What Is “Swig Tea”?

Swig away! (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)
Swig away! (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

As warmer weather approaches, the swigging of tea commences. But just what is swigging and “swig tea”?

An official definition of “swig”: v. To drink (liquid) or engage in drinking liquid in great gulps.

Based on the above definition, you could equate swigging to gulping, chugging, and swilling — they are all applicable for “swig tea.” In my mind, therefore, “swig tea” is iced tea but also that bottled stuff that people stock up on and consume in massive quantities, especially during hot weather.

Lest you think this is another diatribe on the horrors of bottled teas and iced teas, let me assure you it is not. In fact, quite the contrary. These beverages, while not my personal choice, are quite popular with good reason: they refresh. And while I have my personal preferences, a principle that forms the foundation of my personal ethics is “freedom of choice.” If you want to swig iced and bottled tea, sounds fine to me. In fact, as long as you don’t try to force me to swig it, I am totally neutral on the whole thing.

Even so, as a sort of public service, I wanted to address this tea phenomenon.

Widespread Swigging

An article from 6 June 2011 stated:

In 2010, for the first time in history, we drank more tea than the British…The United States imported a record 280 million pounds of tea last year, surpassing the U.K.’s imports, according to Joe Simrany, president of the Tea Association of the USA. …Americans overwhelming prefer their tea on the rocks.

They also state that swig teas are popular all year round. Incredible!

Another site states that bottled teas are being swigged so much due to increased availability and health concerns (people switching from colas). To that end, green tea, which many claim to be healthier than other types of tea but is now getting refuted, is the top choice among these “swig teas.”

Health Concerns

This “swig tea” in bottles is often said not to have the antioxidants and other health benefits usually associated with freshly steeped teas. While I personally don’t pay attention to any of the health claims made about tea, those of you who do pay attention to such things should note that you may not be getting much health benefit while you swig. One article states:

Research presented at a recent meeting of the American Chemical Society revealed that health-savvy consumers of bottled tea may not be getting their antioxidant bang for their buck. The healthy antioxidants–called polyphenols–that are responsible for tea’s ability to protect our cells from free radical damage are barely present in most bottled teas.

While this is not meant as medical advice, it is something to consider if you are the kind of tea drinker who wants certain benefits from swigging tea.

Swiggable Teas

Some teas are swiggable while others are not. But by all means avoid over-swigging like this woman did.

  • Generic green tea (usually a blend of various green teas where the flavor has been balanced to avoid any particular characteristic from dominating).
  • Generic black tea (ditto on the blending).
  • Flavored versions of the above (hubby and I used to like the citrus version of flavored generic black tea one vendor bottles, but he had a raspberry version in a restaurant last year and still raves about it).

Whichever you choose, don’t overdo and by all means enjoy!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

3 thoughts on “What Is “Swig Tea”?

  1. Pingback: “Sweet Tea” Explained (Sort of) | Tea Blog

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