We decided that it was time to do a true blind taste test of the most popular full-calorie beers in the United States, in order to see if our loyalties are well-founded, or if, as some contend, these beers really all just taste the same.
'taste test' on Serious Eats
I'm going to go ahead and make a prediction: I think Three Trees is going to be big. The Emeryville, California-based company makes a variety of non-dairy nut-based milks, including an unusual pale green pistachio milk. We tried the whole lineup of flavors.
Pods are never going to compare to our locally roasted beans, freshly ground for each cup. But for offices and rushed mornings at home, K-Cups and Keurig machines are a no-fuss, low-maintenance method for caffeination. So you, dear Serious Eaters, deserve to know which pods are the best of the bunch. We tried 40 different K-Cups, from dark roasted blends to eggnog-flavored coffees.
Last year, I subjected the Serious Eats team to a doozy of a taste test, sipping 10 different commercially available eggnogs. But they were all the standard flavor, more or less, and there's more to eggnog than just the classic. So we tasted every variety from Hood (which won second place in our taste test last year.) Here's what we thought.
After doing a few juice cleanses for Serious Eats, I came away with the realization that I'm not a fan of juice cleanses themselves, but I really like green juices. A good green juice tastes like a good salad while being its own thing, too. But they're quite expensive, and quite variable—so it's good to know what you're getting into before you buy them. Here's a tour through a few green juices we know.
Mass market bottles can veer toward sweet-and-jammy, without acidity to balance the wine. And if it's not blended with other stuff, budget Pinot Noir can be thin, bitter, sour, and unpleasant to drink. When you spend a little more, Pinot Noir can get earthy and mushroomy, bright and tart, filled out with fruit and herbal flavors. But can you get any of that in a weeknight wine? We decided to put a mixed case to the test.
To narrow down the dizzying field, we stuck to the most common and popular option: lemon-flavored iced tea. We gathered up the nine most popular brands available in small serving bottles and tasted them in a double-blind line-up.
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.
Everyone's sick or about to catch the sick bug, which makes this as good a time as any to taste orange juices. But how do you like yours—pulpy or pulpless? Since the pulp question can be a polarizing topic—right up there with creamy vs. crunchy peanut butter—we divvied the juices up into two tastings and judged them separately. Today, the results from the pulp round.
'Tis the season to eat and drink plenty of citrus. Grapefruit is a good friend of ours: sour and tangy with an underlying sweetness. Though it's available year-round, it always feels especially virtuous to slurp up all those refreshingly acidic, Vitamin-C-packed juices during the chilly winter months. And since sometimes you want the grapefruit experience without dealing with a fussy little knife to segment the whole dang fruit, we tried 12 different juices to find the best.
Since you can't really tell what's in the box before you buy, we decided to grab all the portable fruit punch we could find and conduct a blind taste test. Would classic fruit punch all taste the same, or would these juice boxes vary widely? Could we channel our inner children and find a winner, or would this stuff just be too gross for our adult selves?
Everyone in the know knows that sugar-sweetened Mexican Coke is superior to corn-syrup-sweetened American Coke, right? But is it possible, however unlikely, that somehow us cult of Mexican Coke lovers are all being hoodwinked? Does Mexican Coke really taste better? This week, we find out.
While some apple soda tastes like apple-flavored hard candy, most brands tend to hew closer to the wholesome source fruit than you'd expect. For our blind taste test, we sampled 11 different apple sodas and ranked them. Which one came out on top?
Most grapefruit soda isn't as pucker-inducing as its namesake fruit, thanks to a decent amount of sugar applied to even out the tartness. We sampled 9 nationally and locally available grapefruit sodas in a blind taste test and ranked them. Did we pick your favorite?
Whether you're gardening in the summer sun or lounging by the pool, this is the time of year when a tall, cool glass of lemonade is essential. Yes, you can work up a sweat squeezing a dozen lemons, but it's easier to grab a carton from the grocery store. So we gathered a tasting team and 18 brands of ready-to-drink lemonade to find the best sweet-sour refreshment a few bucks can buy.
Some find the earthy flavor and slow-burn heat of ginger ale a bit harder to appreciate than, say, cola. Some ginger ales are definitely more intense than others, with brewers pushing the ginger-tolerance envelope to the limit. But the good ones balance vanilla and caramel notes with the spicy flavor of ginger, and lighten it with hints of citrus. We tried 13 brands in a blind taste test in order to pick our favorites.
What says summer more than an ice-cold strawberry soda? Okay, perhaps it's not the first thing that comes to mind, but a bright, sweet strawberry soda can be a real pick-me-up on a hot day, especially if it's paired with a fat scoop of vanilla ice cream. We collected 9 varieties of strawberry soda, tasted and re-tasted them, then ranked them according to our preferences.
Anyone who drinks a lot of grape soda knows by now that most of the stuff tastes about as much like actual grapes as Coors Light tastes like actual beer. Still, grape soda can be refreshing on a hot summer day, and like all things, we wanted to know which was the best. We gathered 9 brands of grape soda and ranked them all. Did your favorite claim the top spot?
After the orange soda taste test, we knew we'd have to rate its vanilla-laced stepchild, the orange cream soda. We gathered 10 brands of orange cream soda, rated each one, and picked our favorites. Are you a fan of orange cream soda?
We probably should have known better than to embark on a taste test of 9 different canned coffee energy drinks, but we were curious (and a few of the brands we tasted when trying to figure out the best ready-to-drink canned coffee also offered an added-energy version.) How'd they fare? Not so good.