Sunday, July 4, 2010

Orange Juices

Orange juice comparison

Do you see anything different from the boxes in the picture above? Okay they are all packaged orange juices but they are different. In Germany there are three different types of orange juices; simple orange juice, directly squeezed orange juice and orange nectar. I'm pretty sure you're confused with all these descriptions. Well, I was anyway. I mean who knows what's the difference between orange juice and orange nectar? They sound similar. So after watching a report on TV about how these orange juices are made, I'm a little bit smarter. So let me try to explain the differences as simple as possible.

Simple commercial orange juice are mostly made by frozen concentrated orange juice. This concentrate are made from freshly squeezed orange, pasteurized and heated until all the water evaporated. This leaves only the essence of the orange juice. This is because it is cheaper for European companies to ship these concentrate from the country, where they are produced to Europe. Imagine the cost of shipping heavy juice water >_<. So after the concentrates arrive at their destinations, packaging companies just need to add water, sugar, some vitamin C, preservatives and voila you got the "same" orange juice.

Still, what is the difference between orange juice and orange nectar? it's in the composition i.e. how much water and how much sugar you can find in the juice or the nectar. Juice should have lower ratio of sugar and nectar is more diluted with water and have more sugar. But how do they taste? That was also my question after I saw the report. So one weekend, my spouse and I went to a German walmart equivalent, "Real" and bought four tetrapak packaged orange juices. We chilled them in the fridge and drink them at the same time to compare them.

Orange juice compared

The left one is branded orange juice from Hohes-C, the one beside it is a generic brand (TIP) orange juice. I want to compare these two orange juices, because I'm curious if branded orange juice taste better than the generic one. The one from Hohes-C cost twice as much as the one from TIP. The third one is directly squeezed orange juice, which isn't made out of the frozen essence. This is self-manufactured by Real, the supermarket. Last but not least, is orange nectar from TIP (the generic brand).

Let me start with the difference between the hohes-C orange juice and the generic Tip orange juice. Surprisingly, there is no difference at all! Not on taste, smell, consistency & sourness. I even tried to drink some mineral water to neutralize my tastebuds. But still I can't taste any differences. I think I will save my 1 euro next time and buy the generic brand when I crave for some citrus drink.

So how about the difference between orange juice, directly squeezed orange juice and orange nectar? There're major differences. For example, as we poured the juices into their respectively glasses/mugs, we noticed how different their consistencies are. The juices are more concentrated whereas the nectar is watery.

Next we conduct a taste-test: The orange juices are very concentrated, sour with a hint of bitter aftertaste. I prefer to dilute them so that the flavour is not too intense. The nectar is extremely watery and very sweet. And lastly, the directly squeezed orange juice is definitely more watery than the normal orange juice, yet not so pungent from acid. It has the right amount of sweetness but unfortunately it has a unnatural smell/aftertaste. We thought it might have come from the vitamin C additives.

Prices: I forgot to take note of the exact price but I still remember vaguely about the price but I'm sure the most expensive one is freshly squeezed orange juice around €1,30 for 1 L, the second expensive one is Hohes C with €1,40 for 1,5 L, next comes the Orange juice from TIP with €0,60 for 1 L and the cheapest one is orange nectar €0,90 for 1,5 L.

My personal favourite one is the freshly squeezed orange juice because it's a beverage that I can directly drink without grimacing either because of the acid or the sweetness. The artificial vitamin c doesn't bother me much. My spouse's personal favourite is the orange nectar, because of the sweetness (he loves sweet beverages, his most favourite drink is super sweet iced tea) and also because of the watery consistent which he said are very refreshing.

Okay the above opinion is my own personal opinion, I'm not paid by any of the companies and it's only small independent experiments. If you are interested and want to know more, a company in German called StiftungWarentest made a very through research about these stuffs.