Our present world bucks like a rabid animal, twisting and writhing with pain and confusion. The Four Horsemen stand ready at their stables, dressed to ride. Self-combustion has never felt so imminent.

Yet there is virtue and constance enough in the world. An example to praise: the Arizona Iced Tea 23 oz tallboy, ever 99 cents, ever there at your local bodega, quick mart. I’ve had my share of Zona, too many to count. I know the contours of the flavors as well as I know my own childhood home. To you I impart my wisdom and my familiarity.

7. Peach Iced Tea

beer, tea, cake
Emily Lufburrow

Cousin to the well-known Lemon and Raspberry flavors but unloved and left without inheritance. Peach Iced Tea is soft-spoken, well-mannered and temperate. An unpopular option, Peach is found by fortune in the bottom corners of refrigerated shelves.

Peach Tea is a delicate lady of the court, dressed in blush aluminum. I’ve found her the most underwhelming of flavors, but sweet enough for satisfaction. The nectarine flavoring will curl your mouth into a smile.

6. Southern Style Sweet Tea

coffee, beer, chocolate
Lucia Brown

As true sweet as sweet could be, magnetic north. Like its cousin Green Tea, Southern Tea is smooth to taste, glassy in its composition and touch. It is a plain flavor, beloved, but easily under-appreciated. The white can reminds one of linen, the midday sun, the haze of a hot afternoon.

5. Mucho Mango

Brooke Jandreau

The most outrageous Arizona Iced Tea flavor (barring the Shaquille O’Neal series of drinks), Mucho Mango is a decadence. It is heavy with sugar and coloring and it truly resembles a nectar. This flavor will stick with you and occupy your palate for some minutes. It would have been well received in Caligula’s court, a drink of sin. This tea must be taken with time and pacing, lest it overwhelm you.

4. Classic Arnold Palmer

Robert Strain

This is Schrodinger’s tea: flitting in and out of lemonade flavoring, blinking sweetly. It is the two-faced tea, Arnold Palmer. A Palmer is delicious, but does it satisfy? Yes and no.

If you are a purist of drink, then this beverage will not be to your liking, there is too much muddle. If you have patience, however, you will be rewarded. Every three or four sips, the flavors will resonate and harmonize and strike a perfect pitch, a golden tone.

3. Iced Tea with Raspberry Flavor

tea, beer
Ke'ala Brosseau

Twin to Lemon Flavor, Raspberry Flavor is a more subtle sibling, trading sour for another chord of sweet. One must praise the dimension of the raspberry flavor: the bitter of the raspberry seed and the mellow curdle of an unripe berry. This Arizona Iced Tea is unafraid of what you want it to be. It deserves the bronze.

2. Iced Tea with Lemon Flavor

coffee, chocolate
Lucia Brown

The original iced tea, the proto-Zona. This tea holds complexity in flavor: plain tea sweet paired with the sprite zest of artificial lemon flavor. There is sour enough to surprise you every sip or two, but it never overwhelms, only enchants. For many Zona enthusiasts, Lemon Flavor is the purest vision of canned iced tea.

1. Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey

juice, water
Robert Strain

The laurel crown must be given to the most righteous flavor. The Green Tea Arizona is smooth like kimono silk, soft on the lips and throat. It is corn syrup comfort and grace. The green tea flavor is plush and pleasant on the palate.

The vessel itself is a work of art, wrapped in the branching limbs of a flowering tree. Have you ever seen Van Gogh’s Almond Blossoms? Look at its pastels: teal and cherry bloom. This is ambrosia, that life-giving essence. Laudemus! Laudemus!  

The article has ended, go in peace. May you go out into the world with a Zona in your hand, this wisdom received and a prayer in your heart.