Creating a new bottled iced tea, it should be easy right?!
Well it’s been 18 months of research and development, but here I’ll take you through some of our key decisions we made along the way. Our guiding principles have steered us in developing Sweet Sally Tea. I always said I wanted an all-natural product which actually tastes like tea. We pledged to be honest in all communications and to recognize that our customers are smart and see through the marketing tactics of other drink companies.
When creating Sweet Sally we could have made it faster, cheaper and with greater ease had we compromised on ingredients, quality and the manufacturing process. We are proud of Sweet Sally Tea and even prouder when we see people enjoying it!
Decision 1 – Tea Ingredient and Method
The starting point and the most crucial decision we made was the tea ingredient and method. Extract, concentrate or freshly brewed?
Most bottled iced teas use tea extract which provides the tea flavour. This is the cheapest way to create an “iced tea”, but it provides the poorest tea taste.
The fresh brew method is the closest to how people brew tea at home – think of a giant tea pot! We found this method provided the best overall tea taste by far.
Nutritional analysis also show tea extracts provide only a fraction of the antioxidants contained in bottled teas made using the fresh brew method. The USDA flavonoid content database is a great resource in this area, which looks at tea and other food groups.
So when it came to selecting which method – it was a no brainer – freshly brewed organic tea (the best). It makes the product much more expensive to produce, but we didn’t want to compromise when following our objective of producing the best possible iced tea.
– Most authentic tea taste
– Premium organic tea
– Highest levels of antioxidants
Decision 2 – Ingredients for Flavour
Next, we had to decide if we should use flavourings or use fresh juices in order to complete our iced tea recipe. Again, the majority of mainstream “iced teas” will use “natural flavouring” rather than fruit juice. We experimented with “natural flavourings” but we found that it didn’t provide the best taste.
We then needed to decide whether to use juices from concentrate or not from concentrate. After experimenting, we concluded the not from concentrate juice provided the best overall taste.
It makes the product much more expensive to produce, but again we didn’t compromise when following our objective of producing the best possible iced tea.
– Best taste profile
– Higher nutritional levels
Decision 3 – Level of Sweetness
Our guiding principle here was that we want our iced tea to retain its authentic tea taste, rather than becoming a sugary tea flavoured drink – which many mainstream bottled iced teas become.
The average cola is 11% sugar, lemonade 10% sugar, ginger beer 10% sugar, ginger ale 9% sugar and tonic 8% sugar. After taste tests we decided on a sugar level of 4 grams per 100ml (4% of the overall drink). This is extremely low in comparison to other soft drinks.
– Less Sweet. More Flavour
Please help me continue spreading the sweet word about Sweet Sally Tea by sharing with your family and friends. As always I’d love to hear your feedback on this post so please comment below.