I love iced tea. I love tea in general but iced tea is an especially fond portion of my beverage consumption. I am, by blood, almost half Scottish so a good deal is also something I'm especially fond of finding. Enter canned iced tea. Arizona puts out about 20,000 kinds of canned iced tea (including the Arnie Palmer, the greatest beverage in the world) in a huge 23 fl. oz. can. All for a whopping buck. $1. One greenback, one smackeroo.
Needless to say, they rank high on my list of Awesome Quaffables.
However, one thing that bothers me about Arizona is they love to use HFCS, or high-fructose corn syrup. It's not that I don't like drinking it because I'm afraid it's bad for me and it'll make me fat (I'm a beverage reviewer and I'm already fat), it's mainly because I don't like the mouth-feel it gives beverages and, honestly, HFCS is generally just too damn sweet. So, while walking through the grocery store I saw a beloved 23 oz., $1 can of tea and I reached for it. But it wasn't Arizona. It was a company called Peace Tea.
As you can see above, the artwork on the can is pretty cool. There's a hand giving a peace sign (obligatory) as well as a guy that looks like Merlin, an Indian chick, a guy in the background that looks like an Oompa Loompa wearing a red chef's hat, a cow, and Clark Kent at 50 off in the far corner. I'm gonna hedge my bets on this is supposed to be the local people of Ceylon. For the record, I want to live there if it means living near Merlin and a neon-blue cow. Anyway, the tea itself is pretty good. The color isn't thin and watery looking, it's thick and rich like a good brewed tea. The smell itself is pretty muted but it smells like a black tea (albeit not a very fine one). But the best part of this beverage is that it's made with real, honest-to-goodness cane sugar. Om nom nom! This tea comes so close to perfection I can almost taste it. Almost. The first sip is glorious: ice cold, perfectly brewed tea with the fresh sweetness of real sugar and just a hint of citrus bite from citric acid. Then the last bit hits. This sickly sweet, chemical-like sweetness.
The last ingredient in this tea is made with my bane of manufactured sweetners: sucralose. You know this by its brand name of Splenda. I hate Splenda solely because the first taste of Splenda dupes you into thinking its sugar, then the aftertaste is like the baby of HFCS and a gallon of methanol. It's this sickly sweet artificial taste that kills it. And this tea doesn't have a lot of it, but just enough to piss me off to levels I've never been to before in my life. If it didn't have the sucralose in it, I would just start funneling this into my body as quick as I could buy cans. But Captain Splenda has to come in and give me a big 'ole "Screw you, buddy" and then leave me with a can of tea that could have been so very perfect.
So, yeah. This is a thinly veiled rant against manufactured sweeteners. I hate them and my degree is probably responsible for creating them. Sweet-N-Low, Splenda, Nutrasweet...they all need to burn. HFCS needs to be dropped into the deepest mineshafts the world has. Plain brown sugar or agave syrup are the best things to sweeten things with, bar none. Oh, and maple syrup. That stuff is great.