Traditional Brewed Teas – these are teas that are brewed by the traditional technique of pouring boiling water over the tea leaves or tea bag. The one’s near the top can be considered economy or low cost teas and if you click here it will jump to teas with a more premium price and usually a more premium taste and quality. You can also click here for my top three traditionally brewed iced teas.
When you think of iced tea, Lipton brand is probably one of the first teas that comes to mind. Lipton has a number of iced tea products, the most notable of which is their traditionally brewed iced tea bags. The packaging has changed slightly over the years, but this is the iced tea that most know very well. It usually comes in boxes that contain either 24 or 48 bags and the price usually ranges from about $2 to $5, which comes out to about 6 cents per 16 ounces of tea. This makes it a very economical choice for iced tea. Lipton’s iced tea is a blend of orange pekoe and pekoe cut black tea.
From what I can tell, Luzianne iced tea is the South’s version of Lipton iced tea. The ingredients are the same as Lipton iced tea and the price is roughly the same (also close to 6 cents per 16 ounces of tea). The label indicated they each 8 ounce glass contains 33 mg of caffeine. The taste is also very similar to Lipton, which is basically a “no frills” traditional black iced tea. I would consider this a safe, reliable and economical fresh brewed iced tea option.
Community brand “Porch Breeze Tea” is another lower priced iced tea. For under $3 you can get 24 bags which each make a quart of iced tea. This tea is similar in price to Lipton and Luzianne at about 5-6 cents per 16 ounces of tea. This is a pretty good tasting tea, which is also comparable in taste to Lipton and Luzianne fresh brewed iced teas.
Tetley tea is a tea that also falls into the “economy” classification of tea based on it’s price of about 5 cents per 16 ounces of tea. The cost for a box of 24 tea bags is usually about $2.49. Chick-fil-A brews Tetley tea brand in their restaurants and overall it is a pretty good tasting tea.
Pure Leaf Iced Classic Black Tea is marketed as more of a premium iced tea. Even though they don’t make it overly obvious, Pure Leaf is a Lipton product. This tea is made of “high-grown, single-origin Kenyan black tea” according to their label and website. Pure Leaf is considerably more expensive than the Lipton and Luzianne iced teas listed above. 16 bags which makes 16 glasses of tea cost about $5. This comes out to a little more than 30 cents per 16 ounces of tea. I enjoy the taste and you can tell a difference between Pure Leaf and the teas listed above. I would say Pure Leaf is noticeably smoother than Lipton and Luzianne, but otherwise I wouldn’t say there is anything overly unique about it’s taste to justify it’s price.
Tazo iced true black tea is a traditional home brewed tea that has a really good taste. It’s price is only a bit higher than Lipton’s and Luzianne’s traditionally brewed iced tea and one of the lower priced “premium teas”. It usually is about $3.50 for a box of 6 large tea bags, that makes 6 (64 ounce) pitchers. This comes out to about 15 cents per 16 ounces of tea. The ingredients are “a blend of black teas”. Tazo indicates this tea contains 16-30 mg of caffeine per 8 ounces, assuming you brew them with a standard brewing method. As I said, I really enjoy the taste which is a bit more distinct and has a stronger tea flavor when compared to the higher priced Pure Leaf described above. Until a few years ago, when they switched to Teavana, Starbucks served Tazo tea. Considering it’s great taste and that it is priced just a bit higher than the very low priced teas, Tazo ranks high on my list of traditionally brewed iced teas.
Shangri La has a Natural Black Iced Tea in both regular and organic. This brand too is marketed more as a premium iced tea and has a price to match. A bag of 6 costs about $9, which comes out to about 37 cents per 16 ounces of tea. This is one of the more unique tasting fresh brewed iced teas I have come across. It’s taste is much more distinct than the teas I mentioned above, but is also very smooth. I would say that this tea has a very slight and not overpowering floral taste. The ingredients are listed as “finest black tea and flavorings”. In 2013 Shangdi La’s unflavored black tea won the North American Tea Championship for best iced tea.
Lipton more recently has introduced unsweetened iced tea K-cups. These taste very similar, if not exactly the same as the traditional brewed tea bags. The ingredients are also the same (orange pekoe and pekoe cut black tea.) This however is a much more expensive way to enjoy Lipton iced tea. A box of 18 K-cup pods is usually around $10 and each pod is only designed to make one large glass of iced tea, which comes out to about 55 cents per 16 ounces of tea.
Mighty Leaf has some really good tasting iced teas. On it’s site, their organic black iced tea is described as follows: “This dark amber thirst-quencher is a bracing, rich iced tea. Made with organic black tea leaves and just the right amount of sunny disposition, this classic iced tea makes it easy to sit back and enjoy.” This is the best tasting home brewed iced tea I have tasted so far. It definitely has a “rich” iced tea taste as it is described above. This tea is sold on their site for $4.95 which includes 6 pouches that each make 1 quart of tea. That comes out to be one of the higher priced teas at about 41 cents per 16 ounces of tea. You can also purchase 10 gallon sized pouches for $12.95, which comes out to about 17 cents per 16 ounces.
Another one of Mighty Leaf’s teas is their Summer Solstice loose leaf iced tea. This tea sells for $10.95 for a 4 ounce container on the Mighty Leaf website. That comes out to a premium price of about 58 cents per 16 ounces of tea. On their site this tea is described as “This summer-inspired iced tea blend contains China and India teas for a brisk, refreshing glass with slightly sweet, toasty notes.” I really enjoy the taste of this tea as well, but I did have to modify the brewing instructions to get the tea as strong as I would like.
PG Tips is an English brand tea that is self described as “the eighth wonder of the world”. Their tea bags are pyramid shape which they say “Our cleverly designed pyramid bags give the tea leaves room to move, releasing the great PG tips taste.” A box of 40 bags sells for a little under $5 in most stores. This comes out to roughly 20 cents per 16 ounces of iced tea. This is a good tasting tea, but I would not necessarily chose it over the other premium teas I have listed.
S&D is one of my favorite iced teas served in restaurants. Chipotle is one of the notable restaurants where it is brewed and served. The way in which this product is packaged makes me think it is intended more for commercial use than to be purchased by the consumer. There are no brewing instructions anywhere that I could find and the tea bags comes loose in a cardboard box like the one shown here. Having said that, this makes a great tasting home brewed iced tea which is very similar if not exactly the same as the tea they serve at Chipotle (especially if you brew it in the way described here). You can purchase this tea either on the S&D website or on Amazon and it comes in a box of 50 tea bags (which each make a 1/2 gallon of tea), or in a box of 96 bags (which each make 1 gallon of tea). The 50 pack calculates to under 9 cents per 16 ounces of tea, while the 96 pack comes out to under 4 cents per 16 ounces of iced tea.