The Most Delicious Iced Teas on the Market
America’s love affair with iced tea dates back to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, when an enterprising English tea merchant named Richard Blechynden was put in charge of distributing hot tea samples to the public. When unseasonably warm temperatures drove the crowds away, Blechynden decided to “ice” his tea by running it through chilled lead pipes. Needless to say, the cold brew proved a hit.
Today, over 80 percent of the tea consumed in America is served iced. Find out which thirst-quenchers made GAYOT’s list of the Best Bottled Iced Teas and get ready to chill out.
Named after the founder’s dog, Inko’s was the first company to singularly produce premium, bottled white iced tea.
One of the rarest teas in the world, white tea is made from the young leaves and buds of the Camellia sinensis plant. Various studies have suggested that it has the ability to reduce cancer and heart disease risks, increase metabolism and fight the effects of aging. Exclusively sourced from the Fujian province of China, Inko’s white tea is packed with antioxidants and low in calories (zero or 56 calories per 16-ounce bottle).
Inko’s Original White Tea, a light, floral brew enlivened by a zesty hint of organic ginger, is a favorite. We also recommend the Blueberry White Tea, a refreshing blend of all-natural blueberry extract and white tea sweetened with a small amount of fructose crystals (not corn syrup). Need another reason to try their iced tea? Every year Inko’s donates a portion of their revenue to researching white tea’s cancer-fighting properties.
Known for luxurious loose teas and tisanes, this family-run company launched its line of bottled iced teas in 2009.
Harney & Sons sources from organic tea gardens around the world to create flavors such as Organic Black and the quirky Organic Coffee Tea (popular in Asia). Green tea fans will appreciate their antioxidant-rich Organic Green with its full-bodied citrus flavor and just a hint of sweetness. Another plus: all of their bottled iced teas contain just a dollop of organic cane sugar and are a mere 40 calories. Since their teas are minimally processed, the ingredients tend to settle at the bottom, so give them a good shake before imbibing! Harney & Sons bottled iced teas are sold by the case of twelve.
Favored by high-end restaurants and hotels, The Republic of Tea’s organic iced teas are unsweetened, zero-calorie and contain a subtle hint of fruit, which doesn’t interfere with the natural flavor of the tea.
By using dried fruit instead of fruit juice, the tea absorbs the fruit’s flavor without any of the sugar. Their best-selling variety, Ginger Peach Black Iced Tea, is a pleasing combination of lush peach and zesty ginger. We also recommend the Blackberry Sage Black Iced Tea, which has a fragrant aroma and a discreet splash of blackberry. Word of advice: order online, as their bottled iced teas are notoriously hard to find.
TEAS’ TEA, owned by Ito En, Japan’s largest green tea distributor, is named after the Japanese expression “Ocha no naka no Ocha,” or “The Tea of All Teas.”
These all-natural bottled iced teas are GMO-free and currently come in five varieties: no-calorie unsweetened; no-calorie decaf; classic sweetened (60 calories); latte (80-90 calories); and a fruit-infused “Plus” line (50 calories). Make sure to try their Pure Green Unsweetened Tea, made with nothing but purified water, premium green tea leaves and vitamin C. If you prefer your brew on the adventurous side, keep an eye out for their “Plus” teas, which feature interesting flavors like coconut, peach and lemonade.
Honest Tea is the top-selling organic bottled iced tea in the U.S., and even former U.S. President Obama is a fan of their Black Forest Berry flavor.
All of Honest Tea’s beverages are low in calories, USDA Organic Certified and Fair Trade Certified. Their iced teas come in more than a dozen varieties, with flavors ranging from Heavenly Lemon Tulsi to Mango Açaí White Tea, and they contain a small amount of honey, agave syrup or organic cane sugar. Need another reason to stick with Honest Tea? A study by ChromaDex Laboratories found their “Green Tea with Honey” flavor to have 215 mg of catechins (powerful antioxidants) per bottle — much higher than other brands.
Tejava is the world’s only 100-percent all-natural, micro-brewed, bottled Javanese iced black tea.
In order to ensure the best tasting brew, their tea leaves are handpicked from the top of each branch — and only during Java’s optimum harvesting months, May through October. Tejava uses a unique micro-brewing process to strip the leaves of the bitterness often associated with black tea. This results in a distinctive, bold flavor with no unpleasant aftertaste.
Besides being calorie-free, Tejava contains no additives, artificial ingredients or preservatives. Each bottle contains 50 mg of naturally occurring caffeine — perfect for hot summer days when you’re craving something more refreshing than your usual cup of joe.
All of Steaz’s USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified teas contain at least 120 mg of antioxidants per bottle, which means you can pat yourself on the back each time you take a sip.
Try the blueberry, pomegranate and açaí tea, a refreshing blend of full-bodied fruit flavors with no cloying sweetness or artificial aftertaste. Steaz uses organic evaporated cane juice, which is less processed than other forms of sugar. If you’re watching your caloric intake, try their Sparkling Green Tea, which is sweetened with stevia and has zero calories and zero carbs. In keeping with the green theme, Steaz donates a percentage of every beverage purchased at Whole Foods to the Whole Planet Foundation.
At only five calories and one gram of sugar per serving, Bai Antioxidant Supertea still manages to be sweet without any artificial sweeteners.
Each bottle of iced tea features stevia — a natural, plant-based substitute for sugar — and is infused with antioxidants courtesy of coffee fruit, the company’s “not-so-secret” superfruit. Exotic flavors range from Brasilia Blueberry to Panama Peach but our favorite is Paraguay Passionfruit Tea. During our taste test, it was the most drinkable flavor with a soothing, fruity aroma and equally fruity flavor that didn’t leave much of a stevia aftertaste.
Tazo began life as a small, Portland-based specialty-tea company.
Known for creating unique blends with New-Agey names such as “Awake” and “Zen,” the brand was snapped up by Starbucks in 1999. Made from organic tea leaves, Tazo’s bottled iced teas are affordable and come in a wide variety of flavors. Sure, you can find these teas at every Starbucks, but that doesn’t mean the stuff isn’t good — we recommend the Giant Peach, a fruity refresher that’s just what you need on a warm summer day.
Argo Signature Bottled Teas boast a concoction of all-natural ingredients: loose leaf tea, real fruit and pure cane sugar.
Available in seven flavors, these teas come in 13.5 oz glass bottles that are substantial enough to be reused and can be recycled as well. The Green Tea Ginger Twist is not only a refreshing favorite with real bits of ginger, but it’s also great for calming indigestion.