Bad Expensive Tea

Pomegranate 7UP

BY: Dr Pepper/Seven Up Inc.

I Paid: $1.69 for 2 liters (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 4stars


Marketing: 4stars

There’s good reason to be suspicious of pomsploitation products; it seems like every kind of food, from yogurt to toothpaste, now has some kind of pomegranate version. And although the health benefits of pom seem well substantiated (so much so that physicians even worry about pom–drug interaction problems), often the flavor impact is marginal at best. Few products contain the bracing tartness of a real pomegranate.

Similarly, Pomegranate 7UP only has a nibble of piquancy. But at least it’s not syrupy sweet like Mountain Dew. In fact, it’s very good: well balanced and surprisingly elegant, with the usual 7UP citrus notes muted and an aggressive level of refreshing carbonation. Even better, it makes a great party drink: Not only is it festively red colored, but also it stands up to vodka well.

Revolution Black Tea

By: Revolution Tea

I Paid: $4.99 for 16 tea bags (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 1stars


Marketing: 5stars

Everything about Revolution Tea suggests quality, from its slick, minimalist packaging and silky fabric tea bags to its high-end price tag (around $5 for 16 bags). And if weak and flavorless is what you get from quality tea, then Revolution has filled its promise.

Three flavors, Earl Grey Lavender, Sweet Ginger Peach, and English Breakfast, were washed-out-tasting to the point of beggaring belief. Bags steeped for five minutes (the upper end of the recommended three- to five-minute steeping time) produced a flavor not unlike the one you sample when you accidentally get a mouthful of water while taking a shower. The Sweet Ginger Peach especially broke my heart, because of its sweet, intoxicating aroma. Alas, as in all three cases, an astringent black-tea note overwhelmed any other flavors that might have made for a pleasant sipping experience. A brewing experiment (using three bags of Sweet Ginger Peach at once) resulted in a tea so astringent it tasted like corporal punishment in a cup.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.