Japanese company, so likewise I assume that they use Japanese tea.

My impressions: It clearly tastes like Japanese tea. I am not as familiar with tea from Japan yet, but I'd guess they're using bancha. There is a subtle roasted flavor. Over all it is too astringent for me to say that its good, but for a bottled tea, it is probably one of the best ones out there. I do like the boldness of the flavor. Other unsweetened teas that I have tried taste watered down, weak, I suspect to compensate for the lack of sugar. Ito En makes no compromises with this one.

Customer's Vote: Ito En: 16 votes. Adagio: 25 votes.

Unfortunately many of the customers who sampled the product did not seem to grasp the idea of a taste test. They'd grab a cup and walk off, so only about 50-60% voted. What was the most interesting about the experience is seeing how different people's pallets are. Most voted for the tea that was strongest, but they couldn't agree on which one that was.

Adagio won the popular vote, but I say go with Ito En. Theirs taste more like tea should, and provide the uninitiated consumer with a better idea of the true flavor of green tea. For more experienced tea drinkers, you probably already know you get better results when you make your own.


Ernest said...

Have you ever tried HonestTEA brand bottled teas? they're certainly interesting.

Organic fair trade teas, unsweetened (except for a small branch which is flavored and lightly sweetened).

Space Samurai said...

Yes I've tried them; I think they're a good bottled tea. I'll be writing more on them later. I plan to do a post on the variety of specialty bottled teas available.

However, lately I have not been fond of some of their stuff. Their Just Green Tea in particular is truly nasty.

Ernest said...

I found the 'lightly sweetened' (flavored)varieties here, and I'll agree the green (Green Mint in this case) was a bit surprising. My first thought was "How'd they get it so dark brown?"

Ernest said...

I first tried them when i saw the 'lightly sweetened' (flavored) varieties. The green was definitely surprising. My first thought was "How'd they get it do dark brown?!"

ankitlochan said...

bottled green tea - personally if i am to asked to give my views on it - i would say to people stay very far from it - the people making this product use the lowest of the lowest quality teas to make these bottled drinks.

if i were to choose between tea bags and RTD teas i would always without fail go for tea bags - i hope the message is clear.

green tea waste is being bought at prices like 0.75 USD per kilo and used for these bottled tea drinks.

please be very careful.


Space Samurai said...

Bottled tea is not for me. I don't personally drink it, but one of the goals of this blog is to use my job to provide a little insight to whoever wants it, including my customers and co-workers, on the flood of "specialty" teas that can be found on the internet and higher end stores.

Now, I think most of my readers are probably more like me, which is to say we are picky about our tea, and have strong opinions about what is crap and not crap, but that doesn't mean I can't offer something for everyone, or try to, at least.

SilverNeedles Tea Reviews said...

I've found these taste more like tea, with some glitches, but no vitamin flavors :)


ItoEn (green/oolong): astringent, roasted

Suntory (oolong): pleasant, less astringent than ItoEn. (but not flowery or nutty oolong flavor, more like itoen's flavors)

Tejava (black tea): astringent, but tastes like real black tea.

Tazo Giant Peach: more like tea taste than Snapple's juice flavor.

Fuze Oolong: still sweet, but does have a distinct tea flavor (not sure if oolong)

Space Samurai said...

oooh, someone else who has heard of Tejava.

ankitlochan said...

space samurai -- i did not mean any offence - sorry if i hurt you - i just gave my opinions as everyone was sharing their views. no offence was meant.

i apologise again if you felt bad.


Space Samurai said...

No worries, you did not offend me at all. I was just saying that I agree with, and why I still do reviews of product that I wouldn't buy myself. :)

Please, I'm married, I'm made of tougher stuff than that.

Steven Dodd said...

Texans drinking unsweetened tea? Run for the hills! It's Bizarro world!

MarshalN said...

I've had my fair share of bottled tea. Sometimes when you're on the run and you want a bit of tea... you can do worse.

Since these teas, I think, are all cold-infused, I'd think that there are less nasty things that make their way into the drink than, say, a teabag with 100 degrees water.

Dr.Gray said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Space Samurai said...

good bye dr. gray, no one likes spam.