A while back I mused on my weaknesses for things not good for me (in particular Starbucksʼ bottled Frappuccino). At a slightly cheaper price (but only slightly), I do regularly indulge in a beverage that doesnʼt pack the calorie wallop* of that creamy coffee drink — diet Snapple® (“no calories — made from green & black tea leaves”). Although I have made a point of brewing sun tea regularly, I do find myself irresistibly drawn not to the homebrew but the large-corporation stuff. Maybe itʼs the peach (or raspberry or lemon) flavoring or possibly Snappleʼs much vaunted (in their own advertising) “good stuff” from which they make their teas or perhaps itʼs the clever bits of trivia on the underside of the bottle caps (so much more interesting and preferable than, say, Cokeʼs deceptive and pointless “winning numbers” to get buyers to continually log into the tedious, excessively busy and cookie-setting MyCokeRewards web site), but I have come to really enjoy drinking a bottle or two of the caffeinated, mass-produced tea in glass bottles.
I know why I like Frappuccino: itʼs the fat content (and the coffee). I am not sure why I like diet Snapple (except maybe the delicious, refreshing taste). I know I started drinking it after I realized I had to end my Frappuccino addiction. I knew then (and now) that I should not acquire yet another caffeine push (Janet and I had seriously decaffeinated ourselves back in the mid- or late Eighties except for periodic and minor interludes of drinking a Diet Coke — for me, who remains amazed how difficult it is to find caffeine-free pop at convenience stores or restaurants — while on the road or ordering coffee drinks and forgetting to stipulate decaf; I have wavered from the clean lifestyle in this millennium). And I donʼt recall how or why I sampled a diet Snapple, except that Janet has a penchant for picking up bottled tea when weʼre traveling sometimes and perhaps I sampled one of hers. Whatever, somehow in the last few years (maybe three), I have bought a good quantity of the Snapple six-packs — originally to place in my little fridge at school (in place of the evil Frapps) for a midday pick-me-up as I worked on typing out daily bulletin announcements and reading/grading student writing, later as a summer drink in place of (too much) pop here at home. (And later still I started regularly making sun tea as a cheaper and healthier — being decaffeinated — alternative to the Snapple.)
I wasnʼt much of a tea-drinker in my fledgling years. Yes, I bought some Earl Gray and English Breakfast to brew for myself as a wintertime treat, feeling all (pseudo) sophisticated and Brit-like. But overall my tea-drinking wasnʼt much more consistent, probably less so, than my pipe-smoking (sigh, admittedly true) in the foolish days of youth. And I have enjoyed a cup or twelve with The Lovely One, who does like tea and grew up drinking iced tea with big family meals (her side all still do that). But in my fifties, this manufactured, corporate tea thing has become a genuine daily pleasure.
Somehow the Snapple tastes cleaner and sharper than our homebrewed tea. And I do like the flavors. We started with peach (still the only one Janet really likes, although she got me to add a six-pack of the lemon tea on our most recent Snapple-buying spree), but I quickly added the raspberry stuff, too (a little too sweet, but the raspberry flavoring adds a tartness, too). And while working the Census, with no other choice in the grocery store one Saturday, I added the lemon tea in July (I liked drinking a Snapple on my way home from meeting the crew in DeWitt). The peach is still the best (in our humble opinions), tart, full flavored and yet still tea; but I enjoy them all. And I discovered in the August heat-and-humidity wave that the lemon tea really cut my thirst and refreshed, coming in, soaked from crown of bald head to to saturated socks, from mowing the lawn. Now that the cooler days are coming, Iʼll probably drink less tea (and unfortunately rediscover the pleasures of several daily mugs of hot chocolate-infused coffee instead — at sixty calories a mug).
Of course, the tea has to be a morning or early afternoon delight only: old folks canʼt risk that caffeine later in the evening. (In fact, the reason we cut out the caffeine back in the Eighties started as an effort to get us both more restful at night.) However, at least during warm weather and when I want a refreshment (carefully chosen word there) other than water, diet Snapple rates high and remains in our refrigerator.
* As I have fessed up to my history as a poor speller, Iʼll just admit that until composing this post, I had always thought that “wallop” was spelled with an H — “whallop.” Itʼs not. Now we remember what value spell checkers have, not just for incessant typos.