Congratulations to Bret Michaels for being the 2010 Celebrity Apprentice. Last week while walking through Manhattan, I saw the first crates of Snapple the Bret Michaels and Holly Robinson Peete created being rolled into a local Duane Reade drugstore. After tonight’s show, they’ll no doubt be flying off the shelves, so grab yours while you can. The drinks will bring awareness to the American Diabetes Association and the HollyRod Foundation to help kids with autism.
Diet Trop-A-Rocka™ Tea
Bret Michaels: “My new tea is taste bud tested and rocker approved. I chose to create a Diet Snapple because I am a lifelong type-1 diabetic and I know together we can find a cure for diabetes. And just like being a diabetic doesn’t mean I have to sacrifice having a rockin’ good time, Diet Snapple doesn’t sacrifice great taste. My Snapple-osophy is simple: awesome taste, the best ingredients and low calories. And now The Best Stuff on Earth is better for me.”
Holly Robinson Peete: “Did you know autism is a global epidemic affecting 67 million people worldwide? The HollyRod foundation helps families in the autism community access affordable treatment and compassionate care, and our mission is what inspired my new Snapple flavor. Compassionberry Tea combines passionfruit and strawberry with The Best Stuff on Earth, making the best stuff even better…and more compassionate.”
So the question is…who really won based on taste? Well, as luck would have it, I commute every morning through Penn Station in New York City, and this morning there was a Snapple truck and a whole army of Snapple employees in purple T-Shirts giving away free samples.
I took one of each and when I got home I put them in the refrigerator. They are chilled and I can give you my unbiased take. I learned all about wine tasting in a trip to Napa a few years ago, so I used the same principles to taste test the tea (swirl it to release the oxygen, sniff the bouquet, and swish).
First of all, they’re both the same color–a clear brown color, like iced tea should be. From watching the TV show, I’d forgotten that both of these were iced tea flavors–I’d assumed all along they were fruit beverages.
Compassionberry Tea: The tea definitely smelled like berries, like a fruity shampoo or soap set. The taste is definitely powerfully sweet and fruity. Curtis Stone’s influence is definitely there–the blending of the flavors is excellent, and the drink is definitely light and summery. As with any flavored ice tea, you can taste the subtle aftertaste of the tea leaves, but the very delicious fruity blend of passion fruit and strawberries on top of it makes it a delight to drink.
Troparocka Tea: I was really looking forward to trying this one. The vanilla aroma is definitely very strong, along with the smell of peaches and pears. When I tasted it, it definitely did not go down as smooth as the Compassionberry tea–can’t tell if it’s because it’s diet or because of the combination of the flavors. The overall taste was a little watery, and the aftertaste was a bit odd–the initial aftertaste is not that pleasant, but wait a few seconds you end up with a lingering kick of peach and cinnamon that’s actually quite pleasant.
The verdict? Well, it’s kind of funny, but if you were to run a blind taste test, Compassionberry would probably be the winner hands-down. But after seeing the process that Holly Robinson Peete and Bret Michaels went through to design the flavors, I think I had more of an appreciation for Michaels’ Troparocka. In fact, after my own little taste test, it’s the one I went back to and drank more of. Troparocka definitely had the more unique and intriguing taste, whereas Compassionberry tasted good probably because it was familiar and more traditional.
I enlisted my coworker Sandy, who has a much more refined palate than mine, to do a taste test. Here were her conclusions:
Compassionberry: Much too sweet. No spiciness or “edge” to it. Just a sweet, fruity drink. The sweetness is so overpowering you don’t taste the tea.
Troparocka: A little shocking at first. Definitely more flavors. The cinnamon is overpowering, and the pear and mango are very strong flavors. There’s a more lingering taste afterwards of pear and cinnamon. I prefer it; I can taste the “bitterness” of the tea that I like.
It’s funny how the drinks ultimately reflected the celebrities’ personalities. Bret Michael’s presentation and commercial also took a lot more chances while Holly Robinson Peete seemed to play it safe. At the end, Michaels won because he put it all on the line, literally, for his cause.
At the end of the day, both celebrities were winners. And of course, the most important thing is that it brought awareness to the American Diabetes Association (http://www.diabetes.org/) and the Holly Rod Foundation for Autism (http://www.hollyrod.org/). As much as Snapple donated to them, their donation was only a drop in the bucket to curing these devastating illnesses. It’s the continuing support of you that will make the difference. Please visit their Web sites to donate and to show your appreciate to these celebrities.