Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Standards Which Are Substandard: Lipton Tea Disappoints.

The Good: None that I can find.
The Bad: Watery taste, Sour aftertaste, Extraneous tea waste
The Basics: A disappointing tea, Lipton basic is a weak tea that never seems to get strong enough to make a good cup of tea.

Some standards are standards in the United States despite the inherent quality of the product. For example, just because there are thousands of McDonald's restaurants, does not mean that the restaurant serves the best food in America. Similarly, Lipton tea is considered the standard tea in the United States and I am at a complete loss as to why that is.

As a child, Lipton was the tea my father always had around the house and I remember him making iced tea by brewing the tea out in glass jars on the back deck. And it wasn't until I arrived at college where I started drinking teas from other brands, most notably Celestial Seasonings, that I realized tea could be flavorful and delicious. Far too many people live without ever stepping beyond the pedestrian boundaries of the bland, sour Lipton tea.


Lipton tea is a very basic tea-flavored from Lipton and it is a rather bland tea at that. The tea comes individually wrapped in the box of twenty bags, each tea bag with its own string and paper tab, which seems to define the standard by which every other tea company created their look for their teas. The twenty bag box is generally found inexpensively, offering consumers a cheap way to get tea.

Lipton tea is a basic black tea designed to give the drinker the flavor of a very basic black tea and it is a surprisingly weak presentation of that.

Ease of Preparation

Lipton tea is a remarkably easy tea to prepare. This tea requires one to open the box, remove the paper-wrapped tea bag, unwrap that, unwind the string from around the tea bag and then set it into the teapot. Lipton tea is very easy to prepare. One need only place the tea bag in a mug or a steeping pot and pour near-boiling water over it. Let the steaming beverage steep for three to five minutes and the tea is ready. For my first pot in years, I let it steep the full five minutes to get the full flavor from it. This still yielded a fairly light cup of tea, especially for a black tea.

For those who are tea bag misers, a second cup made by reusing the same tea bag resulted in a mug of tea that was, at best, a quarter strong as the first cup. The second steeping also resulted in a tea which was much more watery and that made it impossible to effectively reuse.


The aroma of Lipton tea is very bland and it is tea which smells like tea, nothing else. In fact, this is a more watery tea which smells only faintly of black tea.

The taste is similarly subtle. After five minutes of steeping, Lipton tea tastes like virtually every other brand's basic black tea diluted beyond recognition. The hot tea smells faintly of tea leaves, but when one tastes it, the dominant flavor is still water, the water one brews it in. Worse than the watery taste, Lipton is also defined by a sour aftertaste that leaves the mouth dry and unsatisfied. This is not a thirst quenching beverage.

With a teaspoon of sugar, Lipton tea becomes sweet, but is more flavored by the sugar than the tea. Similarly, even milk overwhelms the tea flavoring of Lipton tea.

Cold and unsweetened, Lipton tea is dry and slightly sour. I brewed up some iced tea and discovered it no more satisfying as an adult than I did as a child.


The ingredients to tea tea are rather simple as Lipton is a simple black tea. The fact that this tea is so mild compared to other teas where the only ingredients are black tea leaves me fairly mystified.

In terms of nutrition, this tea is devoid of it. One 8 oz. mug of this tea provides nothing of nutritional value to the drinker. There are no calories (save what one adds from sugar, which I recommend), no fat, sodium, or protein. There are mild amounts of caffeine, but this is not a tea which will wake one up! One should not attempt to live on Lipton tea alone!


Because of the various layers of packaging, tea appears to stay fresh for quite some time. So long as it is kept dry, this tea has a decent shelf life. As far as cleaning up, one need only rinse out the steeping pot or mug to prevent it from staining. The tea bags may be tossed easily enough. For those - like me - who compost their old tea bags, it is important to remove the staple and string with the little paper tab before composting this. That's an annoying extra step, especially after years of Celestial Seasonings teas!

As for the tea itself, this is a surprisingly light tea for a black tea and I would recommend cleaning up any spills on lighter fabrics as soon after they happen as possible. This does look like it might stain doilies!


Lipton tea might be "the brisk" tea, but it is a lousy standard for tea drinkers and those who want bold tea flavors would do better to avoid this uninspired beverage.

For other teas reviewed by me, please check out:
Saphara Tropical Rooibos
Bigelow White Chocolate Kisses
Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey


For other beverage reviews, please visit my index page for an organized listing by clicking here!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

| | |

No comments:

Post a Comment