Sweet-tea from Sweet Leaf

I have fond and strong familial emotions around the topic of sweet tea.  In my southern childhood, sweet tea was an every day beverage, as essential to the day as, well, as water.  More so perhaps.  Here’s one thing non-southerners don’t seem to grasp about making sweet tea: you have to mix the sugar into the hot tea water.  You can’t add the sugar after the fact, it just won’t turn out right.  And don’t even think you can have sweet tea with artificial sweetener.   Uh-uh.

While I can go on about good tea and maybe later I will reminisce about tea, today I want to talk about why I have added Sweet Leaf Tea to my product line up.

Since I didn’t have time to track down a local store and try them out, I went strictly on the information on their website. It’s a good story and since they appear to still be an independent company with sustainable values, seemed like a risk worth taking.

When the product got here, I opened up the peach flavor tea. I probably would have gone with the straight up sweet tea, but the distributor guy says the peach is a big seller. So, that’s the first one I tried. The other is the mint. Now, from way back, we drank sweet tea straight. No fancy-pants extra flavors. Not even mint, although considering how well mint will grow in the south, that’s kind of a surprise now.

The peach Sweet Leaf is tasty and the peach flavor does remind me of the sweet flavor of a tree-ripened peach of my childhood. For that, I say “Bravo! Well done!” On the other hand, over this last year of my food journey, I’ve learned to be skeptical of, well, everything. On their ingredient list they say “with the rich flavor of peach” and their ingredient list says “natural peach flavor” which is not the same as “flavored with peach juice” or even “peach juice concentrate”. And having learned that what labeling laws will allow to be called “natural” versus what I consider “natural” can be starkly different, I’m not sold on that tag either.

I’ve sent an email and left a voice mail to get clarification. In the meantime, I’m going to presume innocent until proven guilty and figure that mostly this is a good product from a good company and worthy of being in my store.

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