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

Makava Delighted Ice Tea

Makava, the Austrian company that produces it, calls this drink “delighted ice tea”…  I didn’t know what they mean by that. But they sent me some samples (Thanks!) – and after trying it, I have to say it really is quite unlike any ice tea I had before. It is made with mate tea, instead of black tea – which gives it an uniquely spicy and refreshing taste.

  • mate tea based
  • added lemon juice
  • spicy and fresh
  • fairtrade and organic

A very bright, transparent-ish yellow. It’s light and pretty clear, but I can see some substance flowing in it – I guess it’s the lemon juice – which gives it a certain cloudiness.

At first sip is almost mild… at least the taste on the tip of the tongue. Just a very refreshing lemon-ness from the added lemon-juice (according to the label). But as soon as I swallow the bitter-sweet drink, I sense an entirely different and quite unusual taste, at least for an ice tea. It’s just because I’m so used to black tea and the occasional green tea, but never mate tea. I’ve had mate before (great with vodka), but not as an ice tea with lemon flavor.

The mate is very refreshing, even more so than green tea. It’s flavor is very light and not as full as a black tea based ice tea (even though it does cone in some black tea, according to its label). But it’s spicy in my mouth 🌶 , a very strong taste, almost fish-like (which I personally don’t mind) and that goes well with the added lemon juice 🍋 .
That said, the taste is so spicy, I can’t drink too much of it or it tickles my throat somehow! But its flavor is so much more interesting than your average black tea, that I keep going back to it… Therefore this ‘delighted’ ice tea brings me in a funny situation. I keep switching between it and other ice teas, but keep coming back to it… It’s also medium-sweet, so I can drink quite a lot of it and it doesn’t stick too much in my mouth.
I guess all this goes to say: Great if your looking for a change in flavor from your usual ice tea! (But probably too spicy to drink every day in large quantities.)

This is something I love about this ice tea: The label indicates more or less the source of the ingredients. The water is Austrian spring water. The rest: Mate*°, black tea*°, sugar*, lemon juice*, elderflower extract*, citric acid is all marked as either *organic,  °fair-trade or *°both.

Price and Availability
The Makava delighted ice tea comes in a 0.33 L glass bottle and it’s available in Austria 🇦🇹  and parts of Germany 🇩🇪  and Switzerland 🇨🇭 .
Priced at 2.10 CHF ( US $ 2.10) per bottle at the whole-seller (and obviously way more at the bars and clubs where you’ll usually encounter it), this is not the cheapest of ice teas. But it’s neither the most expensive and actually an average price for a specialty tea and compared to the big-brands.
Nevertheless it’s not the ice tea I could afford to drink every day.
But as I said before, this is anyway not an everyday ice tea! 🌞

+ refreshing
+ surprising taste
+ organic and fair-trade sourcing
– too spicy to drink all the time
– high price

Overall Rating: 8/10

Oishi Green Tea with Honey and Lemon

The Oishi Green Tea with Honey 🍯 and Lemon 🍋 is a particularly sweet ice tea from Thailand that you’ll find in Asia-shops all over the world. On the label it says “Japanese Green Tea with Honey Lemon – Oishi Green Tea Brand”.
I guess with ‘Japanese’ it means the green tea recipe used, because it’s not made in Japan, but by the Oishi Group PCL in Thailand.
It seems that the word “oishii” means “tasty” in Japanese – and I’m sure that’s what they want to make people come to their mind when they see it!

  • green tea based
  • very sweet
  • very honey-y

A very light yellowish, this ice tea’s color is bright and clear. It looks like a camomile tea and does not hint at the extreme sweetness that follows.

The honey is the first thing I feel on my tongue. It immediately sticks to my lips, but because it is honey, instead of sugar, this is less annoying.
You want to take another sip, but it just keeps sticking…

Because it’s green tea based, it tastes even a bit refreshing and doesn’t have any bitterness at all. It’s what gives it all its unique sweetness, but as it doesn’t contain black tea to balance out the flavor, that sweetness can be a bit too much.
And the added lemon is quite decent, so as not to make it bitter (thankfully). It enhances the flavor nicely, but doesn’t impact the extreme sweetness from the honey.

All said and done, this is one of those ice teas I really like to drink once in a while and it makes for a great little change to my usual black tea based lemon ice teas. But because it’s so very sweet and sticks to the lips, I can’t really drink too much of it at once and also not every day.

I have seen this ice tea mostly at Asia-shops and Asian restaurants (this particular bottle I bought at a sushi-stall). I assume you can find it in specialty shops in many countries all over the world. Unfortunately it is usually not the cheapest, I’ve seen it mostly priced somewhere around 3.50 CHF or US $ per 0.5L bottle.

+ nice honey-y sweetness
+ refreshing green tea taste
– almost too sweet
– high price per bottle

Overall Rating: 7/10

Coop Ice Tea Lemon (Swiss)

The Ice Tea Lemon from the Swiss Coop is a pretty standard black-tea-based ice tea – sweet and pretty refreshing, as long as it’s served ice-cold.

