I have a dirty little secret. I’m addicted to Trader Joe’s “Kettle Brewed Unsweetened Green & White Tea with a hint of Mint.”

I wasn’t that enthralled with the first glass I consumed, and there’s no sugar in it to fuel an addiction. But by the time I emptied my first gallon jug of the stuff, I was hooked. I drink it year-round, because I’m one of those people who likes a good glass of iced tea even when it’s snowing outside.

So I was excited when I found a local version of this tea from Tempest in a Teapot, a tea company based in Stonington that’s owned by two sisters. Their version has a clever name: “Iced to Perfection Mint to Be Tea.” Four large tea bags, tied with thick twine, come in a small brown paper bag. The bags contain just green tea – no white – and the mint is spearmint. Trader Joe’s uses peppermint leaves. Trader Joe’s gallon jug of tea costs $3.99, while Tempest in a Teapot’s four teabags make two gallons for $12.29. (That’s what I paid for it at the Portland Food Co-op. It’s $10 on the company’s website.)

In a taste test, Tempest in a Teapot's locally made "Mint to Be Tea" rivals Trader Joe's "Green & White Tea with a hint of Mint"

In a taste test, Tempest in a Teapot’s locally made “Mint to Be Tea” rivals Trader Joe’s “Green & White Tea with a hint of Mint”

There’s also convenience to consider. All I have to do is twist the top open on the Trader Joe’s tea and I’m in business. The Tempest in a Teapot version requires steeping for 30 minutes and, if you want it (I didn’t), adding sugar. One tea bag makes a half-gallon. The tea also has to be refrigerated until it’s cold.

The two teas don’t taste just alike, but they are similar enough that I was thrilled to find something I can keep on my shelf for those days when my Trader Joe’s jug lies empty. The Tempest in a Teapot tea tasted clean and fresh, and felt restorative. I think the spearmint may be a little more refreshing than the peppermint. It’s nice to feel I can’t go wrong with either one.


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