After our positive adventures with Archer Farms Mangosteen Herbal Red Tea, I continued the “tea” theme with another beverage… Hansen’s Natural Green Tea Soda Tangerine (is that title long enough or what?)
Just like the previously-reviewed Monster Energy, this drink is made by the Hansen Beverage Company, currently the #6 in the U.S. marketplace. A friend of mine provided me with this drink to try (Thanks Keith!), and since I don’t have much experience with either teas or natural drinks, I was up for the challenge.
The drink itself shares a similar profile of packaging with Monster Energy… tall 16 oz. can. There is definitely an Asian motif going on with the label style and color scheme, which showcases orange, tan, and green, along with a Chinese character prominently located next to the name. The big claim to fame with this drink is its inclusion of “35MG EGCG per can”.
What the heck is EGCG? According to the packaging, it contains at least 35MG per can and “research indicates that EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) is a significant antioxidant.” Firing up Wikipedia, we are told that “catechins are polyphenolic antioxidant plant metabolites, specifically flavonoids called flavan-3-ols. Although present in numerous plant species, the largest source in the human diet is from various teas derived from the tea-plant Camellia sinensis… According to Normal Hollenberg, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, epicatechin can reduce the risk of four of the major health problems: stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes.” Well, whatever it is, it seems to be driven by a health drink push, thus all the marketing that direction. Whether this stuff is actually good for you to have or what is beyond me. I drink, you decide!
Other proclamations you call pull from the label include “all natural flavors” (even though it contains no fruit juice), “no preservatives”, “no artificial colors”, and “no caffeine”. Let’s take a look at the ingredients, shall we? It starts off with filtered carbonated water… yes, this is a carbonated tea, probably why it’s branded as a “Green Tea Soda”. This is followed by glucose-fructose syrup. I’ve never actually seen this listed on a soda can before, so I’m not sure how different this is from high fructose corn syrup. My initial research showed that this phrase is used in the UK quite a bit and is pretty close to the US use of HFCS, so it might just be a marketing trick to say “see, we don’t use that evil high fructose corn syrup in our drink!” I love the next ingredient, natural flavors with extracts of Florida tangerines. Doesn’t get more specific than that! Cap if off with citric acid and Chinese green tea extract and that’s your beverage, ladies and gentlemen.
Enough of the background, how does it taste? Well, when I opened it, it smelled just a little citrusy, but not overtly so. There definitely was a tea aroma present. Upon drinking, Amy commented that it tasted like “Sprite with a tea aftertaste.” I’d agree with that assessment. There surprisingly wasn’t much of a tangerine or orange flavor at all. It skewed more lemon/lime than orange. The tea itself definitely wasn’t of the sweetened tea variety. This tasted more like just plain ole tea. I think the addition of the so-called tangerine flavoring softens the bitterness associated with tea, but that’s about it.
Overall, it’s a tingly tea with a little bit of flavor. Personally, I preferred the sweeter taste of Archer Farms Mangosteen Herbal Red Tea, but for you tea freaks out there, this might be worth exploring.