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New tea offerings are low in sugar, high in taste

Soda seems to have taken a back seat in the beverage world, with tea stepping up to take the wheel.

A variety of new iced teas have hit store shelves recently, to much applause from health-minded shoppers. The newest varieties are fused with antioxidants and herbs and boast low sugar counts.

White and red all over

Teas are no longer limited to black and green brews. White and red teas are making strong strides in the beverage arena, with Lipton at the lead.

The new Lipton Diet White Tea with Raspberry is goodness in a bottle. The clear, sugar-free drink has no calories, but is rich in antioxidants and flavor. The light, clean taste is refreshing, with a touch of fruity sweetness to round it out.

The raspberry tea also comes in a non-diet variety. The tea, sold at area grocery and convenience stores, is available in single 20-ounce bottles, 16.9-ounce 12-packs and 1-liter bottles.

Heading the red tea pack is ZT Rooibos Red Teas, which was named runner-up in a taste test at the World Tea Expo. The brand's new peach tea has made its national debut in several area Sam's Club locations.

Sweet and satisfying, the tea is also believed to have healing qualities - it's said to aid in nausea, stomach cramps and heartburn. Even better, the tea is caffeine- and sugar-free.

Visit www.getredtea.com.

Meet your mate

Tall, thin bottles holding 16 ounces of chilled excellence, Herbal Mist's new line of Yerba Mate teas are the epitome of a tea-riffic drink. The all-natural, sweetened iced teas are infused with fruit flavors and herbs. Each of the six flavors are sweetened with natural cane sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup, resulting in a guilt-free guzzle - the maximum calorie content is 100 per serving.

Of the varieties we tried, the white tea and peach tea reigned supreme. The light, crisp flavors went down easily and left a pleasant zing on our taste buds. Other flavors include green, black, raspberry and lemon tea.

The teas are sold in select grocery and health food stores. Visit www.drinkherbal.com.

Snap into traditional teas

After years of stocking store shelves with flavored teas, Snapple recently launched a line of classic black teas. The drinks are available in three flavors: Earl Grey, English Breakfast and Orange Pekoe.

Earl Grey and English Breakfast have traditionally been hot tea blends, but the flavors translate easily to this chilled, ready-to-go form. Robust and refreshing, they are neither sweet nor dry, but simply delicious.

The Orange Pekoe, however, was completely underwhelming. Though the label calls it smooth, the bland mixture was flat and dull.

Made with naturally brewed tea and lightly sweetened with real sugar, the black tea blends contain 35 to 40 calories per serving.

Snapple Classic Black Teas are available at major retailers, grocery and convenience stores nationwide. Visit www.snapple.com.