Sure, you could shell out extra money for premium bottles of fresh-pressed orange juice that tastes like it came straight from the grove. But whether you're battling a seasonal cold or need a splash of something in your Champagne flute to make it count as breakfast, store-bought is there for you, and it's nothing to be ashamed of. OJ is right up there with milk as one of our grocery list staples, which is why we set out to taste-test five of the most popular brands.
We stuck with the most common varieties you'll find in the store. You know, the ones that pair well with strawberry Pop-Tarts but can pull double duty in mimosas. And while the topic of pulp is as polarizing as which type of jelly you should be using in your PB&J, we designated this as a strictly no-pulp zone.
Our testers graded the five samples in a blind tasting based on each juice's flavor (bright and, well, orangey versus dull like the stuff out of a cafeteria dispenser) and the balance of acidity and sweetness before giving an overall score.
Our Top Pick
As it turns out, finding orange juice that tastes like its namesake fruit is more challenging than one would expect, but Naked impressed us all with an intense citrusy flavor. Though it bordered on the sweeter side (which we didn't mind), we wouldn't hesitate either mixing this with equal parts Champagne or drinking it as is.
This was our second favorite and tasted like the quintessential supermarket juice archetype—brightly acidic yet sweet but with a somewhat watered-down orange flavor. It's the carton that makes every breakfast table feel like it came out of a TV spot for frozen French toast sticks, and because of that, we'll always have a bit of a Tropicana soft spot.
Its extra-sugary taste had a few editors wondering whether they were really drinking orange juice and not "bottled sunshine." But if your inner child is pining for the taste of post-soccer game SunnyD, this carton is for you.
Though some tasters found Simply Orange too watery, that lack of flavor almost made it the most pleasingly refreshing of the test. A nice balance of tartness and sugar, it was the easiest glass to toss back without the unpleasant reminder that you just brushed your teeth a few minutes before.
You know the plastic tumbler of OJ that comes with every order at your favorite greasy spoon? According to one editor, that's what Florida's Natural reminded her of most, and though its lack of citrusy flavor might not make it the world's greatest juice, it's the perfect option for washing down an extra-tall pile of flapjacks.
Do you agree with our choices? Let us know in the comments below.
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