On my way to work from the office, I decided to pick up some lunch from a place that sells bagels and other foodstuffs, but notable for their bagels. I hadn’t been in one for a few years. After making my food selection, I went to pay and asked for a large iced green tea. The container holding the tea had been in sight while I was making my food order. Lovely green label on it stating “Iced Green Tea”. Nice, tasty, healthy green tea. I parted with an Andrew Jackson in exchange for my meal and set back out for the office.
Once at work, I started up the poor beast that passes for my computer (I’ve been here six years as of 17 October and it’s neither crashed nor been replaced), knowing I could consume my lunch by the time it had started and gotten itself ready.
My sandwich was tasty: a ciabotta roll with turkey, bacon, onion, tomato, lettuce, and light on the chipotle mayo. The onions were a bit strong, so I unwrapped the straw and popped it into the tea and took a sip. It took everything in me not to do a spit take. SWEET!! Offensively sweet! How the fuck can people ruin green tea in such a way??
Once I got over this rude shock, I walked to the “kitchen” a got two teabags of green tea to place in the offending liquid back at my desk. At nearly $3 for what I got, I’m not dumping it out. It is barely drinkable at the time I type this.
Sweettea, or Sahweettea depending on who you’re speaking to, is something that has managed to migrate north of the Mason-Dixon. However, unlike Waffle House, it is something I do not welcome. The intrusion of this obscenely sweet concoction (is it five pounds of sugar to one gallon of tea?? It certainly tasted like it) has necessitated the need to specify the type of iced tea I want at most food establishments. I find this highly annoying. Having to preface my beverage order with “unsweetened” to make certain I get what I want is cumbersome. I have had to start this because of a visit to a Bob Evans several years ago.
I had been in the mood for comfort food and what could be more comforting than a bowl of their chicken and noodles? I had been seated promptly and was perusing the menu to see if something else would catch my fancy. I looked at the beverage list: usual soda offerings, coffee, hot tea, and iced tea. No where did it mention I had a choice of sweetened or unsweetened. The waitress came over and asked if I was ready to order. “Yes, I am. May I have a bowl of chicken and noodles and an iced tea with lemon? Thank you.” After the waitress left, I opened my newspaper and started reading. She was back in no time, setting my drink on the table with a straw. I unwrapped the straw and popped it into the glass and took a rather long draught. My eyes near popped out of my head, or it felt like it. I managed to get the waitress back over. “What is this?? Don’t you have plain iced tea anymore?” “Yes, we do, but I assumed you wanted sweet tea.” “How do you know I’m not diabetic? Anyways, the menu didn’t say you had both. Had I known, I certainly would have specified. May I have some unsweetened tea, please?”
Ever since that encounter, I have always found myself stressing “unsweetened iced tea” when ordering.
Sweet tea is, in my opinion, an abominable concoction that does not need to exist. Unless an establishment is using some sort of sugar substitute, Splenda comes to mind since it doesn’t have phenylalanine, the amount of sugar used in relation to the amount of tea in the container seems excessive. Not to mention, the beverage becomes another source of empty calories on top of what could be an already calorie heavy meal…and people want refills.
The rest of you can have this stuff, I don’t want it. Food establishments should train their wait-staff to default to unsweetened, never assume sweetened if not specified by the consumer. I need to go Wisp my teeth and tongue.