Lipton, one of the most widely-known brands of tea, is best known for black tea. However, in recent years as green tea has gained in popularity, Lipton has increased the prominence of their green tea offerings. This article aims to answer three questions about Lipton green tea: (1) Is it healthy? (2) How much caffeine does it contain? And (3) does it offer superior flavor and aroma?
Health Benefits of Lipton Green Tea:
Many of the health benefits of tea are attributed to the presence of antioxidants, a class of chemicals that protects cells against oxidative stress. Unlike most tea companies, Lipton has actually measured and published the antioxidant content of their green teas, a practice which I find commendable. According to their website, the basic (unflavored) Lipton green tea contains 190mg of flavonoid antioxidants per teabag.
How does this compare to other teas? The average amount of antioxidants in a cup of tea varies significantly from one tea to the next, and also varies based on steeping time and other preparation factors. There are a range of figures available as to what constitutes a “typical” amount of antioxidants for green tea. However, the published antioxidant content of Lipton green tea is on the high end of commercial tea bags, suggesting that it is probably relatively healthy as green teas go. However, an independent study published in 2005 in the Journal of Food Chemistry and Toxicology (Friedman et. al.) found otherwise–and actually ranked both Lipton green and black teas towards the low end of a number of brands of tea tested, as far as antioxidant content is concerned.
Caffeine Content of Lipton Green Tea:
The caffeine content of Lipton green tea, according to their website, is about 45mg per serving (one tea bag). Their decaf teas contain 4mg; the decaffeination removes most, but not all of the caffeine. Lipton’s flavored green teas contain slightly less caffeine because they are blended with other ingredients which are naturally caffeine-free; the caffeine content of these teas ranges from 15-30mg. These figures are average among teas, which typically range from 15-75mg of caffeine per cup. Brewing can also affect caffeine content–longer steeping lengths will extract greater amounts of caffeine.
Lipton (Bottled) Iced Green Tea:
The story for the health impacts of Lipton’s bottled tea is significantly different from that of their tea bags. Bottled tea is very popular in the U.S. due primarily to convenience, but it has a number of downsides. As of writing this article, the caffeine content of Lipton’s bottled teas was not published on their website. Also, the antioxidants in bottled tea are known to break down over time, and there is concern that the published antioxidant content for bottled teas is greatly overstated.
Another problem with bottled tea is that it is almost always sweetened–and Lipton’s iced green tea is no exception. The sugar content of bottled teas have made them come under scrutiny from the medical profession as well as health advocates. Like most companies selling bottled tea, Lipton labels their iced tea in a deceptive manner–a single 20oz bottle is labeled as offering 2.5 “servings”. This can place the total sugar content per bottle over 50 grams for certain flavors. The amount of sugar in a single bottle exceeds the maximum recommended amount of sugar that a person is thought to have in a day.
In addition, Lipton’s iced tea is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, a product that has come under scrutiny for a variety of reasons, including potential negative impacts on health, and the use of unsustainably-produced, genetically-modified corn in its production. Lastly, Lipton’s bottled iced teas contain preservatives and artificial colors. Lipton offers “diet” iced teas, but these contain artificial sweeteners rather than being unsweetened.
Flavor, Aroma, and Overall Quality:
You’re probably asking yourself the question: “Yes, but is it good?”
Tea connoisseurs often consider Lipton the laughing stock of tea companies. It is widely viewed as a “cheap” or “generic” brand, with connotations of low quality. However, as the creator of a website where anyone from the public can freely review teas, I have observed that people consistently give Lipton’s products higher ratings than one might expect. My own personal experience has been that Lipton’s tea bags are at least as good, if not better, than a number of other mainstream brands available in most supermarkets. Lipton also has good consistency, reflecting decent quality control. While I prefer drinking loose tea, I find that Lipton’s offerings are often considerably more flavorful than some tea reviewers give credit for.
If you are looking to obtain the health benefits of tea from a product you can find in virtually any supermarket, brewing your own Lipton green tea is not a bad choice, although further research is needed to resolve the discrepancies between the data published on Lipton’s site and the results of independent analysis. I would strongly recommend staying away from Lipton’s bottled products, however. And if you really care a lot about quality, aroma, and flavor, you may want to consider exploring the world of loose tea: that is truly where the best teas lie.