Live at Southern Living: Sweet Tea Taste Test

Sweet tea is of vital importance to Southerners, and we know that there's some stiff competition out there when it comes to who brews the best. Senior Editor Lisa Cericola and Associate Editor Hannah Hayes tell us which fast food joint's tea they think reigns supreme.


Hi friends. Hey, it's Hannah and Lisa from Southern Living. Back by popular demand. Thank you for liking our first video so much, we decided to come back and do another southern food taste test with you guys today. And as you can see- It's tea time Here at Southern Living- We are teeing off. We are drinking sweet tea today. On sweet tea. The last time we did fried chicken this time maybe I do not know maybe it will not be so intense. Yes it was a little much. We ate a lot of chicken that time but now we have tea. Yes we passed out at our desks before now we might be bouncing off the walls but->> I am little concerned. all in a day's work. So do you wanna get started? Yeah, Lisa, let's get in on this. Tea is also something too where it's like, I mean, how are we gonna know where it's from? I don't know. I think that unlike fried chicken, we are not gonna be as good at guessing where these sweet teas are from. People thought that we already knew beforehand what the chicken was. We didn't, we're just really good guessers. Serves.>> [LAUGH] That's why we work here. There's an actual test to be an editor here, what fried chicken is which, no I'm just kidding. [LAUGH] This has nice coloration. I just dug right into it, I didn't even bother looking. It has some legs on it. It's nice and frosty cold. It does, okay, let's try it. Thank you prop stylist Brennan. That's pleasantly sweet. It's pretty sweet. Like that doesn't make my teeth hurt. No, we were talking earlier about sweet tea and like what our preferences are and I kind of am a half and half person. I, if I have my choice of the machine I will do have un sweet and half sweet. I'm kind of the same way. If I'm having something super salty, I definitely go all sweet. Yeah. But most of the time, you gotta cut it in half. Agree. Yes. Or put some lemon in it. Mm-hm. Where do you think this could even be from, Lisa? Hm. It tastes familiar. It does. It does not taste like I hate to sound highfalutin, but it's not like a tea leaf taste to me. It's like- It's a Louisiana situation. Yeah, I'm not feeling that this is brewed from a tea bag. But it's good. [BLANK_AUDIO] I'd say pretty good. I would drink this on a hot day. I feel like this might be Chic-fil-A. [LAUGH] It tastes like the tea I have on road trips, when I'm trying to, like, stay awake, but don't wanna, you know, have coffee, and be crazy. Yeah, I'd say say a fast food joint. Maybe Chic-fil-A, McDonald's, kind of place. McDonald's is another good guess. I wonder what it is. Are we allowed to reveal who it is? All right. let's go for it. Okay. Let's do it. What do we got here? You guys now? Chick-fil-A. It is Chick-fil-A. I knew it. Good job. It tasted very familiar. It tasted of when I stopped at the Chick-fil-A in Meridian, Mississippi on my way to New Orleans. [LAUGH] Lovely times. Okay. All right. We can put those up there. Round two. Here's our next one. Okay, we don't know who it is. Thank you Brandon. All right. Cheers my friend. Cheers Lisa. Some fancy glasses. Indeed. Mm. That's sweeter. That's heavy on the sugars. [LAUGH] Woo. Again, I think this is a fascinating tea. This is like- This tastes like one I've never had before. It's so sweet. It's mostly sugar and not tea flavor. And you know what, sometimes you need that in your life, it's okay. It's sugar water. Yeah, you could probably put this out for a hummingbird [LAUGH] And it would come. Holy crap that is sweet, whoo. It's a pass on this guy. I wonder who it is. Who is it? We're gonna feel really bad in a second. No offense. McDonald's, I feel terrible. [LAUGH] [LAUGH] Yeah, that makes sense. My mother loves a McDonald's sweet tea though. That is her beverage of choice when we're on a road trip. If you're into sweet. This is your tea. I feel like this is basically a soda replacement. You know what's great about McDonald's? It's that the further south you get, the more the woman is not optional but standard. [LAUGH] Nice. I think this [CROSSTALK] Like people in the South understand that you need the women. Up North, they have to go and get it out of the fridge and they're like It's a process. [CROSSTALK] freaking out about it. I think this could use some lemon, myself. If I had some lemon I could be on board. All right, should we do another one? Who's next, let's see. Thank you, ma'am. Thank you. All right A little darker. So I was telling you earlier, the secret to not having cloudy iced tea is to put a pinch of baking soda in. So smart. I did not know that. I know. I keep meaning to tell my mother that. My mother's elixir of life is iced tea, that's everything I know about iced tea. I got that from her. I'm gonna do that this summer. Yes. I'm a big ice tea fan at home. I make a ton of it. My preference is probably just like straight up Lipton black tea. Yeah. I like Luzianne. I'm into it. Community ice tea, that's another good one. So good. I really like that one. We have that in a lot of the restaurants around here. That's true. That's always a good bet. This is not as sweet. No, and it definitely has a very organic tea flavor. Yeah, got some tannins, Yes. A little bitterness. Indeed. But it's still fairly sweet. You would definitely call this a sweet tea. I don't recognize this one. Do you think this could be Publix, Lisa? You're the expert. I don't know. Maybe. I like it. I like it too, I would drink this. This, of all of what we've had so far, this is my favorite. Me too. Should we see who it is? Let's take a look. So if you You guys are just tuning in we are doing a taste test of the best sweet teas in the South. And surprise. I mean turn me upside down and paint me blue. Bojangles. It's Bojangles. Shoot. Wow. Bojangles your tea is amazing. What a surprise. I'm into it. Okay. Should we do another one? So let's keep going. Yes. Keep do it. I could continue drinking this one. Yes. Love it, okay. Pretty good. So this is- These are in chalices, Lisa. How fancy. Fancy, this is tea number four of five. So we're cranking through these