Lipton. Yeah, it’s that tea in the yellow box with the red label. Most people have heard of Lipton. Lipton is a normal tea. Lipton is the tea that restaurants have so they can say that they’ve got hot tea.
Lipton is old. I mean, older than the Model T old. People have been sipping on Lipton for a long long long while now. I’m still pretty young, so I won’t make a big claim to knowing much, but Lipton has been a tea that’s been in my life for a while as well.
I believe the first time I had Lipton I was at an Ihop. I was young. An age of single digits. For some reason I ordered a tea. My parents have always been about speaking up for what you want. I wanted hot tea. I didn’t really know what I was going to get or what the tea would taste like. I was given a cup of hot water and a Lipton tea bag on the side. I felt kind of special having to go through a process to make my drink. My whole family was watching me probably because they knew I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I opened the package, put the bag in the water, waited a while then drank it. I remember looking up at my mom and frowning because of how strong and bitter the taste was. She immediately handed me the sugar tray. I took about 6 or so packets of sugar to make my tea drinkable.
After that I rarely ever had Lipton hot again. I do remember getting it again at a few restaurants forgetting that Lipton was a staple around here and that tea flavors were never really an option.
I hadn’t realized though that all my life I had been having Lipton sweet tea on the farm in South Carolina. That’s the tea my grandma has been using since forever to make her sweet tea. The sugar, the cold, it transformed that tea to something I couldn’t recognize as being Lipton.
Lipton is the first tea that ever made me see two ways to tea. Hot or cold.
As I sip my glass of hot Lipton tea which I buy by the truck loads now because I use it for both hot and cold tea in my house, I think about how it used to taste. It used to be stronger. I drink it hot without sugar now because I like to have the strong flavor, but it isn’t the same from the time I had it at Ihop. It’s different now and even when I have it down south as sweet tea I can taste something different in it. I don’t know what it is, but it’s different.
Lipton to me will always be that normal tea. It’ll be that tea that I will look for when I ask for tea in a restaurant. It will be that tea I make sweet tea with, it’ll be that tea I’ll drink when I want something semi strong, but plain. Hopefully it won’t get any weaker.