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Old 06-01-2019, 06:49 PM
Ulf the Unwashed is offline
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McDonald's sweet tea


I never have lived in the South, but during visits to my grandmother (who spent most of her life in NC and GA) I did develop a taste for sweet tea.

Until fairly recently it was unavailable where I lived, except in self-consciously "Southern" restaurants (we didn;t have many). Then McDonald's introduced it to their menu, and it made for a nice occasional treat.

But! Once in a while the taste is very very different from what I expect. I'm not good at describing taste, but the sweet tea I'm sold sometimes has a noticeably different taste--almost tinny, for want of a better word, nothing like the usual and nothing like what I always had in the Southeast. I don't much like it. I've asked a handful of employees why this is so, and they all say they have no idea. A couple of them insist that all the restaurants make it the same way.

The most likely thing I can think of is that the sweetener is different. They're using an artificial sweetener, Splenda or something, instead of sugar. Or it's made with liquid corn syrup. Or the other way around. Or I guess maybe the tea is different? Seems less likely somehow. Well, the truth is I have no clue. If anybody does have an idea, I'd like to hear it.

FWIW, I ran into this most recently this week at a McDonalds outside Waterbury, CT, and have also had the weird version a couple of times in Buffalo, NY. But I don't know that it's restaurant specific: seems like I once had the unexpected stuff from a more local (Hudson Valley NY) place that had previously sold me the more genuine stuff.

Thanks!
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Old 06-01-2019, 07:00 PM
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Moldy dirty servers. Those things will mold in a day. Making tea taste sour. The container needs to be washed after they run out of tea, everytime. Next time you get a bad cup smell it. It will have a sour musty smell. Complain to the management.
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:03 PM
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I believe Beck is correct.

I love their tea, but I don't eat there anymore due to their continual "improvements."
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:42 PM
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Well, that was not the answer I expected!
Or wanted.
Yuck.

Interesting that there's no "middle ground"--it's either its usual tasty self or it's this other rather unappetizing stuff. Nothing in the process of going bad/turning sour. Or maybe my palate just isn't sensitive enough. Maybe that's just as well.
Thanks (I think)
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:08 PM
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Just to clarify, the "sweet tea" was a cold beverage, right?
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:23 PM
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Absolutely.

Now that you mention it, there could be a problem with the ice. They make it in the back and bring buckets of it up to the dispenser. Could be a dirty dispenser, could be a dirty transporting bucket, could be a dirty ice making machine, could be the mop water was none too palatable when they poured it into the ice-maker.
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:50 PM
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Yes, sweet tea is generally served with a ton and a half of ice. I rememebr one place in New England that put up a sign next to the dispenser: "Sweet tea is supposed to be drunk with at least half a cup of ice." Guess their clientele had no experience with the idea of sweet tea, poured it in without ice, and then complained. And rightly so. Sweet tea is not the nicest stuff in the world when it isn't cold.

burpo--Another pleasant possibility. Perhaps I will give up McDonalds. Or fast food. Or restaurants in general.
Or maybe eating and drinking altogether.
better safe than sorry...
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:38 PM
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I apologize if I put you off your mop water sweet tea.
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:28 AM
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I always order my sweet tea half and half.

That's half a cup sweet and half the cup unsweetened.

Restaurants always make it ridiculously too sweet. I guess for sugar hungry kids.
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:35 AM
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Moved to Cafe Society.

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Old 06-02-2019, 07:30 AM
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Restaurants always make it ridiculously too sweet. I guess for sugar hungry kids.
I learned quickly to avoid the stuff. So sickeningly sweet. It made by teeth hurt!
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:11 AM
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Restaurants always make it ridiculously too sweet. I guess for sugar hungry kids.
Ridiculously sweet is the whole point of sweet tea (can't stand it myself). A quick google shows recipes with 1-2 cups of sugar per gallon of water.
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:46 AM
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I would love to drink sweet tea. Can't do it. Sodas either. I have trained myself to drink unsweetened tea. It's basically brown water. I make a 2 quart pitcher nearly everyday. Restaurant tea is a crapshoot. Some places do it well, some not.. I have found unsweet tea to be less reliable than sweet. It's not nearly as popular. That server isn't emptied and washed as much. Gah!!

ETA, I agree with Burpo, Icemakers in restuarants are not cleaned nearly enough.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 06-02-2019 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Ulf the Unwashed View Post
But! Once in a while the taste is very very different from what I expect. I'm not good at describing taste, but the sweet tea I'm sold sometimes has a noticeably different taste--almost tinny, for want of a better word, nothing like the usual and nothing like what I always had in the Southeast.
Maybe they are trying to make Kambucha and failing at it?
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:51 AM
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. It will have a sour musty smell. Complain to the management.
Yeah but then they'll spit in it instead.

Just toss it and buy some of that Gold Leaf tea in c stores.
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:49 PM
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Any ice tea will get a skunky, off taste after a day or two.

That's why restaurants make it fresh every day.

Tea made at home lasts longer because it's kept im the fridge.

Last edited by aceplace57; 06-03-2019 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 06-03-2019, 03:09 PM
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I avoid tea in fast food restaurants for the reasons [QUOTE][Beck/QUOTE] suggest.

