Taste Test: Orange Juice

Image credit: Rachel Rees - Middleton

I have an orange juice problem. I grew up drinking litres of the stuff, my first email address was iloveorangejuice@yahoo.com, my blood had a weird orange tinge, and my skin glowed like a lighthouse at night. All in all, I was obsessed.

I kicked the addiction pre-uni partly because it was a habit I couldn’t afford to keep up and partly because that much sugar is apparently bad for you. But for the noble cause of this taste test and for my dedicated readers (I hope you know who you are, because I don’t) I forayed back into the depths of my orangey past.

This week’s taste test involved 4 different OJs. Sainsbury’s Basics Orange Juice comes for 70p, which is a one-stop bargain for a 1-litre sugar high. It tastes entirely artificial, the concentrate is sweet and sickly, but somehow there is comfort in its lack of authenticit – it’s not masquerading as anything other than itself. The flimsy carton encases a wonderfully cheap, sweet, soul.

Tropicana is exactly what you’d expect, delicious, and vitamin-C rich. It’s appropriately sour, but there’s something about how it professes to be fresh that irks me; its texture is almost too heavy for fresh juice. But, if you can find a family-sized 1.75-litre on sale for £2.50 with extra juicy bits you’re golden. Nothing makes you feel as powerful as drinking straight out of that mammoth of a carton.

Now, pulp is obviously the way forward. I got 900ml of reduced Copella for £1.50. Glistening with juicy bits, it was pure, chilled, deliciousness. The taste is sharp and biting, as any good orange juice should be, and the texture a bit more slippy than Tropicana. But, it still faces the same criticism that Tropicana gets – it claims to be something it just isn’t.

Outright indulgence comes in the form of Tesco’s freshly squeezed which comes for £2.50 but which if you ration goes quite a long way to tanging up your otherwise dull breakfasts of Fruit and Fibre. It tastes like orange groves in Valencia and the gentle fragrance reminds me of being on holiday in warm, sunny, deadline-free places.

If you’re stuck between juices, I say go for Basics or go all out and go for the fresh stuff. There’s no point dithering in the in between. The branded juices pretend to be fresh, but the fact is they aren’t, and for this reason they’re simply not worth the price tag. Embrace the addiction: orange juice is bad for you but at the end of the day, aren't all the best things?

Basics: 8/10. 100% fake, 100% great.

Tropicana: 7/10.

Copella: 7.5/10.

Tesco’s Fresh: 9/10. Yum. 

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