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I normally prefer coffee to tea but I make the exception for iced teas which I find to be one of the most refreshing drinks in warm weather. I didn't used to like them at all, as I found that the taste was often too weak for me. Then my friend made me a lovely drink from some instant lemon tea powder and I realised how nice iced tea could actually be. So I thought I would try some ready made ones again, starting with Liptons as they are the easiest to find. My local corner shop offers Liptons Ice Tea in 3 flavours - mango, peach and lemon. I wanted to try one of the more exotic versions but only lemon was in stock, so I bought that. It cost £1.30 for a 500ml bottle. The bottles neck is rather wide, so it did not feel especially comfortable to actually drink from it. It does make pouring the tea out into a glass easier, which is how I would usually prefer to serve it, but that wasn't possible when I was out and about. The other advantage of drinking it from a glass is that you can make sure the drink is really cold by way of adding ice cubes to it. Although my bottle came from a chiller cabinet it didn't feel cold enough to suit me, which I do think makes the drink taste less refreshing. The portion that I drank at home, with ice, tasted so much better. Once opened, the drink has to be kept in the fridge anyway, and consumed within 5 days. It has the advantage over fizzy drinks of not going flat if you don't want to drink all of it at once too. The tea look like a medium brewed cup of "normal" tea, only without milk added of course. It smells more of tea than of lemon, and unfortunately that is also how it tastes. I expected to taste a bit more of the fruits tartness, to counteract the sweetened tea. I could taste more of the lemon as an lingering aftertaste than as a full part of the flavour which disappointed me. The tea taste is fresh and pleasant , and I like the smooth texture, but I wanted more lemon! I did notice that the actual lemon juice content is 0.1%, and while I know that lemon has a strong taste so adding a lot would be overwhelming, I would like to see the proportion of it upped slightly. I didn't think that the drink tasted very sweet, which is surprising considering the high levels of sugar it contains. Half a 500ml bottle has 19% of your RDA of sugars in fact. I half thought that by opting for a non fizzy drink, I would be doing more for my teeth, but know I am not so sure! On the positive side, there is only trace amounts of both fat and sodium. Apart from wanting more lemon taste, I did like the flavour that was there. As mentioned above, I think when cold it is more refreshing than many soft drinks. I would buy it again to drink on the go, if I wasn't consuming any other high sugar things that day. You can also buy it in a can, and large multi serve bottles, but I prefer the smaller ones because it is a drink I like to have only every so often. If I have time to make a drink up at home, I prefer the taste of Quench Instant Lemon Tea which can be made hot or cold. It costs £1 for a bag that will make litres of the drink, so it is also cheaper. I have seen Liptons Ice Tea on sale for as much as £1.60 a bottle on a station kiosk, whick I think is too much. Multi buy offers do seem to be available quite often though. If you want to try it yourself, it is widely available in the supermarkets, as well as from W.H Smith, Superdrug, and Boots and other places.
