Lipton Lemon Ginseng Green Tea K-Cups Review
Lipton has been steadily forging ahead with new varieties of teas lately & the same can be said about their single serve offerings as well. 2014 saw a slow but continued growth of new flavors with the latest one being the Lipton Lemon Ginseng Green Tea K-Cups. We were curious to have a go at these but should have paid closer attention to the ingredients list since, for whatever reason, we thought these K-Cups had honey included as part of the initial flavor. We could not have been more wrong.
While panax ginseng is known as a form of natural energy supplement, it’s not exactly the best tasting ingredient in the world and despite its various health benefits, it has a very unique and somewhat off-putting taste which can only be described as chemical-like. That’s why most teas which feature this ingredient usually add honey as a sweetener to help mask the taste. This time around, Lipton opted not to do that and only left natural lemon flavoring (which is apparently soy-based… wait, what?) & lemon grass as the main flavor ingredients. So, what are the final brewed results like? Let’s have a look & find out. As noted above, there’s soy in this product (and even an allergen warning right on the K-Cup lids), so be forewarned if you’ve got any soy allergies.
Brewing these K-Cups resulted in mild aromas of lemons & you do get a chemical-like scent from the ginseng although it’s rather subdued. Flavor was… well… not what we were expecting. You get an initial hit of lemon flavor and we could detect some of the lemon grass in the background, but it quickly faded to reveal the flavor of the ginseng which was very bitter and (as best can be described) somewhat chemical in taste profile. Again, we have no idea why we were expecting honey to be present in this K-Cup (maybe because just about every competing product includes honey had something to do with it… *cough*), so the in your face lemon/lemon grass/ginseng flavor without any sweetener whatsoever was rather jarring at first. We did manage to improve things considerably with subsequent servings by adding actual honey to the drink, but let’s be honest… we shouldn’t have had to do that in order to make the flavor bearable in the first place. We also noted that the ginseng flavoring came through a lot stronger as the tea cooled off.
Acidity was a bit on the stronger sour side given the natural acidity in lemons, but most of the astringency appeared to be coming mostly from the green tea itself. Body yielded vibrant colors of ghostly greenish-yellows when held in front of a light source which fit well with everything from the lemon & lemon grass ingredients to the colors on the packaging. Mouth feel was smooth given the bitter chaos swirling around in the cup. Finish was sharp & astringent with more lemon notes throughout which carried through into the aftertaste.
- Aroma – 8 – Mild aromas of lemons are present upon brewing along with the unique almost chemical scent of the ginseng. Thankfully the lemon aroma seems to be the dominant one and that’s what you mostly notice.
- Acidity – 2 – On the stronger sour side given the natural acidity found in lemons, but most of the astringency seemed to be coming mostly from the green tea itself. The addition of another flavor component or sweetener could have gone a long way to improve things here.
- Body – 9 – Vibrant colors of ghostly greenish-yellows which seemed to fit well with the overall theme as well as the primary ingredients & even the packaging.
- Flavor – 2 – This is where things go off the rails for us. You definitely get a solid hit of lemon up front with some hints of lemon grass in the background, but the odd & unexpectedly chemical/bitter taste of the ginseng is the main thing you notice after a few seconds. Adding sweetener helps the lemon flavors shine through, but in our opinion, we find it annoying when we have to add things into a drink in order to even make it drinkable.
- Mouth Feel – 7 – Smooth despite the bitter chaos going on throughout the cup. Finish was sharp & astringent with more lemon notes which carried through into the aftertaste.
- Coffee Drinker – This is obviously not a coffee, but folks who enjoy sour drinks or would like an even more bitter version of lemon green tea are probably going to end up liking this. If you don’t like all of the above or think this tea won’t need sweeteners, then this one’s not for you.
Overall Rating: 78 – Fair
While this might not have been our ideal cup of tea (pun intended), we think that folks who enjoy lemon tea are likely accustomed to the biting bitterness which is inherent with such drinks and may not mind the addition of the odd ginseng flavoring. As we noted, things weren’t a total loss once we added actual honey into the mix, but much like coffees, some teas are meant to be enjoyed as-is and shouldn’t need to have anything dolled on afterwards in order to make things drinkable.
We can’t help but think the addition of some form of sweetener would have vastly improved the overall results (they could have kept their all-natural theme and even used Stevia), but given the case in point, this tea is exactly as advertised… the flavor is claimed to be lemon ginseng and that’s exactly what you get. No doubt about it. If you can get over the initial shock of the unexpected ginseng flavor, don’t mind adding your own sweeteners or you’re the type of person who actually eats the lemon wedge after you’re done drinking your iced tea (don’t laugh, we know a few), then this might be right up your alley & at least worth giving a try.
Lipton Lemon Ginseng Green Tea K-Cups work in all Keurig K-Cup brewers including Keurig 2.0 and are available in 24-packs in Canada via ECSCoffee.com. So far, these K-Cups appear to be a Canadian-exclusive item as we haven’t found any American online retailers or locations that carry them. Please also note that K-Cups will NOT work without using adapters in Keurig Vue brewers.
A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to thank ECS Coffee for sending us samples of these K-Cups for the purpose of this review.
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Posted by Jay Brewer at January 5, 2015 7:32 AM