Saturday, January 06, 2007

Green Tea Abominations

About 3 years ago I made the switch from coffee to green tea. Since then, it seems everywhere I turn I see another news story touting the health benefits of green tea, and how it does everything, from shedding fat and boosting brain power to fighting every cancer known to man. There's no doubt that green tea is the best thing EVER and I am a true believer, but lately I've noticed a lot of strange products that probably should have never made it out of the test kitchens. I'm sure the marketing heads at every giant food processing conglomerate have been working overtime, trying to leverage this green tea "fad" in any way they can. The following is just a short list of their unholy concoctions; all are generally pretty bad (tasting) and have little to offer in the way of green tea's proven health benefits. Still, that doesn't stop them from trying, so here I offer just a few examples of what I call "Green Tea Abominations"...

Green tea lovers beware...First up, Lipton's bottled Green Tea (with citrus!). I actually brought this home from work, I didn't pay money for it. I think the person in charge of keeping us stocked with water and soft drinks thought I'd really enjoy this, knowing I'm such a green tea fanatic. Going into my taste test, expectations weren't terribly high, so I wasn't at all disappointed to find it doesn't taste like green tea so much as yellow sugar-water. Still, that doesn't keep my co-workers from drinking it by the case load. One might forgive their ignorance if it weren't for the fact that they are exposed to the real thing on a daily basis. Listen up, people - if you're looking for real GREEN TEA flavor and the full spectrum of it's health benefits, this is definitely NOT the shizznit. Moving on...

This is Matcha??Next, the Green Tea Frappacino at Starbucks. I happened to sample this at the Starbucks kiosk at my local grocery store. A little barista approached me with samples and I was both suspicious and intrigued by its distinctive bright green color. Once she assured me it was made with real matcha, I decided I could bypass the blob of whipped cream on top and gave it a try. If she had not been so young and earnest, I would have spit it out right there on the spot! Yes, there's the definite flavor of matcha, but it's so covered over by massive loads sugar, cream and god knows what else I could barely make myself swallow it. It has the kind of sweetness that can give you an instant headache, not to mention a weight problem. A 16oz, grande-sized serving of this stuff carries a whopping 500 calories, 16g of fat and an astounding 74g of carbohydrates - making it a huge hit in America. In my opinion there's nothing about this drink to recommend it, other than possibly making matcha a household word, at least among Starbucks aficionados. Pass this one by and oh yeah, get the hell out of Starbucks!

Hazardous MaterialThis next item is so bad, I don't even think they make it anymore. I was standing in line at the grocery when I happened to spy this Green Tea Formula Gum - Nature's Antioxidant! The box brags that one piece is equivalent to 2 cups of green tea. "I'll be the judge of that!" I said to myself, knowing before I even opened it that the taste would probably not thrill me. However, nothing could have prepared me for a taste so foul, so unbelievably bad that after 5 chews I was headed toward the trash can. I couldn't get it out of my mouth fast enough and almost threw up. What was the flavor? Faintly reminiscent of Pine Sol? Industrial waste? Nicotine gum tastes better than this! Nothing about it even hints at green tea - it's a complete waste of effort. If you ever encounter this gum, keep at least 10 feet between you and this egregious green tea impostor. It's that bad.

You have been warned.