The Orange Juice Taste Test: We Tried 6 Brands and Ranked Them

The Orange Juice Taste Test: We Tried 6 Brands and Ranked Them

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Kelli Foster
Apr 2, 2015
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Orange juice is the go-to drink of the morning. It's what we reach for to get a dose of vitamin C when we feel a cold coming on. It's an essential ingredient in mimosas. And it's a staple beverage that's loved by everyone.

We taste-tested a few major brands of orange juice to try to find one that is simply the best buy.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

How We Selected the 6 Brands

There are so many orange juices to choose from, and most people are pretty loyal to the brand they love, although some of us will always pull out the juicer for fresh-squeezed.

I wanted a variety of well-known national brands that readers would be familiar with, ones that could be found at most grocery stores throughout the country. I also included a generic store brand, as well as homemade fresh-squeezed orange juice as a control option.

All varieties selected were 100% pure orange juice, and not from concentrate.

I selected all pulp-free juice, and the fresh-squeezed variety was strained multiple times to remove all the pulp.

The juices I chose also happened to vary in packaging — some were sold in cartons and some in plastic containers.

The lineup of labeled juice carafes.
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

How We Set up the Blind Taste Test

For the taste test I purchased five well-known national brands of orange juice, and made a batch of fresh-squeezed juice. I assigned each juice a letter, poured them from the original container into a tall glass juice carafes, then lined them up on a table.

I asked everyone in the office to give me their thoughts on all six juices and to comment on their favorite, their second favorite, and their least favorite.

Apartment Therapy Senior Writer, Nancy Mitchell, and Carrie from our creative services team get the tasting started.
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

The Taste Test Results

Here are the results, from the least favorite to favorite orange juice:

6. Whole Foods 365 Brand - $2.99

Store brands can be hit or miss, but I find that the Whole Foods 365 brand consistently delivers in both taste and value. I expected this juice to be one of the favorites and was surprised by the outcome.

Taste Tester Quotes

  • "It's watery and acidic. Like it wasn't even trying."
  • "No, it's not that acidic. I like it because it's not too sweet."
  • "Definitely my least favorite."
  • "This one is the worst."
  • This is my second favorite — I like the acid."

5. Simply Orange - $5.69

This juice left a lot to be desired. It tasted bland, watered down, and lacked flavor. If you prefer a very mild-flavored OJ, this is the one for you. One of our editors buys this juice on a regular basis, yet when tasting it blind among the other selections, it was one of her least favorites.

Taste Tester Quotes

  • "It's watery and tasteless."
  • "It tastes like a box."
  • "It's not too acidic; it tastes good."
  • "This one isn't offensive. It doesn't really taste like anything."

4. Tropicana - $4.39

There were a lot of strong opinions about this juice. It tasted distinctly different than the others, with a strong flavor. Most tasters described it as tasting artificial, and one immediately felt certain it was Tropicana.

Taste Tester Quotes

  • "I love this one!"
  • "Is it Tropicana? I think this one is Tropicana."
  • "Tastes kind of cheap and metallic."
  • "This is just insulting."
  • "Yuck! Totally acidic."
  • "I like this one because it's sweet."
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

3. Minute Maid - $4.99

The tasters didn't have very strong opinions about this juice. The taste was mild and fell in the middle of the spectrum. It was enjoyable, though not very memorable. It wasn't too sweet or too acidic.

Taste Tester Quotes

  • "This one looks thin."
  • "It's sweet but not overwhelming, I like it."
  • "I really like this one because it feels thicker than some of the others."
  • "This one is sweet and smooth"

2. Florida's Natural - $4.29

This juice had good balance: not too sweet, not too acidic, and not as artificial-tasting as some of the others. Again, this juice fell somewhere in the middle of the road. People described this as the way orange juice is supposed to taste.

Taste Tester Quotes

  • "It's good. Tastes like average OJ."
  • "Nothing amazing, nothing gross."
  • "Definitely tastes like store-bought."
  • "Kind of acidic."

1. Fresh-Squeezed OJ - $6.15

As I expected, this juice stood out as the clear-cut winner for just about everyone. It had a hearty, natural flavor, with a texture that was a tiny bit thicker than the rest, and a good balance between sweet and acidic.

Taste Tester Quotes

  • "Based only on color, I choose this one."
  • "I think this one is fresh squeezed."
  • "This is the nectar of the gods!"
  • "This is my favorite — it's obviously fresh squeezed."
  • "Amazing! It's so hearty."
  • "It smells a little farmy."
  • "Definitely my favorite."
  • "It's a little bit acidic."
The brands are revealed.
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

I wasn't surprised that the fresh-squeezed juice took the prize in a blind taste test. If you've ever sipped a glass of good fresh-squeezed juice, you know what I'm talking about. However, I was surprised that one person in the office did not like it at all.

It was especially interesting to taste all of these juices at the same time. Not only did all of the packaged juices taste artificial after drinking fresh squeezed, but they all had a distinct flavor that set them apart from each other.

Have you ever done a taste test with major-brand orange juice? Do you have a favorite that we didn't mention here?

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