guys. Cheers. This is a good color to me. Yeah, it's more of a mahogany situation, it's darker. Nice ice tea. A richer color. Hopefully the flavor will match. That's refreshing. It's good. It's definitely not as sweet. No, definitely not as sweet. This is not gonna hurt you. Not Not as strong either though. I feel like it's a little watery. It is a little watery, you're right. Which on a hot summer day this might be what you need. Totally, I think it's good. I'm really into this one, I'm all about it. It's good, where's it from? I'm dying to know. It is, it's Publix. Lisa is so into Publix, it's disturbing. Publix can't really go wrong in my book. Like, she loves Publix. It's good. I wouldn't say it's my favorite of the day, but totally drinkable. Yeah. Buy a gallon of this for your picnic, I think it's good. I feel like I'm liking this one today, because it just recently turned super hot. Yes, summer is coming. Yes, the south finally flipped the switch. Yep. Alright. That's great. Time to move on to our last sweet tea of the day. Our last challenger. Let's see. And we're going full southern on this last one here. They're in handle jars, y'all. I mean [UNKNOWN]. This might sway our decision a little bit but. I feel like we're on a patio somewhere, near the lake. My gracious. It even says "Drinkin' Jar." Just in case you don't know [laughs] [BLANK_AUDIO] Lisa, I'm actually kind of shocked none of these are make your teeth fall out sweet. No, really. All of them are totally drinkable. They're just, it just depends on what you like. And it's once of those things it's like a real personal preference. It really is. This is, I don't think any of them have a huge variety in flavor. It's mainly like sweetness. It is. This one's pretty well-balanced though. It is. It's not as strong as some of the others, not as sweet as some of the others, but kind of middle of the road. It's really good. Yeah, I feel like this is kind of the best of all worlds in tea. I agree, this is pretty good. I'm super into it. I wonder who it is. Let's find out. [LAUGH] Milo's. So, this is like a cult iced tea here. Yes. I see jugs of it in grocery stores. It's the pride of Alabama. Like it's a fast food chain, but this is like a tea that people buy. Outside of the chain in other stores. There's sometimes nothing better than a chili cheese burger from Milo's with this. This is good. And it can fix a lot of your problems up really quick. I can see why people would be crazy for this. It's good. It is really good. I'm surprised I didn't recognize it, actually. It tastes better in a jar with ice. Sometimes I've had it out of the plastic containers. Mm-hm. It's not my favorite situation. So Laurie says that real southern ladies make their own sweet tea, so how do you all make your sweet tea? So Laurie just Came in with the question, thank you Glory. She wants to know how we make our own sweet tea. So- Yes, but some real Southern ladies don't make their own tea because they're in a hurry. It's true, you can't judge. It's okay, yeah. But. Don't judge me on going through the drive-thru. What? It's easy though to make your, I mean, you can do sun tea, where you just leave it outside with the tea bags on a really hot day. It will brew out in the sun, which is really cool. I usually just do a big pot on the stove, throw in my Lipton tea bags, bring it to a boil, turn off the heat, let it steep, take the bags out. I'm going to try your baking soda trick next time. Yeah, put a pinch of baking soda in there and it's not cloudy anymore. So that's great. And then I do half a lemon. That's what my grandmother always did. I leave the lemon in the container so it gets really lemony. Yeah. And maybe a quarter cup, half cup sugar for a big stovetop pot. So you dissolve sugar into it. I do and this is what's tricky. You have to really stir it because it will sit at the bottom. Yeah. And some people make a simple syrup. And sometimes I'll do that with equal parts sugar and water, put a little mint, put that into the tea. If it's still warm and tepid, you can do the sugar. That's the thing, you have to add the sugar- But if it's already iced, you gotta do a simple syrup situation. Exactly. And you can make a mint simple syrup. Yep. Then you've got that whole situation going on, where it's spearmint. Just so nice. So nice. But yeah, if you're putting straight sugar in your tea, do it when it's still warm, and it will dissolve. Yeah. Definitely. Any other tips that you like? I mean I feel like, I mean you can really go crazy with the simple syrup idea. Well cocktails too. We have tons of recipes for simple syrups. We do. We have even like rosemary ones, you can add an herbal element. Kind of any herb you can grow in your garden around this time, would be good. I will say my favorite tea, though, is, there's a company in Huntsville, Alabama called Piper and Leaf. And they make these tea called Front Porch Special and it has [UNKNOWN] and spearmint already- That's nice. In the mix. It is like the most refreshing thing you've ever had. It's great. Have to try that. I love that one. Do we have another question? What's your favorite sweet tea that you tried today? Somebody asked what our favorite sweet tea is that we tried today. I mean, for me, either Milo's or Bojangles' were really good. I'd have to concur, yeah. We don't Bad. That's a little too sweet for me, but Milo's and Bojangles, that was great. Yeah, I mean, I still prefer tea that I would make at home and control the sweetness myself and use a real tea bag Not that these aren't made with real tea bags but you know what I mean. Something a little bit fresher. But those two are great options if you're on a road trip, say. Or just out and about and you need to pick up something quickly, they're good. Definitely, yeah. So if you guys have any suggestions for taste tests that we should do in the future, put them in the comments. We would love to do some more for you guys. And Are curious to hear what you want us to do? What do you want know is the best? So you don't waste your time on the rest. We were thinking about biscuits. Maybe we'll do biscuits next. Biscuits that would be great, yeah. So feel free to chime in with your ideas. We'll see you next time, bye. Bye.
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