This sort of ice tea is the hardest to review, as it doesn’t have any one quality that would make it stick out: It’s a black tea based ice tea with lemon flavor and not unique in any particular way. Nevertheless the Ice Tea Lemon from the Swiss coop supermarket-chain is certainly amongst the better one’s of this type and I’ll try to find out why!

It is very similar to the lemon ice tea from the ‘Kult’ range of the competing Migros chain of supermarkets (full review here). I can’t get around the feeling that this ice tea as a whole – right down to its packaging design – is heavily inspired by its competitor Migros’s product with it’s cult-like-following that gives it its name. Nevertheless they do have a few differences, some of which make this ice tea from the Swiss Coop even superior to the original in certain ways (and in other ways not).

  • black tea based
  • sugary-sweet
  • fairtrade
  • vegan

A brownish-beige, almost with a hint of red, this ice tea is medium-clear: Just a little bit opaque, so that I can see through it, but not quite clearly. It’s a classic color for a black tea based ice tea and in my experience that’s usually a sign that it’s pretty sweet. (Compared to the Migros ‘Kult’ ice tea, it’s slightly darker and less opaque.)

As I said, you gotta drink it cold. (If I leave the glass for a moment and it warms up just a bit, the ice tea sticks to the edges of my tongue when I drink it – which makes me constantly lick my lips.) But the flavor is really nice – sweet and refreshing, just as an ice tea should be.

Its taste reminds me of the Migros ‘Kult’ ice tea. And as the label confirms, it does also contain rose hip tea, which gives it some of that distinctive taste. The difference here is that the Coop ice tea also contains hibiscus, whereas the other one has added roselle.
This one from Coop tastes sweeter on the lips than the one from Migros, but I tend to say almost too much so. I guess it contains more sugar and that’s also what makes it so sticky once it warms up.

Fairtrade & Vegan
One thing that makes it superior to its competition in my eyes, is the fact that is certified as fairtrade by the Max Havelaar foundation. Though even this is not a guarantee that it is 100% ethically sourced, it still shows a noticeable effort for a product that has several ingredients where this is critical: Both the tea and the sugar are imported from places far away from where this ice tea is sold.

The fact that this ice tea has a vegan certification is also interesting – even though really no ice tea should contain animal products, or is there something I’m missing here?

Only available at stores of the Coop supermarket-chain in Switzerland 🇨🇭.  Priced at 75.- cents (CHF or US$) per litre, it is quite affordable compared to other products on the local market (but still 5 cents above its closest competitor’s price-per-litre).

+ flavor when cold
+ fairtrade sourcing
– stickiness
– price-per-litre compared to competition

Overall Rating: 7/10

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

Volvic Thé

Volvic Thé – or as its sub-line says: “The vert avec saveur de citron”. This is another big-brand ice tea, from the French Volvic beverage company known for its mineral water.

It is the first ice tea reviewed on here thats based on green tea, instead of the usual black tea. This gives it a very fresh flavor, reminiscing of peppermint. The lemon-taste makes it even fresher, but you can’t get around noticing how artificial both flavors really are.
It says on the label that they use real sugar and certainly this ice tea is quite sweet for a green tea. But its taste is not as sweet, as most of the black-tea-based ice teas. (And nowhere near the sweetness of an Italian ice tea like San Benedetto.) This lack of sweetness, despite the sugar content, probably stems from the dominance of the green tea in the overall flavor. Nevertheless you can’t help but suspect they used some artificial sweetener in the production too, because of this fake-sweet taste. And as always with these additives, the artificial taste keeps on lingering at the back of the throat, and in this case at the edges of the tongue, long after you has your sip of ice tea.

  • green tea
  • light and fresh
  • medium-sweet

The color of the tea is an extremely light, clear yellow – fitting to its light, fresh taste. On the label it says that they use the Volvic mineral water (“‘l’eau minérale naturally Volvic”) and this automatically gives you the impression, that you can feel the freshness of the water.

Overall it is a fresh, light, easily drinkable ice tea that is not too sweet and an ok refreshment for once in a while. But with the artificial flavorings, a certain sweetness keeps sticking in my mouth and makes it so, that I can’t drink too much of it.
Still, due to its lightness and sweetness, one of my more preferred green tea-based ice teas.

In Europe this ice tea is quite easy to find, though it is not quite as ubiquitous as Lipton and Nestea. As far as I’ve seen, it mostly comes in 0.75L and 1.5L PET plastic bottles (pictured). Especially the small bottle is a really good size bottle for the road.
The packaging-size also indicates that this is a mid-price range ice tea – usually slightly more expensive than your local (non-)brand and big-brand ice teas, but way cheaper than the ‘specialty’ ice teas in small-form packaging.

One thing I really like about this ice tea, is the labelling (which I’ve already quoted from). It’s nice to actually be able to read that this ice tea contains: 96% mineral water and 3.8% sugar (even if I personally can’t verify that).

+ light, easily drinkable
+ fresh
+ good labelling
– artificial sweetness
– sticky after-taste
Overall Rating: 7/10

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