Bottled tea - a review of 8 green tea drinks

Bottled tea - a review of 8 green tea drinks

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Everyday around noon I walk a few steps to the nearest vending machine and grab a cold, refreshing bottled tea. I live in Japan, so I’m talking about green tea. The vending machines are full of different varieties of green tea, unsweetened, 0 calories.

I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have so many choices until I came back to the United States to visit my family. I went to the store to quench my thirst for green tea, and every bottle was full of sugar and loaded with unnecessary calories!

This got me thinking – I decided to take a look at the 8 most popular teas in America to get an idea of which ones are better than the others. I’ve listed them in order from best to worst.

To rate the teas, I looked at the ingredients, amount of green tea, amount of sugar, whether it is organic or contains artificial sweeteners, number of calories, amount of caffeine, and the amount of antioxidants (EGCG and total catechins), if listed.

Bottled green teas from best to worst

1. Harney & Sons Organic Green

Serving size: 16 ounce bottled tea

Ingredients: Triple Filtered Water, Contains Less Than 2% Of Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Honey, Brewed From A Blend (Select Organic Green Tea, Organic Ginkgo Biloba Leaves And Organic Lemongrass), Natural Flavor, Organic Flavor, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate.

Calories: 20 per 8 ounces (40 per bottle)

Caffeine: 37 mg per 8 ounces (74 mg per bottle)

EGCG: 46.8 mg per 8 ounces (93.6 mg per bottle)

Catechins: 92.4 mg per 8 ounces (184.8 mg per bottle)

Review: Low in calories and caffeine, high in catechins and EGCG. Uses organic cane sugar and organic honey. Seems like the best option for bottled green tea.

2. Honest Tea - Green Tea with Honey

Serving size: 16.9 ounce bottled tea

Ingredients: Purified Water, Organic Cane Sugar, Fair Trade Organic Green Tea Leaves, Organic Honey, Natural Flavor, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), and Citric Acid.

Calories: 33.1 per 8 ounces (70 per bottle)

Caffeine: 47 mg per 8 ounces (94 mg per bottle)

EGCG: 27.2 mg per 8 ounces (57.5 mg per bottle)

Catechins: 56.4 mg 8 ounces (119.2 per bottle)

Review: Honest Tea claims on the bottle that there are 190 mg catechins per bottle, but Consumer Labs and other independent tests have only found 119 mg. Still, it has a decent amount of catechins and EGCG, and is low in calories. But a little higher in caffeine than #1.

3. Sweet Leaf – Organic Mint & Honey Green Tea

Serving size: 16 ounce bottled tea

Ingredients: Filtered water, organic cane sugar, organic green tea, organic honey, spearmint flavor, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), citric acid, natural flavors.

Calories: 60 per 8 ounces (120 per bottle)

Caffeine: 10 mg per 8 ounces (20 mg per bottle)

EGCG: 45 mg per 8 ounces (90 mg per bottle)

Review: A little higher in calories, which probably means more sugar than #1 and #2. I like the organic sugar, green tea, and honey. They claim there are 90 mg of EGCG per bottle on their website. This is pretty decent if it is true.

Suntory bottled green tea with matchaSuntory bottled green tea with matcha in Japan has 180 mg catechins!

4. Argo Tea - Green Tea Ginger Twist

Serving size: 16 ounce bottled tea

Ingredients: Fresh-brewed green tea (water, green tea), pure cane sugar, ginger root, lemon juice concentrate, natural vanilla flavor.

Calories: 60 per 8 ounces (120 per bottle)

Caffeine: 20 mg per 8 ounces (40 mg per bottle)

Review: The same amount of calories as #3, but not organic. Still – not bad. I couldn’t find any information about the antioxidants.

5. Arizona Green Tea – Ginseng & Honey

Serving size: 16 ounce bottled tea

Ingredients: Premium Brewed Green Tea Using Filtered Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup (Glucose-Fructose Syrup), Honey, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Ginseng Extract, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).

Calories: 70 per 8 ounces (140 per bottle)

Caffeine: 8.4 mg per 8 ounces (16.8 per bottle)

EGCG: 5.4 mg per 8 ounces (10.8 per bottle)

Catechins: 14.4 mg per 8 ounces (28.8 per bottle)

Review: Green tea and water are the first ingredients, but the calories are quite high and there are not a lot of catechins or EGCG. A big disappointment for Arizona Green Tea is that it is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.

6. Gold Peak Green Tea

Serving size: 18.5 ounce bottled tea

Ingredients: Water, sugar, natural flavors, tea powder, citric acid, ascorbic acid.

Calories: 60 per 8 ounces (138.75 per bottle)

Review: Tea powder is listed as the 4th ingredient. It’s hard to know if this is mainly sugar water or tea without knowing the amount of catechins. I couldn’t find any information about the antioxidants or caffeine. Also, tea powder does not specify the type of tea.

7. Diet Snapple Green Tea

Serving size: 16 ounce bottled tea

Ingredients: Filtered Water, Green Tea Concentrate, Citric Acid, Green Tea, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), green tea extract, sucralose, sugar, natural flavors, acesulfame potassium.

Calories: 0

Caffeine: 12.3 mg per 8 ounces (24.6 mg per bottle)

EGCG: 3.5 mg per 8 ounces (7 mg per bottle)

Catechins: 11.5 mg per 8 ounces (23 mg per bottle)

Review: With green tea concentrate as the 2nd ingredient, green tea as the 4th ingredient, and green tea extract as the 6th ingredient, you would think there would be a lot of catechins, but it is actually quite low compared to the others.

There are zero calories, but it is sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium. I try to avoid chemically made artificial sweeteners at all costs!

8. Sobe Energize Green Tea

Serving size: 20 ounce bottled tea

Ingredients: Filtered water, sugar, natural flavor, citric acid, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), green tea extract, caramel color, REB A (purified stevia extract), guarana seed extract, panax ginseng root extract, rose hips extract.

Calories: 80 per 8 ounces (200 per bottle)

Caffeine: 4 mg per 8 ounces (10 mg per bottle)

Review: Sugar water. Green tea extract is the 6th ingredient! This is a high calorie, sugary drink that shouldn’t even be called green tea. I couldn’t find any information about the antioxidants.

Final thoughts

I still feel disappointed that I couldn’t find a decent bottled green tea like in Japan. In Japan, all of the green tea drinks have a very simple ingredient list, which includes water, green tea, and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). There is no sugar or artificial sweetener.

For now, if you want real green tea, you’re going to have to brew it at home!

This article contains a link to DailyMatcha.com. Daily Matcha is our store where we sell green tea directly from Japan. Your purchases at Daily Matcha support our effort to keep this website free and to spread the word about green tea. Thank you!

Sources

ConsumerLab.com. (2014). Product review of green tea supplements, drinks, and brewable teas. Retrieved from https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/Green_Tea_Review_Supplements_and_Bottled/Green_Tea/

Becki
Becki Benedict has a Master’s degree in International Studies and has traveled extensively throughout Asia. She has lived and worked in Japan, China, and Thailand.

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