Iced Tea: Soda, Soft Drink Or What?


About 85% of all teas consumed in the US is iced tea.

In other words, it’s the preferred beverage of most tea drinkers in the nation. If you are one of the many iced tea aficionados out there, you may be wondering if your favorite drink is considered soda or a refreshing brew all its own.

Traditional iced tea is not a soda beverage. That’s because it doesn’t have any dissolved carbon dioxide in it, which means that it has no carbonation. On the other hand, a soda drink is carbonated. However, some iced teas have a splash of sparkling or soda water, which makes them a type of soda.

In the traditional sense, teas are served by pouring hot water over tea leaves, either loose or in teabags.

Different teas have different brewing temperatures, too.

For instance, the optimum brewing temperature for green tea is between 170°F and 185°F. On the other hand, the best brewing temperature for black tea is anywhere from 208°F to 212°F. The brewing time also differs, usually ranging from three to seven minutes.

But then you can also drink tea with ice, and many agree that it’s one of the best ways to enjoy tea. However, not too many people know iced tea very well in a more technical approach.

Is iced tea a soft drink? Is iced tea carbonated? Is iced tea a soda? Is iced tea caffeinated? Is iced tea beneficial for your health?

If you have a lot of questions about iced tea that need to be answered, don’t stop reading now!

iced tea

Difference Between Soft Drinks and Soda

Soft drinks are non-alcoholic beverages. They contain either sugar or artificial sweeteners and natural or artificial flavorings. Some soft drinks are carbonated, while others are non-carbonated. Soda is a type of soft drink as it doesn’t contain alcohol. Unlike other soft drinks, soda is carbonated.

There are soft drinks, and there are hard drinks. These beverages differ in whether they contain alcohol or not.

The word “soft” in soft drinks is present not because it’s soft like a cotton ball or pillow. Rather, it is there to show that soft drinks are the complete opposites of hard drinks.

Hard drinks are called that way because they contain alcohol. On the other hand, soft drinks are called that way because they do not contain alcohol. Both hard drinks and soft drinks can be carbonated and non-carbonated. When soft drinks are being talked about, carbonated ones are referred to as soda.

Carbonated drinks and fizzy drinks — soda beverages are also called by these names. No matter what you prefer to call soda, one thing remains true: it contains dissolved carbon dioxide that creates bubbles and fizzing.

Soda can range anywhere from flavorless to flavorful. So, in other words, soda comes in all shapes and sizes. Some common examples of flavorless sodas include soda water, club soda and tonic water. Despite having no flavor, these soda beverages are a delight to drink still, mainly because of their carbonation.

On the other hand, some common examples of soda beverages with flavors, either naturally or artificially flavored, include citrus sodas, ginger ales, ginger beers, and colas.

Does Tea Contain Caffeine?

Tea contains caffeine. A cup of tea (eight ounces) has 15 to 70 milligrams of caffeine, depending on the type. On the other hand, a cup of coffee has 95 milligrams of caffeine. Different teas have different amounts of caffeine. Water temperature and brewing time can affect tea’s caffeine content.

Because tea leaves naturally contain caffeine, all brewed teas contain caffeine.

However, different types of teas have slightly different amounts of caffeine in them. The processing they go through before they can be used for making tea affects how much caffeine is left in them. In addition, the location from which tea leaves are grown, environmental conditions and time of harvesting can impact the caffeine content of tea leaves.

For instance, tea leaves tend to have more caffeine if they do not get enough sun. Tea leaves harvested during peak seasons have higher caffeine content. The younger the leaves, the higher the caffeine levels in them. Allowing tea leaves to dry for a longer period increases the amount of caffeine present.

Here’s a table comparing the caffeine content of various types of tea:

TEACAFFEINE CONTENT PER CUP
Black tea40 to 70 milligrams
Oolong tea37 to 55 milligrams
Green tea35 to 45 milligrams
White tea15 to 30 milligrams
Caffeine content in teas

Keep in mind that the different tea types mentioned above are true teas. Simply put, true teas are teas brewed from tea leaves or the camellia sinensis plant leaves. As mentioned earlier, tea leaves naturally have caffeine. Steeping them in hot water for a while causes their caffeine content to escape and end up in the resulting brew.

While there are true teas, there are also herbal teas. Read on to know some of the key differences between true teas and herbal teas, thus allowing you to know which of the two types of tea is best for you.

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Are True Teas and Herbal Teas the Same?

Both true teas and herbal teas are refreshing beverages that offer some health perks. However, they are different from one another. True teas are made by brewing the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. On the other hand, herbal teas are made by brewing the leaves, flowers, fruits and other parts of herbs.

True teas may look and taste differently. Despite that, all of them are made using the camellia sinensis plant. On the other hand, herbal teas look and taste differently because they are from different plants and plant parts.

Caffeine naturally occurs in around 60 species of plants, and the camellia sinensis plant is one of them.

Besides the camellia sinensis plant, other plants can be processed and brewed into tea, too. However, they are not considered true teas. Instead, these teas are known as herbal teas. Their individual names are obtained from the herbs they are made from. And since they are out of different herbs, their properties can differ vastly.

Some herbal teas are more popular than others. It all depends on how well-known the herbs they are made from are. The following are some examples of herbal teas that you have probably heard about or even consumed:

  • Chamomile tea
  • Lavender tea
  • Jasmine tea
  • Peppermint tea
  • Eucalyptus tea
  • Rooibos tea
  • Lemongrass tea
  • Ginger tea
  • Valerian root tea

Unlike true teas, herbal teas do not contain caffeine. This means that drinking them at night won’t leave you tossing and turning in bed until sunrise. What’s more, herbal teas tend to offer a variety of health benefits. It all depends on the healing and health-giving properties of the herbal plants from which they are made.

Conclusion

So, is iced tea soda? It depends — iced tea is a soft drink if it’s brewed with plain water, and iced tea is a soda beverage if it’s made with sparkling or carbonated water.

There is no denying that iced tea is a refreshing beverage. It’s for this reason why the majority of teas consumed in the US are iced. Above, we talked about the technical side of iced tea. Now that you know that it’s a different type of tea from herbal teas and that it can either be carbonated or non-carbonated, you can enjoy it with no questions asked.

Related Questions

Is iced tea good for weight loss?

Iced tea has compounds that may promote weight loss. One is a flavonoid called catechins that can speed up the metabolism. The other is caffeine, which can increase the metabolic rate and energy levels, thus allowing for the burning of more calories. However, some iced teas are packed with calories.

Does iced tea make you pee?

Traditional iced tea, which is made using black tea, contains caffeine, a diuretic. This means that drinking iced tea can increase urination, which can lead to dehydration if one fails to drink sufficient amounts of water. Some dehydration symptoms are increased thirst, dizziness, exhaustion and mouth dryness.

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