This is another Italian ice tea that’s hard to find outside of Italy: The SanThé – vero infuso di thé al limone, produced by the water brand Sant’Anna. 
Like Estathé, its name is also a play on words, combining the “San-“ from Sant’Anna with the italian word for tea, “thé” (Plus, it also sounds like the french word for ‘cheers’, “santé”, meaning health.) And like Estathé, its bottle also states the fact that it is a ‘real tea infusion’, which I guess means it’s not made from a concentrate or powder.

  • Italian
  • black tea based
  • lemon flavor
  • free of gluten, colorants and conservants

Santhé has a dark yellow color, going towards beige/brownish (practically the same as Estathé). It’s pretty opaque and if you hold the bottle to the light, you can even see some very small bits of tea swimming in it.

Its flavor is very sweet, refreshing and with a strong black tea base. It also has a good, natural tasting lemon flavor 🍋, which comes from added lemon juice (0.2% according to its label).
To be honest, there is something peculiar about this ice tea: It tastes almost the same as the Estathé Limone (see my last review)! Considering that they have the same ingredients (acording to their labels) and even sport the same claim (“vero infuso di thé”), I have a feeling that their productions might somehow be related – or at least heavily inspired from each other…

Once again, there are no indications available as to the sourcing of the ingredients used in this ice tea. Only that it is made in Italy, but nothing about where the tea and sugar come from and whether it is organically produced or fairly traded.

So far I’ve only seen it in Italy. This particular 0.5L PET bottle I picked up at a kiosk in Milan’s central station for 1.80 Euros, but I remember seeing it in large Italian supermarkets too (at a more appropriate price). I don’t know where else in the world you can find it, but I’m guessing it’s also one of the typical Italy-only products, unless someone would specifically import it. 
Which means: If you happen to be in Italy and come across one, go have a try!

+ sweet and refreshing taste
+ natural tasting lemon flavor
– only available in Italy
– no indications if fair-trade/organic

Overall Rating: 8/10

Estathé Limone

This is one of my all-time favorites: The Italian Estathé Limone – Vero infuso di thé! It’s really hard to find outside of Italy 🇮🇹 , so whenever I come here, one of the first things I do is get myself an Estathé! Its name is a combination of the Italian words “Estate” (= “summer” ☀️) and “thé” (which obviously means “tea” ☕️ ). It’s an extremely sweet black tea based ice tea with lemon 🍋  flavor.

It usually comes in a very special packaging: A small, white plastic cup covered with a tin aluminium-foil lid on top, along with a tiny straw wrapped in paper. To drink it, you take the straw out of its paper wrapping and pierce it through the aluminium lid.

  • Italian
  • unique packaging
  • very sweet
  • black tea based
  • lemon flavor
  • free of gluten, colorants and conservants

The thing is, the way I normally drink my Estathé, I don’t get to see its color, because you just suck it out of the tiny cup through the straw.
But when you get a can or bottle of Estathé (or if you just tear up the plastic lid) and fill it in a glass, you’ll see its color: An opaque light brown or beige-ish.
I guess it’s just the ‘real tea infusion’ and the lack of colorants that makes up this rather natural-looking color.

As I said, it is one of my favorites: Extremely sweet in its taste! In a way very mild, even though it clearly is black tea (and nothing else), but just sweet and gentle on the lips. The lemon flavor is strong and has a very natural flavor to it.
It is one of those teas which you can simply sip, in tiny sip (or sucks, as is the case here), bit by bit – or I could just drink vast quantities of it, if I had it available. I would not get sick of it, despite its sweetness.

In terms of ingredients the label remains a bit vague in the sense that it only describes the tea as “infuso di the (aqua, the)” and does not specify further. But it does state that it does not contain colorants, nor conservancy and neither gluten.

In terms of sourcing there is also no clear indication on the label, apart from it being an Italian product. It doesn’t seem to be organic nor fair-trade certified. That said, I don’t know of any Italian organic or fair-trade ice tea.