For several years like many others I have enjoyed, a cup of hot tea with lemon or an herbal alternative but never Iced Tea. It took a visit to Canada for me to try a ready to drink Iced tea, which is as commonplace as Coke Cola and Pepsi. (You cannot find any dilutable fruit squash like Robinson's in Canada unless it is a speciality store catering to imported British food stuffs and then priced 10 times its original cost due to import taxes). Yes I know what you are going to say "How revolting!" but please do not knock it until you try it. I did and now I love it. Most recipes for Ice Tea consists of a packet of powder bursting at the seams with vast amounts of sugar that never quite dissolve when mixed and diluted with water and an underdeveloped lemon flavouring, or the old fashioned recipe whereby a pot of tea left to steep and cool, adding sugar, lemon juice, water and lots of ice, although the only drawback from this old fashioned recipe is the harsh and sometimes metallic aftertaste that is acquired when tea has steeped too long. Lipton's has created a soft drink based upon its classic Lemon Tea recipe without the harshness and syrupy sweetness of packet Iced Tea but with a more developed clean, fresh flavouring rather like a light after dinner sorbet. Available in ready to drink bottles sized in 500 ml or 1.5 litres or a 330ml can and with two additional new flavours: Mango and Peach. The dark amber liquid is a smooth, cool and refreshing drink with a crisp tang of lemon that is pleasing to the palate with a hint of tea but without the ghastly metallic aftertaste. The peach flavour is delicate and subtle while the mango is more exotic and fruitful. It is a drink that is uplifting at any time of the day but wonderful in hot weather to re-dehydrate a parched mouth without the heaviness and bloating you associate with gaseous fizzy drinks and none of the overly rich, tart, and cloying taste acquired from fruit drinks with excess amounts of sugar and fruit juice. The most favourable way to serve is chilled with lots of ice and will keep in the fridge for up to a week once opened. The nutritional information list the ingredients, which contain a small amount of both fruit juice and tea extract. The typical values per 100 ml sold are: Energy 139 KJ / 33 KCAL, Protein 0 g, Carbohydrate 8.1 g, Fat 0 g. On the Weigh-Watches pure points system a 200ml serving is an approx half point. Lipton Ice Tea was launched nationally in 2002 in the U with Lemon and Peach flavours adding Mango flavour in 2003, which soon became the second favourite flavour in Europe after peach. Lipton Ice Tea is the 15th biggest selling soft drink brand worldwide and is obtainable in over 30 countries Lipton Ice Tea is available in most supermarket stores. A 1.5 litre bottle costs around £1.60 each depending in which supermarket you buy it or a handy 500 ml bottle costing approx £0.80. Classic Lipton Lemon Tea is a little harder to locate but is still available.
I can't say that ice tea of any variety is something I order or buy to go in the UK - it's something I only occasionally have abroad. After all, tea in the UK is usually hot with milk and sugar! But I got to try Lipton Ice Tea with Lemon quite by chance today, as they were handing out full sized sample bottles in Manchester City Centre (I got three). It's not a drink you find easily on the shelves in smaller shops - not like Coca-Cola or even flavoured water, in fact the only places I have seen it for sale are larger supermarkets and foreign foodstores. The average price is £1.50 for a 500ml bottle, and 60p for a can. Like most soft drinks, Lipton Ice Tea with Lemon is best served over ice, or failing that, ice cold from the fridge. It looks just like regular (milkless) tea in the bottle, and smells faintly of lemon. The drink is, on balance, strange at first, as it's cold tea, but when you're not focusing on that, it's very nice. The touch of lemon compliments the cold tea very well and it is obviously sweetened too, with 13g of sugar in every 500ml bottle - a significant reduction on full fat coke at 70g of sugar per 500ml. It's a still drink, and is easy to down, and is very thirst quenching - a great alternative to fruit flavoured waters and regular carbonated soft drinks. It's an acquired taste - tea lovers (that's hot tea lovers) may find it that bit too unusual and not enjoy it. But if you think of it as an independent drink, it really is a nice flavour and one I'd buy again, without a doubt. I can see why I was handed a free sample - it's one of those drinks you want to take a sip of before deciding to take the plunge! Lipton Ice Tea variants are all natural, and are fat free. The clear plastic bottles and coloured lids are fully recyclable. Ingredients: Tea (Water, Tea Extract from Tea Leaves), Sugar, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, REB A (Purified Stevia Extract) Flavonoids: 72mg of Flavonoids per 8 fl oz serving Amount Per Serving Calories 50 Total Fat 0g Sodium 50mg Total Carbohydrate 13g Sugars 13g Protein 0g Overall, I'd recommend trying Lipton Ice Tea with Lemon, but as it's probably more of a 'marmite' drink, I can't guarantee you'll love it. I really like it, and will give it four out of five - knocking off a star as I'd love to see a diet version, but I haven't seen one on the shelves as yet and there is a lot of sugar in there (compared to other water based drinks and compared to the same amount of hot tea). If you're fancying a change in bottled drinks (and like tea), give it a go!