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January 2017
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Jerking Around #10 - A (Mostly-)Failed Experiment

Today, just because I was in the mood, I tried an experiment with the SodaStream. It didn’t work out as planned.

I happen to like iced tea with mint flavor in it, especially when the weather is excessively summery. Unfortunately, the only commercial mint iced tea that I’ve ever come across is Snapple’s, and it seems to show up for a summer, then disappear for three or four years. And right now, it’s disappeared. So, I decided to try to make my own.

Bigelow has a (bagged) flavor they call Plantation Mint; this is an acceptable black tea (not as nice as most Twinings blends) with a decent mint flavor, not too strong. It also doesn’t need any added sugar when brewed hot or as “sun tea”. This made it a perfect tea for this experiment, as SodaStream says that carbonating after flavoring is a bad idea because you end up with sugar in hard-to-clean–or impossible-to-clean–places in the device. Since the tea in question doesn’t actually need sweetening (and none is listed in the ingredients), I figured that in this case it would be safe to make the tea normally, chill it, and then carbonate it. So I did.

There is a good reason not to carbonate already brewed tea in a SodaStream: It gets very excited and wants to escape the bottle urgently. After cleaning up the resulting mess, I did have enough left to taste, and that little bit is the reason that this is a mostly failed experiment, instead of a completely failed one.

As a carbonated beverage, tea needs sweetening. The mild acidity of the soda and the mild acidity/bitterness (not sure what to call it) of the tannins in tea reinforce each other just enough to be unpleasant. Once you’ve added enough of a sweetener (I was using cane sugar) to cut the acidity, but not enough to make it sweet, it becomes quite tolerable, and, of course, if you like sweeter beverages, you can always add more. I would actually consider doing this again, if I could find a way to carbonate it without it becoming so exuberant.

I find the tea bags in boxes of 25 in my local Stop-and-Shop; Bigelow is a widely-available brand that I would expect to find in any supermarket and many small grocers.

Made with SodaStream
Tea bags (Bigelow Plantation Mint) sold in boxes of 25
0 Cal/fl oz (0kcal/100ml)
Unsweetened
The Bigelow Tea Company

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