Saturday, January 3, 2009

Steaz Organic Sparkling Green Tea Root Beer

It looks like it has a plastic halo.

Steaz Organic Sparkling Green Tea Root Beer

The bottle front has "root beer" in italics, but I think they meant for it to be in quotes because this sure as hell has nothing to do with root beer. Nothing at all, as far as I can tell. This isn't root beer, it's "root beer" with double air quotes and a sarcastic sneer.

The taste is more of a cream soda. A very rich cream soda, thick and sweet. There is a weedy aftertaste of green tea in there, that's certain. Not the friendly kind of green tea we normally get in the United States, but that foul "real" green tea that they make in Japan.

I've only had "authentic" green tea once. It was a thing they put on for tourists at a temple in Japan, in Kyoto I think. They sat you down and did a whole tea ceremony thing in a temple garden down on the part your not supposed to walk around in. It was great, descending into the forbidden zone, the whole tea bit where they whisk the tea and do other crap to it. It's been a long time, I can barely remember. It was great up to the point where I drank the tea, it was incredibly bitter and thick leaving my mouth awash in misery.

This is THAT kind of green tea, the kind of green tea that's all air quotey "authentic" because the people who invented it drink it. And as a flavor in the Steaz it ain't so bad because it's weak and small, like a little bully hiding behind a big bully. As I choked down my first mouthful I gave that taste a pleasant nod, it was like passing a sworn enemy on the street, but a classy sworn enemy. You nod in recognition, not friendliness.

Steaz gets everything right but the flavor. The bottle has a USDA certified organic sticker, whatever that means. It also has a "fair trade tea" logo, which makes me uneasy because that particular logo has an image of a little person on it, split down the middle into black and white. Each half carries a bowl, so it seems like it's about white people being fair to black people.

Sure, that's what fair trade IS, but I don't like to have it spelled out so clearly. Makes me uncomfortable.

Even the ingredients are spot on: Sparkling Filtered Water, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Caramel Color, Natural Flavors, Organic Fair Trade Certified Green Tea, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Citrate. Most of the label is adjectives reassuring you that the stuff they are feeding you isn't evil.

And wait a minute, isn't "Organic Evaporated Can Juice" a two dollar way of saying "sugar"?

But like I said, they did it all right and it turned out so bad. And besides that, IT'S NOT ROOT BEER! It's frickin' cream soda. There is not a single damned thing about this that has any thing to do with root beer. Feh. I seriously wonder if there was a mistake at the bottle factory.

The worst thing about this, though, is that my wife gave me a four pack for Xmas. I'll be foisting this off on unwitting guests for weeks to come.


  1. good call on the "sugar" masquerading as green tea. I feel sorry for your guests. check out this link:

  2. meant "organic evaporated cane juice" masquerading as "sugar". Oh, and they sell this stuff to kids in schools.

  3. I broke my "studied ingnorance" rule and looked at the links. I was both heartened by having other folks reinforce my generally negative opinion of the stuff and discouraged by how much better those people write.

    Rock on with the links, is this some sort of anti-Steaz campaign? When I wrote this review I had no idea there had been a Steaz run in the blog world.

  4. They also call it "Steap" in other areas of the country. I think you'll recall that the stuff isn't cheap, but it is crap. I actually ended up pouring mine out under a tree. I don't remember hearing the tree scream, thankfully.

  5. Liquid foulness by any other name...

  6. So I just drank another one of these. I'll stand by my original review, except that this bottle had hardly any green tea taste at all. Just weird, foamy milk taste.