In Italy itself the Estathé is extremely popular and a name-brand in and of itself, which means: In a bar you don’t really ask for an ice tea (a “thé freddo”) if you want one (or you’ll get a San Benedetto or something else). But you have to specifically ask for an Estathé and it would be on the menu with its brand-name. And it mostly comes in that small 2cl cup, priced around 1 Euro at a bar. But in the super-markets you’ll find so-called bricks of 3 Estathé-cups at around 1.50 Euro.
It is also available in 0.3L aluminium cans (at bars, restaurants and shops), or 0.5L and 1.5L PET plastic bottles (at larger super-markets). But the tiny cup and brick or certainly its most popular form of packaging.

Outside of Italy you sometimes can find it too, but only rarely. So if you happen to come across one: Appreciate it! 😉😄

+ very nice sweetness
+ great black tea taste
+ nice lemon flavor
+ original packaging
– hard to find outside of Italy
– not organic, nor fair-trade

Overall Rating: 9/10

C’ICE Cannabis Ice Tea

This is an Austrian/Swiss product and a specialty or novelty type of ice tea, with added cannabis for its taste. I already had tried once a long time ago… but clearly I didn’t remember it, as I thought I’d give it a chance for a review. But oh no, what a disappointment this ice tea was! I really can’t attest to the “Bombastic Natural Feeling” that gets promoted on its carton-can.

  • cannabis-flavor
  • black tea based
  • added lemon flavor

Medium-brown-yellowish. Just a normal black tea based looking ice tea color, the added cannabis isn’t noticeable by sight.

Unfortunately I have to say: It tastes just awful. At first I thought: Hey, it’s just a normal, quite good black tea based ice tea, with a pretty strong lemon flavor – but then it hit me. An strong, almost grassy taste of cannabis, that permeates all of my mouth. And it doesn’t taste like the scent of weed or something remotely sweet, it rather has a poignantly stingy, bitter plant-flavour. Probably the worst is its after taste, as this unfitting bitterness passes over my throat and even tends to stick there. (Best is to wash it down with some other ice tea or drink.)

As far as I know, it is pretty easily available in Switzerland, maybe in Austria, but I doubt anywhere else. But by the taste of it, I don’t think that’s gonna change anytime soon.

+ originality of the idea
– awful taste
– bad taste keeps sticking
– high price

Overall Rating: 4/10

Virtue Ice Tea

This is an ice tea I just discovered in a local shop: Virtue Ice Tea Lemon. I had never seen it before and of course I had to try it right away. I straight away liked the design of the label – and that it says “naturally sweetened”…

But I was quite disappointed. At first it’s not even that bad, simply bland and unoriginal. But as you drink more, it gets ever more bitter… The acidity stuck in my mouth, I kept licking my lips. And in the end I had to open up and drink another ice tea, just to wash down this taste.

  • acidic, bitter taste
  • clear, brown-yellow color
  • sticky on the tongue

The color is a very clear, brown-yellowish amber. It is the same color as many mass-produced, low-cost local (non-)brand ice teas you get at the discounters.

The first taste is also similar to that of many discounter-ice teas (such as Elvis or M-Budget). A standard black-tea with a lot of artificially tasting lemon. If its really cold and I am thirsty,  the first few sips are alright and almost refreshing.
But as I keep swallowing, something seems to stick in my throat…
I liked that it says “naturally sweetened” at the front of the can. And I don’t know if it’s because of the sweetener used (on the smaller-print ingredients list it says: “steviol glycosides”), but the sweetness becomes immediately quite bitter in my mouth. The acidity sticks to the edges of my tongue and I keep licking my licks, to get rid of the bitter after-taste.
All this makes it quite awful and one of the worst ice teas I ever had so far.

Virtue Ice Tea is from the UK (and so far I have no idea of how big a brand it is). I got it in Zürich from an English specialties shop and according to their website their products are available in the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Cyprus and few more countries.

+ no sugar
– artificial sweetness
– bitter taste
– sticky, acidic after-taste
– high price

Overall Rating: 4/10

Migros Ice Tea ‘Kult’ – Zitrone

A great classic: Produced by the supermarket chain Migros, it is the most popular ice tea in Switzerland – and in fact one of the most well known products of their entire range. Hence they gave it the sub-name ‘Kult’, as is has an almost cult-like following. (I for one certainly drink it a lot of it.)

