Serious Eats: Drinks
Taste Test: Orange Juice, the Pulp-Free Edition
#2: Florida's Natural
If you read the results from our orange juice with pulp tasting and said to yourself, "I will never understand the appeal of drinking something with chunks of stuff floating in it" (and someone did say that), then this is the tasting for you. We tried eight pulp-free juices—that means sans chunks—to find the best.
We tried nationally available brands of pulp-free orange juice, none of which were made from concentrate. All of the juices were labeled "no pulp," "pulp free," or didn't specify but when poured, they were smooth and didn't contain detectable pulp bits.
- Florida's Natural [floridasnatural]
- Nantucket Nectars [nantucketnectars.com]
- Odwalla [organicvalley.coop/orange-pulp-added]
- Whole Foods 365 [wholefoodsmarket.com/365-everyday-value]
- Tropicana [tropicana.com]
- Trader Joe's [traderjoes.com]
- Naked Juice [nakedjuice.com]
- Simply [simplyorangejuice.com]
In this blind tasting, we were looking for juice that tasted fresh with a balanced sweetness and tang.
As you can see, the highest score in this tasting was 5.45, which isn't very high at all. This office pretty unanimously prefers pulp-laden juice, but probably went through an "ick, pulp!" stage at some point in life. We still judged these for what they are: pulpless juices. Truth is, we just didn't love many of them because of the same recurring themes: too sweet, too syrupy-thick, too bitter, too fake-tasting, too not-fresh.
#1. Odwalla 5.45/10
This was an orangier orange shade than the others. It has just the slightest bit of texture—not pulp per se, but it has some juice body. A fresh-tasting orange juice experience, doesn't taste too concentrated.
#2. Florida's Natural 5.36/10
Thinner consistency, like it's been more filtered. Mostly one-note sweetness without much citrus tang to back it up. Some tasters found it cleaner and fresher-tasting.
#3. Tropicana 5.27/10
"What I expect from storebought orange juice," we agreed. Pretty thick and sweet, too much so for some tasters, but a straightforward flavor.
#3. 365 Whole Foods 5.27 /10
"Tastes like my elementary school cafeteria." A bit sour, a bit too sweet.
#5. Simply 4.73/10
"Watery, tastes diluted." Sweet with a lingering bitterness.
#5. Trader Joe's Organic 4.73/10
Similar to the Simply brand: watery, somewhat bitter, and not extremely fresh-tasting but what you'd expect if you were handed a generic orange juice.
#7. Naked Juice 4.27/10
Really deep orange shade. "Oddly sour," noted one taster. Also, extremely sweet, and not in a natural-tasting way. This could use some diluting if you're a juice-diluter.
#8. Nantucket Nectars 3.27/10
Tastes like it's made from concentrate. Syrupy with an off aftertaste. "Reminds me of childhood, but not in a good way." And it doesn't taste like purely orange juice—there's some tropical wave creeping in underneath.