Snapple Lemon Iced Tea K-Cups Review
We’ve seen dozens of coffee brands fall under Keurig & GMCR’s ownership before and that’s nothing new, however, for an already-established ready to drink beverage manufacturer to enter into a partnership to produce their own licensed K-Cups? THAT is most definitely something new! We were shocked when Dr. Pepper Snapple Group announced several months ago that they would be releasing, in partnership with Keurig, new Snapple Iced Tea K-Cups during spring/summer 2013. The time has come and indeed, we’re seeing Snapple K-Cups popping up everywhere. We decided to kick things off today by checking out a classic iced tea flavor with their Snapple Lemon Iced Tea K-Cups.
A quick look at the ingredients list reveals that both sugar and aspartame are being used as the sweeteners here. Sticking with what made Snapple famous, there’s also natural black & green tea leaves/extracts and natural flavor present. Now, this marks a first for us here at Single Serve Coffee… we’re posting an advisory. Why, you ask? Because we feel it’s necessary (plus there’s warnings on the packaging) and since serious side effects are involved, we don’t want any of our readers to experience that. Now before you go running off screaming that these K-Cups have evil incarnate inside them, be aware that the side effects ONLY affect people who are allergic to this ingredient or who have a genetic condition we’ll describe below.
We’d like to warn people about the presence of phenylalanine in these K-Cups (due to the inclusion of aspartame) since it can cause serious side effects for those who are allergic or those who have a rare genetic condition known as PKU. This essential amino acid doesn’t pose any risk to people who don’t have this condition or who aren’t allergic to phenylalanine. We’ve seen it used in diet sodas & chewing gum before, but as far as we’re aware, this is the first time aspartame is being used as a sweetener in K-Cups. As a result, we felt the need to lookout for the health of our readers and warn them in order to avoid any medical complications. As should be the norm for people who are sensitive/allergic to such things, ALWAYS read the ingredients list before ordering/buying products. Thankfully, Keurig have links to nutritional info/ingredients for all products on their website.
So, now that we’ve gotten that bit of info out of the way, let’s get on with the review! Brewing these K-Cups resulted in mild aromas of lemons with hints of black tea in the background. Aromas seemed a bit muted in the final cup although we did still detect some mild lemon notes. Flavor was comprised of a unique blend of tart & sweet. Things kicked off with a sharp sweetness which was almost immediately followed by the tart taste of lemons. You could tell there was a slight tea flavor going on in the background but the lemon taste was the most dominant thing we noticed here. Everything was capped off by more mild sweet notes at the end of each sip.
All in all, this isn’t exactly like what you’d get with the ready-to-drink bottled flavor, but it’s close… REALLY close. We like that the flavors were blended well enough to mask any chemical notes from the aspartame as we really couldn’t detect anything other than the lemon taste throughout most of the drink… job well done in that aspect. Acidity on the other hand WAS almost identical to the bottled variety as it was vibrant enough to keep the lemon flavors in the forefront and didn’t overpower the final taste. Body was also identical to the bottled version with characteristic shades of light brown & amber orange throughout the cup much akin to what we’re used to seeing in an Snapple iced tea (or any other iced tea for that matter).
Even with the addition of ice, mouth feel didn’t seem watered-down and had the smooth consistency of iced tea, just like a bottle of Snapple you’d get at your local corner store. Finish was slightly sweet with a barely noticeable citrusy aftertaste. Overall, we really enjoyed this Snapple K-Cup flavor and it has us looking forward to trying out the other flavors in the line-up. If we had to nitpick though, it’d be over the use of aspartame as the sweetener, but not for the reasons you’d expect. Unlike how sucralose can ruin the flavor of a drink by giving it a chemical taste & strange aftertaste, this was NOT the case this time around.
Our main beef is that some people won’t be able to enjoy these K-Cups since they could face serious medical issues and even though PKU might be a rare condition, it still doesn’t mean that a certain percentage of people aren’t afflicted by it. In our minds, excluding a group of people instead of picking a sweetener without phenylalanine just doesn’t seem right. We’re sure Keurig & Snapple have their reasons for this (maybe because they knew it wouldn’t alter the taste?) but we still think they should consider trying something like Stevia. The pricing is already almost $18 for a box of 22 K-Cups, so we’re sure Stevia wouldn’t cause the price to increase any higher. That gripe aside, these are still outstanding K-Cup which are worth a try if you can do so.
- Aroma – 9 – Mild notes of lemon with hints of black tea comprise the aroma. A bit less intense than what we were expecting.
- Acidity – 10 – Magnificently balanced for an iced tea as it was lively enough to push the main lemon notes to the foreground without being overbearing.
- Body – 10 – Just like the real thing. Looks identical to what you’d get with the bottled Snapple variety or any other iced tea for that matter.
- Flavor – 10 – A nice mix of tart & sweet emerge as we work our way through the cup. Things start off with a sharp sweet note quickly followed by tart notes of lemons. Slight tea flavors in background but somewhat muted. More mild sweet notes appeared near the end of each sip.
- Mouth Feel – 10 – Despite the addition of ice, things remained fairly well balanced with a substantial consistency akin to the bottled Snapple variety & other iced teas in general.
Coffee Drinker – Obviously, this isn’t a coffee, but anyone who enjoys the bottled version of Snapple Lemon Iced Tea should find these K-Cups just as appealing and right up their alley. If you want a well-rounded lemon-flavored iced tea which isn’t too sweet with just the right amount of lemon flavor, this is a must try.
Overall Rating: 99 – Excellent!
We’ve got to admit, we weren’t expecting much when we noticed that there weren’t any natural fruit pieces or fruit peels like you’d normally find in the GMCR Naturals K-Cups, but we were pleasantly proven wrong and if you compare the recent iced tea offerings from Tassimo, we think Keurig has just won the single-serve iced tea wars with the helping hand of Snapple. These K-Cups are great at reproducing their namesake flavors and while they don’t exactly replicate when you’d get in the bottle versions, they come pretty damn close.
So what’s next for Brew Over Ice K-Cups? Well, one thought that popped into our minds was the fact that Dr Pepper Snapple Group also own the Hawaiian Punch brand. Could we be seeing Hawaiian Punch K-Cups for summer 2014? If they’re anything as good as these Snapple K-Cups, we sure hope so. Call it ironic, but with the advent of new partnerships & flavors, the world of Brew Over Ice K-Cups is certainly heating up.
Snapple Lemon Iced Tea K-Cups work in all Keurig K-Cup Brewers and are available in USA in 22-packs for $17.49 USD ($15.74 USD Member Price) at Keurig.com. Canadians can also order these K-Cups from Keurig.com if they’re willing to pay a $10 FedEx brokerage fee. Please note that K-Cups will NOT work with Keurig Vue brewers.
A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to note that we purchased a box of these K-Cups on our own for the purpose of this review.
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Posted by Jay Brewer at July 16, 2013 8:12 AM