Friday, July 31, 2020

Trader Joe's Organic Cold Brew Black Tea Concentrate

July is such a long month. After the Fourth, it's pretty anticlimactic: no big holidays or festivities to look forward to. Sonia and I don't even have any birthdays among our immediate family or close friends. Also, it's the hottest month. It's like the summer version of January. Thirty-one days of extreme weather. Even before lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, it was a time for me to hide inside and enjoy the air conditioning.

Last year, we spent most of July in the Pacific Northwest, where the temps weren't so bad. Highs in the 70's through this part of the summer? Yes, please. But this year, it's not as easy to galavant across the country with reckless abandon, so inside in the AC is where we've spent most of the month. And any refreshing cold beverages that can help beat the heat are most welcome.

This isn't the first TJ's brand tea concentrate we've tried, but it's the first one with plain black tea. I think it's new. But then again, I think everything I see at Trader Joe's that I haven't noticed before is new, and in some cases, it's a product that's been there for a decade or more. So you tell me if it's new. I'll believe you either way.

This particular product comes in a single pint bottle that makes "up to one gallon of tea." So let's break this puppy open and add some sugar and lemon juice and see what we get...

First impressions: it's good. Just how good it tastes to your palate is going to largely depend upon how you prepare it. How much water did you use? How much sugar or agave syrup did you add? Did you add lemon juice?

In light of that, I'm pretty sure that anyone who likes iced tea is going to find a way to tailor this stuff to their own personal tastes. I once had a conversation with a Southerner who, as many Southerners are, was a sweet tea aficionado. In my Yankee ignorance, I posed the question: "Couldn't you just, you know, like add your own sugar to unsweetened tea?" 

His response: "Or I could just stab your mother."

I think he was joking, mostly. But the takeaway was that you can not simply add sugar to iced tea in order to make true Southern style sweet tea. So you Southern folks might not be super enthused about this product. Me? I guess ignorance is bliss, because I like it quite a bit. I made mine on the strong side and added a good amount of sugar and lemon.

Sonia likes it, too. She used agave and didn't make hers quite as sweet or as strong. I really think that's the biggest strength of this tea: its versatility. It's about $5 for the little bottle, but as it states on the traderjoes website, you're getting organic cold brew tea for about 31 cents per cup. That's darn cheap. I think we're looking at four stars a piece here.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.


  1. Love this stuff! Hope it's not seasonal but it probably is...sad face.

  2. This stuff is great to drink on a “hot” summer day here in Seattle.