For hardcore coffee drinkers, imagining a day without a cup of this precious liquid is something of a nightmare. Coffee is what keeps us going when the desk slump starts hitting in the afternoon.
Coffee keeps us alert and focused throughout the day. So, how can we imagine replacing it with tea?
Zest Tea is hoping to convince us to do just that. Their high-caffeine, high-focus, high-energy drinks are designed to provide the boost of coffee, with the smooth drinking of tea. And added amino acids are included to keep the shakes at bay!
Cutting out coffee sounds like a daunting experience, but for this review we did just that. Take a look to see how Zest Tea compares, and whether it’s time to ditch the coffee bean, and make the switch to tea leaves.
All About Zest Tea
The premise of Zest Tea is simple: what if there was a tea with the same amount of caffeine as coffee? A tea that gives you energy and focus, without any jitters and anxiety. Okay, perhaps that’s not quite so simple. Still, that’s what Zest Tea has aimed to create.
By using a proprietary blending method and natural tea extracts, Zest Tea have managed to increase the caffeine content of their drinks to between 120 and 150 mg. That’s almost 3 times the natural level of black tea, and significantly more than a standard cup of coffee.
But Zest Tea hasn't stopped there. To balance the effects of this caffeine, they’ve added amino acids such as L-Theanine, to calm jitters and provide a smooth experience.
Zest Tea Full Review
Zest Tea sounds like an exciting idea. Who wouldn’t be interested in a tea that can give you the caffeine boost with none of the crash? But how well does Zest Tea live up to its claims?
Zest Tea Product Range
Zest Tea has three product lines currently for sale.
The core of the brand is the high caffeine tea. This is available in both tea bags and loose-leaf, with black and green tea for sale. The flavor range is decent, but there’s definitely room for future expansion.
For those who prefer their tea iced, Zest Tea also makes sparkling ready to drink teas. These are available in 12oz cans, and come low or no-calorie. Again, there’s room for more flavors, and it would be good to see some different sizes available.
That said, the choices so far are good, and should appeal to those who need a boost on the go.
Finally, Zest Tea produces a range of CBD teas. This range is very limited so far, but feedback seems to be positive. It’s undoubtedly one to keep an eye on.
For this review, we’ll be focusing on the high caffeine tea bags.
Trying Zest Tea
The first impressions of Zest Tea were all around positive. The packaging is attractive, without being cluttered. It was obvious what this tea was for, how to drink it, and all the brewing instructions you require.
Some specialty teas cover the packaging in so many buzzwords and explanations, it’s a puzzle to work out how to steep it. Not so with Zest Tea.
Good feelings improved once we’d gotten the Zest Tea sachets open. The teabags themselves are high quality, and you can see the loose leaves and fun ingredients inside. They’re also biodegradable, which is a huge plus!
And the aroma! The aroma was incredible. Powerful, but not overwhelming. By the time we had our water boiled and cups ready, we were all looking forward to a drink.
We started with the Blue Lady, a black tea with citrus and fruit flavoring. Imagine it as a bit of a fruity Earl Grey.
With the added caffeine, bitterness was a worry. But the other flavorings came through stronger, and overall the taste was smooth. Zest Tea recommends steeping for 4 to 6 minutes, but you might want to cut this down.
Consensus decided that the Zest Tea flavors were enjoyable. Pomegranate Mojito and Strawberry Samba taste like a good afternoon cup, and the Spicy Masala Chai is perfect for a mid-morning break. Classic tea lovers should enjoy the Earl Grey, while the Cinnamon Apple is made for cold days.
So, the flavors are good. But let’s be honest, most of us are here for the caffeine. Just how motivated can Zest Tea make you feel?
First, despite the high caffeine content, Zest Tea sits easily in the stomach. Those with sensitive stomachs might prefer to drink it alongside a snack, but others will find the smooth tea rests easier than coffee.
Not long after drinking Zest Tea, productivity was up. Focus was improved, yawns were down, and we were firmly in the zone. It was a long-lasting effect, too — even the most ardent coffee drinkers found they needed fewer cups of Zest Tea to keep going.
And, perhaps best of all, there were no accompanying jitters and anxiety. Zest Tea has balanced their caffeine with L-Theanine, designed to moderate the caffeine so you don’t experience the coffee crash.
With up to 150 mg of caffeine per cup, Zest Tea has more than 3 times the amount of caffeine as regular black tea, and 50 mg more than some coffees. A single cup of Zest Tea can take the place of 2 cups of coffee, helping you cut down on calories (and trips to the bathroom).
There are a few cons to the Zest Tea brand. A replacement drink for serious coffee drinkers, some may find that Zest Tea is a bit too strong. Prepare for a bit of lightheadedness if you’re making the switch from regular black tea.
And nailing the steeping time is hit-and-miss. Sticking to the Zest Tea recommended times can yield a strongly flavored cup, but cut it too short, and you lose the intricacies.
But these are small issues, and a matter of personal preference and experience. Overall, Zest Tea is a fantastic product.
Can Zest Tea Replace Coffee?
The big question: will a cup of tea ever replace our beloved coffee? Zest Tea certainly makes a good go at it. The caffeine levels are exceptional, and you can really feel them at work. And with the balance of L-Theanine, there aren’t any jitters or crash.
A cup of Zest tea certainly makes an excellent morning or afternoon energy boost. It’s easy to drink, and sits smoothly in the stomach (for the most part).
However, Zest Tea feels more like a supplement to coffee, rather than a total replacement. We think it will appeal more to tea drinkers looking for a pick-me-up, than coffee drinkers trying to make a change.
Zest Tea might not be what you need for an early morning boost, but it’s a nice change when you get sluggish around 11am. And we particularly enjoyed Zest Tea in the afternoon, finding a single cup could get us through to evening.
Zest Tea is also gluten-free, GMO free, vegan, and keto! So, if you’ve had to cut coffee out of your diet, you don’t have to miss out on caffeine.
A bag of 20 Zest Tea teabags costs around $13, not including shipping. Depending on how much you drink, this could last anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks. During testing, we found 2 to 3 cups of Zest Tea can keep you powered up for a whole day.
We think the price is good, especially for this much caffeine, and the quality of the ingredients. Zest Tea can also be bought on subscription, which nets you a slight discount.
The loose-leaf tea is perhaps an even better deal, costing roughly $19 for a 4oz pouch. We could see this stretching quite far, especially as the flavor is so strong.
Zest Tea also sells sparkling tea in cans, packed full of caffeine, with very few calories. Sparkling teas are currently sold in packs of 24, and cost roughly $60. This is pretty steep for a one time purchase, but the price for each individual can is good.
Where To Buy Zest Tea
Zest Tea can currently be purchased from ZestTea.com and Amazon.com. Amazon also sells 12-packs of the sparkling teas, if you don’t want to invest in a 24-pack just yet. However, the CBD Tea by Zest Tea can only be purchased from the Zest Tea store.
Zest Tea is also available from Walmart.com, and various retail stores.
Is Zest Tea The Boost You Need?
Zest Tea does what it claims to do. The extra caffeine levels can give you focus and energy, while the balance of amino acids keeps the jitters at bay. Even die-hard coffee drinkers will be able to feel the effects of Zest Tea.
For tea drinkers, Zest Tea is a chance to give some extra power to your day. The flavors are good, if sometimes a little powerful, and the added caffeine doesn’t make for a bitter cup.
Coffee drinkers may find it takes some time to adjust, but Zest Tea can fill a caffeine craving with a smooth finish.
Zest Tea may not be the perfect product, but it’s definitely one for the pantry.