Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Carolina Honey Argo Tea - Whole Foods: Mt Laurel, NJ

Carolina Honey Argo Tea - Whole Foods: Mt Laurel, NJ
Remember how I used to complain about my local Whole Foods being in a really inconvenient location? Well I started my new job last week, and now I drive past it every day. This means I can grab some interesting items to review in the near future and it'll actually be convenient. (Any suggestions on items I should review?) Last week I tried to pick up a new bottle of the 100% Raw Tea, but it was nowhere to be found. (I hope Whole Foods didn't stop carrying it. It was a really interesting product.) Since I was there anyway, I decided to grab another fancy tea to review.
Okay, let's start off with the packaging. Right off the bat, this product has issues with air bubbles underneath the plastic label, which is an absolute shame. All of the bottles on the shelf were not refrigerated and they all looked exactly like this. I'm not sure if these were refrigerated at one point and then left at room temperature, or if they always looked like this, either way, it's pretty unappealing.

Ignoring the obvious moisture and air issues, the design is really modern and refreshing. Instead of a bunch of text to explain the flavor of this tea, we have simple, yet crisp, food imagery. I love it! I found the images to be very alluring and I could easily spot this lemon and honey black tea on the shelf. (Lemon and honey in black tea is one of my favorite beverages ever!) Other than the imagery, the packaging also features easily readable white text. Even with the bubbling, most of the text was really easy to read...until I got towards the bottom of the label.
Why would you ever use a tea-colored font for the calorie count at the bottom? With the calories being pretty low, I would think this is something the company would want to advertize more, and I wouldn't even notice it until I was done drinking the entire bottle. Why not use white like the rest of the text? I really like the concept behind this product's design, but there are definitely some problems that need to be addressed. (For now... keep reading.)

Time to talk about the actual tea. (All T no shade hunty. Anyone else watching Drag Race Season 6?)
This cap may be HUGE, but it twists off rather easily. Once removed, I could smell black tea that has been drowned in honey. Seriously, I love honey, but even I have to admit that this scent is pretty intense, and the aroma isn't entirely natural either. This stuff smells like a mixture of honeycomb and the honey-like syrup that you can buy in a bear-shaped bottle. (FYI, a lot of that stuff is mostly honey-flavored corn syrup.) I can't smell the lemon juice at all, but the scent could just be overwhelmed by all of the sweeteners. It might taste lemon-ier than it smells.

Black tea may be the first ingredient listed, but the sugar and honey really pack a punch. My first sip was intensely honey flavored, and there was a mild lemony after taste, but the acidity of the lemon wasn't enough to balance all of the sweetness. I don't get the refreshing feeling I normally have when I drink black tea with honey and lemon. The level of sweetness in this drink is more on par with an Arizona Iced Tea than a fresh brewed one. I me, this is more like a sweet treat than a refreshing beverage. It's yummy, but I wouldn't reach for it on a scalding hot day.
Now I mentioned that the packaging portion wasn't exactly finished, and that's because...
You can completely remove the entire label!

There's no sticky residue, no logo, no nothing! The glass bottle is absolutely perfect and there is no logo on the cap at all. (Just a sweet little message saying "Twist Cap, Lift Spirit.) Without the label, this looks like a fancy reusable glass bottle. (At least I think so.) Although it is entirely recyclable, I'll be keeping mine to transport tea and juice to work with me. For the price, this is a really nice, reusable, glass bottle. 
Although I felt it was a bit too sweet for a tea-based beverage, I did enjoy this product, and I will be trying other flavors in the future. (Plus I'll be keeping this bottle for sure.)
© Maria Smith http://poison-and-antidote.net
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