Trader Joe’s Blueberry and Pomegranate Green TeaPosted: February 5, 2012
Flavored vodkas, you guys. You see them up there on the billboard, looking all delicious, sparkling glasses wreathed in sweet, exotic flowers and boughs heavy with succulent berries. It makes you think, Damn, that looks delicious. So you get some and try and sip and you remember, a deep grimace crawling over your face , Oh yeah, it’s still just vodka.
Fruit infused, unsweetened tea is just the same way. You crack open a bottle, take a sip – and you grimace. Why the hell are they putting fruit in it if it isn’t sweet?, you ask, but the bottle is silent. It has no answers for you, only the tea.
Honestly, it’s beyond me as well. Same goes for fruit-infused, unsweetened water. You don’t see it quite as much as you used to in the 90′s, but it’s still out there, lurking on the highest rack of the grocery store shelves, slowly gathering dust.
These drinks fall squarely into the acquired taste category, no one ever picked up one of these drinks and fell in love with it out of the blue. Not in the America I know. Drinks like this blueberry and pomegranate green tea are the fall backs of people who, for one reason or another, simply can’t enjoy a beverage sweetened to all get out by high-fructose corn-syrup but can’t quite make a clean break of additive flavoring. Maybe it’s their health, or maybe it’s their conscience that’s got them, I don’t know.
So it’s a weird category I have to judge this bottled drink against. It’s not sweet, as advertised, but the fruit flavoring gives it a tongue-tingling taste that makes you wish it were. Blueberry is a fine taste, but I have to take umbrage here with pomegranates. I love pomegranates, they are easily in my top 5 favorite fruits of all time (FFOAT), top 3 even. There is nary a more delectable experience than splitting open a pomegranate and the leisurely plucking of it’s juicy seeds. That said, the horse has been beaten to a brutal death, long, long ago. The question I have to ask is, who was the madman who decided to start flavoring everything with it. Did he ever taste the pomegranate? Did he not realize, it’s tart as hell? Tart as shit even? Flavor something with pomegranate juice and the moment it hits your tongue it curls up and then goes dead for ten minutes. It has the same effect here – lending it’s astringent properties to the already slightly astringent green tea. The net effect? A tea that let’s you know when it’s been drunk. This is no guzzling tea, like the awesome Teajava, but a sipping tea. A tea that tells you what to do and how long to do it for. “Just a little bit,” it says, “Stop now.”
Is this a terrible thing? Not necessarily, it certainly makes the tea last, but between the tartness on the tongue and the way it leads you on without actually being sweet makes me relegate this to a highly selective drink I might enjoy once per summer, if parched on a hot day at the beach.
Would I Recommend It: Yes, but only if you’re already a buyer of unsweetened fruit-infused beverages (grandma’s, etc)
Would I But It Again: Once a year, maybe.
Final Synopsis: Good tea, but I just don’t get it.