Product Review: Organic Golden Amber Bottled Iced Tea from Tazo

GoldenAmberProduct Information:

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.

Learn more about this product here.

Taster’s Review:

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.

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