It is made with black tea, rosehip and most noticeably roselle (a type of hibiscus from West Africa). Its color is distinctively light and opaque, brown/beige/yellowish.

The taste is also very light: The sweetness flows over the tip of the tongue, most of the flavor is given off in the middle and it goes down the throat very softly, almost like water. This makes it an ice tea of which you can easily drink large quantities… (At least for a mass-produced product. If you drink loads of it, you will get sick from the sugar.)
The lemon-taste (“Zitrone”) can be felt, but it is relatively delicate and not too acidic.

  • light + opaque color
  • taste of roselle
  • uniquely light on the tongue
  • easily drinkable
  • sugary

As all mass-produced and non-organic ice teas it has a lot of sugar. But as opposed to some others, this ice tea contains only sugar – there isn’t the residual taste of artificial sweeteners. And I guess this is also one reason why it is so popular with the locals… Apart from the really unique black-tea/roselle mixture, that gives it its unique taste.

It is available in 2L, 1L, 0.25L Tetrapacks, 1.5L and 0.5L PET plastic bottles and prices start at 1.40 CHF/2L, which makes it a very affordable ice tea to buy, compared to other local options. But being a product of the Migros-brand, you can only find it in Switzerland and not anywhere else.
There exists also a peach version and (at least in the past) a light version of this ice tea.

+ light, sugary taste
+ easily drinkable
+ low price
– only available in Switzerland

Overall Rating: 8/10

Lipton Lemon Ice Tea

This is the other major big-brand ice tea — and one that I was drinking for many years (since it is the only one easily available at a reasonable price in the UK).

Unfortunately it has the same blandness to its taste as Nestea and its flavor is dominated by the artificial sweeteners. That said, it lacks the distinctive artificial sweet taste at the top of the tongue, which Nestea has. So it is more easily drinkable and flows down the throat without being too sticky.
Nevertheless it has a certain bitterness at the end of the tongue, upon swallowing.
The black tea is also quite obvious in the taste and the sugar is clearly noticeable.  Mixed with the artificial sweetener, the taste lingers on the lips until washed out with another drink. The artificial lemon taste is also very strong and permeates the whole aroma.

  • strong, but artificial lemon taste
  • very sweet (artificial sweetener + sugar)
  • consistent flavor

Same as the other big-brand ice tea it has quite a high consistency in taste the world over, although not quite as extreme as Nestea. You will notice just slight variations in taste from country to country, which I guess are due to the different water-sources used in the production of the ice tea.

On the plus side: This is probably THE most widely available ice tea in the world (maybe even more common than Nestea). You will quite easily find packs of large bottles at quite a low price, as this ice tea is produced by one of the biggest food companies in the world, Unilever. So if you want to drink some ice tea without spending a fortune, you have little other choice. Also, you will often find yourself in a place (especially stalls and kiosks) where there is no other ice tea on offer other than Lipton.

There are several varieties in flavor, but as usual the Lemon version is the most common (and my preferred) one.

+ widely available
+ mostly reasonably priced
– artificial taste
– artificial sweetness lingers on

San Benedetto – Thè Limone

So to start with, one of my favorites: The San Benedetto – Thè Limone (in Aqua Minerale Naturale), here in the 0.5L bottle.

  • Very Sweet
  • Very light, yellowish color
  • Light sweet lemon-taste

It drinks itself just as lightly, as its color would suggest. But because of its sweetness, only when cooled down to a really ice-cold temperature, will it give off its full taste. If not cold enough, it can be a bit sticky on the tongue as you drink it.

Absolutely one of my favorites in the summer, if served ice-cold.  Preferably this “Limone” version, which is way better than the peach or green-tea-flavored ones.

Unfortunately it is not so easy to get outside of Italy. Certain bars and delis have it and sometimes you’ll find a 6-pack of the big bottles (1.5L) at a discounter – but the supply is not steady.

So if you happen to have a cold glas of this – enjoy. Or rather: Cin-Cin!