Sound’s “tea-infused sparkling water” intrigued us. Ok, all sparkling water intrigues us, but we are especially suckers for an innovative flavor combination (Blueberry Cinnamon Hibiscus?!) and brands we’ve never heard of. (We’re looking for all of you, new brands and under-the-radar gems! Reach out!)
AHA’s Citrus Green Tea is such a staple in the Bubbleverse household, and we’ve had such fondness for both of Nixie’s sparkling water + tea offerings, Peach Black Tea and Pomegranate Green Tea, that we were eager to try more tea-flavored sparkling water.
Light yet flavorful, gentle kick of caffeine: they’re an important part of any sparkling water roster.
So when we discovered Sound, let’s get all of them, said we.
We loved that they were certified organic, and are all about that no sugar added, no calorie life. We were sure that we were kindred spirits.
We were particularly pumped about the Orange Vanilla flavor, having been pounding both Simply Organic’s and Polar’s Orange Vanilla with impunity for quite some time now.
But Orange Vanilla with caffeine?
We were bracing ourselves for this to be our new favorite sparkling water, a Pied Piper of bubbles and tastes that our wallets and souls would be powerless before.
So, did Sound enthrall us and lead us off a budgetary and sensory cliff? Sip on, gentle reader.
The aroma upon cracking the can is a light citroid tap on the senses. The vanilla is there (maybe) but only if you’re looking for it. We’re definitely an early fan of the aromatic powers of the orange here, sweet and ethereal.
Drinking this, however, is quite a different experience.
The black tea that was not readily available on the nose is now front and center. In fact this is almost entirely black tea, rendering it overly astringent and sour.
The orange, usually never a flavor wallflower, is available here as a middle child, between the domineering black tea first child and black tea baby of the family that brings up the rear.
The vanilla is the accident baby that arrives seven years later.
Now, perfectly steeped tea is delightful. It’s floral, light and sensory, with a hint of astringent to wake up the palate. But here, the black tea and orange (two potential astringents) combine to create a Mega Astringent. The notes and expressions multiply each other rather than harmonize and counterbalance.
It’s kind of like they forgot to take the tea bag out and/or that this was a sparkling water they were creating, not a capital T tea. And that’s why brands like Nixie and AHA get it right. It should be sparkling water first, tea experience second.
The fact that Sound also has a Sparkling Tea line unnerves us. How much more tea can we go? We shudder to think.
We don’t hate tea. Let’s be clear. But we were promised sparkling water, and we want sparkling water.
Although there is an important factor that could be affecting our drinking experience: since we bought these, Sound has entirely rebranded aesthetically.
When our cans arrived, we all agreed this was the ugliest shit we’d ever seen. Behold:
It looked more like branding for electronics equipment rather than a hip and novel sparkling water-tea infusion brand.
Millennial Sparkling Water Connoisseurs shiver at the sight. Where is the bland? Where is the pleasing font? Where is the minimalism?
Well, lo and behold, it’s as if Sound heard our thoughts, because in the mere week or so that’s passed since getting these ocular abominations, Sound has entirely rebranded. We weren’t sure we were even on the right website when we went back to their site to double check if this was actually one of their sparkling teas.
We would not be surprised if the aesthetic bumps up Sound’s sales a bunch, because who wants to be caught dead drinking these old cans?
Now, we believe that if sparkling teas our your thing, you might get into this. The caffeine is certainly effective. Only 45 mg, but these imbue your step with some pep for sure.
But we’re not sure we’re entirely excited to keep going down the Sound rabbit hole. We might enjoy a little more Silence.
But we’re stuck with the sampler pack, so check back soon as we explore more oversteeped tea flavors in our (mercifully) now out-of-print ugly ass cans!
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