Green tea, rich in antioxidants, has long been praised for its healthful properties.
In an attempt to make every bite count, food manufacturers have added green tea to all kinds of foods and drinks, with varying success.
At best, it adds a nutty earthiness; at worst, it tastes as if someone put lawn clippings in the snack mix.
To sort through the options and avoid the worst, we gathered a selection of products listing green-tea additives as an ingredient and tasters to share their opinions of them.
In some items, such as the sodas, the addition of green tea or matcha (fine, powdered green tea) was practically undetectable. In chocolate and frozen treats, it overpowered other ingredients.
The flavor worksGreen Tea Cookies, 7 ounces, $5; Ten Ren Tea (www.tenren.com). Surprisingly buttery. One taster suggested pairing them with cheese.
Steaz Green Tea Soda, 4-pack of 12-ounce bottles (cola, ginger, grape and orange), $4.99. Whole Foods Market (www.wholefoodsmarket.com). Unexpectedly, the ginger let us down. The other flavors came through as dominant and not overly sweet.
Green Tea Wasabi Peanuts, 6.35 ounces, $5. Ten Ren Tea. More heat than tea flavor, but the peanuts' earthiness works well with the grassy tea.
Kanesu Cha Soba (green tea soba noodles), 7 ounces, $2.99. Lotte Plaza (www.lotteplaza.com). Would pair well with strong flavors such as soy, sesame and ginger.
Takes getting used toSaxon chocolate-covered cherries (with matcha), 4.4 ounces, $12.50. Origins stores (www.origins.com). Green tea powder and cocoa blended in the chocolate and dusted on these confections. Grassy at first, but soon balanced by good-quality chocolate and a sweet, dried-cherry center.
Saxon chocolate, cherry bark (with matcha), 4.4 ounces, $12.50. Origins stores. The tea is blended into the chocolate. The flavor muddies the chocolate a bit.
Sweet Preserved Plum With Green Tea, 4.58 ounces, $4. Ten Ren Tea. Like large salty raisins (with a pit), but could be good with a cheese platter.
Green Tea Pumpkin Seeds, 6.7 ounces, $5. Ten Ren Tea. The flavor was balanced, but the hulls were thick and stale.
Don't go thereGreen Tea Candy, 4.23 ounces, $1.50. Ten Ren Tea. Unless they were doubling as cough drops, we'd pass.
Green Tea Chocolates, 3.85 ounces, $6. Ten Ren Tea. The white chocolate base was waxy. Nobody tried seconds.
Ciao Bella Ice Cream, $3.99 per pint. Whole Foods Market. The addition of milk "curdles" the tea flavor.
Rice Dream ice cream, $2.50 per pint. Whole Foods Market. Watery and dull.