Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tazo Shaken Iced Tea at Starbucks

Starbucks (Davie & Marinaside) on Urbanspoon After Loving Hut Express burgers on early Friday evening, it was still bright out and a beautiful evening. Posh Pudding and I wandered over to a nearby Starbucks for a drink, a chat, and some incidental people watching. I had had a Star Ruby Grapefruit GuS so I wasn't really up for a drink, but Posh Pudding felt bad about using my Starbucks card and prodded me until I got something.

Maybe it was because I'd already had a really long Friday, but for some reason my eyes landed on Tazo® Shaken Iced Tea. Iced tea is iced tea, but for reasons not clear to me, I was drawn to the word "shaken". Did that make it special somehow? Anyway, from the three flavours, I chose passion.

It's not too sweet (yay!), with a bit of tartness. Basically a fruit juice rather than a tea. It's got ice in it. But was it special because it was shaken? It suddenly dawned on me that I paid $1.95 for fruit juice with ice in it. Duh.

After some poking around, I found this page that "explains" Shaken Iced Tea at Starbucks:
Why are they called shaken? Well, because they are! All Starbucks iced teas are made in shakers with equal parts tea and water. Ice and sweetener are added, and the drink is shaken before it is served. Every part of this drink is able to be customized - for a stronger tea, ask for light or no water, and subsequently to make it weaker, feel free to add extra water and extra ice.
(Hmm! I had no idea I could ask for a stronger tea!)
It gives more information about the tea, but still not so much about the shaking. I then tried a bartender guide, and got possibly a bit more insight into shaking:
When a drink contains eggs, fruit juices or cream, it is necessary to shake the ingredients. Shaking is the method by which you use a cocktail shaker to mix ingredients together and chill them simultaneously. The object is to almost freeze the drink whilst breaking down and combining the ingredients. Normally this is done with ice cubes three-quarters of the way full. When you've poured in the ingredients, hold the shaker in both hands, with one hand on top and one supporting the base, and give a short, sharp, snappy shake. It's important not to rock your cocktail to sleep. When water has begun to condense on the surface of the shaker, the cocktail should be sufficiently chilled and ready to be strained.
Obviously the Shaken Iced Tea at Starbucks is no cocktail, so the relevant information here appears to be that shaking a drink with ice makes it colder faster.
From a bubble tea site came the idea of oxygenating tea through shaking to make it taste better:
The reason for shaking tea is simple: it tastes better. Shaking tea oxygenates it resulting in a cleaner, more expansive flavor. The idea of shaking tea evolved from the Asian tradition of 'pulling' tea, in which the teapot is rapidly lifted away from the cup as the tea is poured. The resulting stream of tea, sometimes stretching several feet or more, oxygenates the drink and enhances its flavor.
After all that... I don't know... It still looks like a fruit drink with ice in it. If you do order it, maybe watch them to see if they really shake it.

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