At home, I brew mine with bottled water so maybe I'm a bit of a tea snob.
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Old 06-03-2019, 03:46 PM
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I had no idea why ice tea sometimes tasted bad in restaurants! I'm done with that!
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Old 06-03-2019, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Any ice tea will get a skunky, off taste after a day or two.

That's why restaurants make it fresh every day.

Tea made at home lasts longer because it's kept im the fridge.
A place as busy a MickeyDs probably make Tea several times a day in the summer. That metal server needs cleaning frequently. I'm sure, just like the milkshake machine, it doesn't happen often enough. IMHO.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 06-03-2019 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 06-03-2019, 04:55 PM
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I have one fast food place that I will buy iced tea from and that is a MacDonald's express near my house. I rarely get bad tea from them and it will stay good tasting all day. My friends consider me the standard for "good" tea as in "Would Adhemar approve?" I only drink unsweetened ice tea and have made my own with hot tea and a glass of ice when up north.

When traveling Starbucks has pretty good tea pretty consistently. expensive but better than bad tea.

old tea bags, tea dispensers that sit next to a heat source, unclean dispensers, any tea that isn't really fresh brewed, and funky tea blends are big time bad in my book.
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Old 06-05-2019, 06:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulf the Unwashed View Post
I never have lived in the South, but during visits to my grandmother (who spent most of her life in NC and GA) I did develop a taste for sweet tea.

Until fairly recently it was unavailable where I lived, except in self-consciously "Southern" restaurants (we didn;t have many). Then McDonald's introduced it to their menu, and it made for a nice occasional treat.
We have sweet tea at McDonald's in Michigan now, too, and somehow it's become the default when ordering iced tea. This is frustrating, because Michigan is not a sweet tea state, and having to remember to specify "unsweetened" sucks.
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Old 06-05-2019, 07:39 AM
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I'm glad sweet tea is an option. I think it's healthier than soda. Especially when the sugar is cut by ordering half-n-half. Can't do that with Soda and these days even diet Coke is blamed for diabetes.

My soda consumption has been slashed by 70% since restaurants started offering sweet tea.
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
A place as busy a MickeyDs probably make Tea several times a day in the summer. That metal server needs cleaning frequently. I'm sure, just like the milkshake machine, it doesn't happen often enough. IMHO.
The McDonalds' around us seem to have a system where they line the server, though the spout, with a single use bag. That seems to keep the tea servers clean.

However, they do NOT do the same for the ice or the pop. One time, my pop was served to me in the drive thru with the fountain nozzle in it.

I think we should all probably stop going to McDonald's.

Last edited by slalexan; 06-05-2019 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:23 AM
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Ridiculously sweet is the whole point of sweet tea (can't stand it myself). A quick google shows recipes with 1-2 cups of sugar per gallon of water.
Yeah , "sweet tea" isn't like the stuff you get from Pure Leaf or Lipton in the bottle with lemon and sugar "Sweet tea " is much, much sweeter than those
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Old 06-05-2019, 10:51 AM
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As a displaced Southerner, I urge you to abandon McDonald's and trot over to Chick-fil-A. Much better tea.
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:34 PM
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It might also be too old. I can usually tell if tea has been sitting for a while. That's why unsweet tea is a crapshoot, in the type of restaurant where you pour it yourself - since it's not as popular as sweet tea, the container doesn't empty as quickly.

I used to be a connoisseur of "the house wine of the South". But I've switched to half-and-half, because sweet tea, as I understand, is just as bad for you as sodas. Sorry, aceplace57.
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Ulf the Unwashed View Post
Yes, sweet tea is generally served with a ton and a half of ice. I rememebr one place in New England that put up a sign next to the dispenser: "Sweet tea is supposed to be drunk with at least half a cup of ice." Guess their clientele had no experience with the idea of sweet tea, poured it in without ice, and then complained. And rightly so. Sweet tea is not the nicest stuff in the world when it isn't cold.

burpo--Another pleasant possibility. Perhaps I will give up McDonalds. Or fast food. Or restaurants in general.
Or maybe eating and drinking altogether.
better safe than sorry...
even at Southern-themed restaurants, for some reason sweet tea needs more ice to taste cold
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Old 06-07-2019, 08:29 PM
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It might also be too old. I can usually tell if tea has been sitting for a while. That's why unsweet tea is a crapshoot, in the type of restaurant where you pour it yourself - since it's not as popular as sweet tea, the container doesn't empty as quickly.

I used to be a connoisseur of "the house wine of the South". But I've switched to half-and-half, because sweet tea, as I understand, is just as bad for you as sodas. Sorry, aceplace57.
I'm a Texan, so I drink my tea unsweetened*, and old tea is my guess for what's plaguing the OP. If it's not made relatively fresh (today, at least), it's not going to be great. I might keep a pitcher of tea at home for a day and a half, but after that we need some new tea. A fast food restaurant isn't necessarily going to go through their 5 gallons in a day, and if they don't have a schedule to replace the tea on (or they miss it for whatever reason), it's going to be pretty bad.



*You can drink so much when it's hot here, you'd intake 2500 calories a day if it were sweet tea. I don't know why, but Mexican restaurants have the best iced tea here.
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Old 06-07-2019, 08:38 PM
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As a displaced Southerner, I urge you to abandon McDonald's and trot over to Chick-fil-A. Much better tea.
CfA has displaced McD's in my book. Check this out for a chuckle.
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