Part of the Steaz line of 5 regular and 3 diet flavors, all based on organic green tea. Above, Cola, Raspberry, Lemon Dew and Orange.
Steaz Green Tea Soda
Organic Sodas in Regular & Diet
NOTE: In 2007, Steaz repositioned its products from “green tea soda” to “sparkling green tea.” In the process, they significantly changed Diet Steaz, from a zero-calorie drink to a reduced-calorie beverage flavored with evaporated cane sugar, about half the calories of regular Steaz and no longer suitable for people seeking sugar-free beverages. We’ll do a complete revision of this line in the first half of 2008.
CAPSULE REPORT: Steaz makes a line of organic, green tea-based sodas and diet sodas that contain the same health benefits as a cup of green tea in each bottle. The company uses organic Ceylon green tea as the soda base, and combines it with organic cane juice from the Florida Everglades, sparkling water and natural flavors to create a flavorful, fizzy beverage. You don’t taste the green tea, but you do taste a better soda thanks to all-natural ingredients. Rightly, not overly, sweet, lightly carbonated and loaded with antioxidants, Steaz sodas are healthier—and tastier—soft drinks.
“Nutritious” and “soda” don’t often find themselves together in the same sentence, so when we learned that a bottle of Steaz—a pillar of the “tea soda” category—contains the same health benefits as a cup of green tea, we knew we had to check it out.
Created by Eric Schnell and Steve Kessler, Steaz (“soda” + “teas”; as Schnell and Kessler put it, “we added the ‘z’ to be stylish”) was an attempt at marrying two of their loves: sweet-tasting sodas and a healthy lifestyle. Their success, we think, lies in their approach: instead starting with the processed-sugar-and-artificial-flavors formula of commercial sodas and stripping ingredients away in an attempt to make the drink healthful (or, at least, less bad for you) they started from scratch. Using organic Ceylon green tea leaves from Sri Lanka as a base, they added organic cane juice from the Florida Everglades, sparkling water and natural flavors. The result is a naturally sweet, lightly carbonated beverage that has all the things we love about soda, but none of the things we don’t: no high-fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors, and no artificial caffeine (Steaz has about 10 milligrams of caffeine in an 8-ounce serving, all of them natural).
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Even better is what is in Steaz. Thanks to the green-tea base, the sodas are loaded with naturally occurring antioxidants like polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins. Big words, big benefits. And because each bottle contains the same health benefits as green tea, Steaz can be linked to all the things green tea gets credit for: cancer prevention, reduced stroke risk, reduced blood cholesterol and positive effects with liver disease, just to name a few.
The nutritional breakdown isn’t bad either: an 8-ounce serving of the regular Steaz flavors contains 90 calories (about 10 fewer than commercial sodas); the same size serving of the diet flavors has 20 calories. Most Steaz flavors, however, also offer anywhere from 20% to 60% of your daily Vitamin C—something the big brands could never claim.
Of course, none of this would matter if the sodas didn’t taste good. Thankfully, they’re great: refreshing and flavorful, with just the right amount of sweetness. There are eight original flavors: Ginger Ale*, Grape, Cola, Raspberry*, Lemon Dew*, Orange, Key Lime* and Root Beer.
* Author’s favorites
Figuring out where Steaz fits into your day, food-wise, is a no-brainer: drink it anytime you would drink regular soda. There’s no guilt about guzzling a bottle or two; you can actually feel virtuous. How often can you say that about a soda?
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