Don’t get me wrong, I love tea. I do. I was raised in the south where tea is present at pretty much every meal. I drink mine unsweetened, unlike many or most people in the area, but it’s still my #1 go-to drink. I haven’t had a soda (cola) in roughly 11 years, and in that time I’ve gone through a whole lot of tea. (I have a great story about trying to order an iced tea in Boston just a few days before Christmas.)
But, clearly, I don’t really understand tea.
That is, I am left boggling at how tea absolutely must be fresh-brewed. If it isn’t—if you buy it in a bottle or a can or get it from a fountain—then it just tastes like pure crap. The manufacturers try to make it taste like something better than crap, normally by adding enough sugar or artificial sweetener to cover up the fact that it doesn’t taste anything like tea.
(Nestea from a fountain is the worst offender here. I’m amazed they can call it tea.)
So what is it about tea? What is the intrinsic quality that defies bottling? Why is it that we can put people into space, but can’t mass-produce a beverage that people have been making since before recorded time?