Lipton Tea… w/Stevia?
Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited to the unveiling of a new line of Lipton PureLeaf Iced Teas… sweetened with Stevia! The event was held at the posh restaurant Butter in NoHo. The space was gorgeous and decorated perfectly for a health-forward event in my opinion.We started off with a short lesson on how tea is made and got to see and feel different types of teas. From long, rough cut green teas to superfine black teas.
Gilbert Kendzior, Lipton’s own Master Tea Blender shared his 30 years of experience working for Lipton buying, tasting and creating delicious tea blends. It was truly interesting learning more about the process of making tea from bush to tea bag. I also learned lots I never knew about Lipton – they are an incredibly environmentally friendly company working with the Rainforest Alliance to ensure sustainability worldwide. We even got a lesson on how Gilbert tastes new blends and decides if they’re suitable for the company.Now for the eats!! Chef Alex Guarnaschelli whipped up an amazing meal for us, incorporating the Lipton teas into all of the dishes except for the amuse bouche – which literally means “to amuse the mouth”! …and the butter of course 😉 They were homemade and soo good. I don’t eat dairy too much, but I did sneak a taste.I was surprisingly the only vegetarian and non-dairy eater there, but the chef was kind enough to tailor the menu to suit my dietary needs. I tasted the dairy-filled soup everyone else got and to be dead honest I actually like mine better. 😀 It was a roasted yellow & red tomato soup with baby palm fronds. I thought the colors were amazing.
My next amuse bouche was toast points topped with fresh made hummus, scallions and roasted leeks (they’re hiding underneath). This was one of my favorite dishes – so flavorful, yet still light!The next course was a Roasted Squash Caponata with Celery Root, Mache and a Lipton Tea Lemon Dressing. Mouth-watering my friends… who would’ve though to use iced tea as a sauce base too?
Ok, I didn’t eat this, but had to show this…That’s Chef Alex in the middle showing her enormous whole-roasted Striped Bass stuffed with roasted Brussels Sprouts, Heirloom Potatoes and Tea Buerre Blanc sauce.Instead of the fish I got the most amazing vegetarian pizza you could imagine. Seriously, this dish made me realize that I NEED to come back to Butter soon because Alex is crazy talented! It had the most amazing pesto, purple heirloom potatoes, eggplant and tomatoes. The crust was so amazing too – it looks oily, yet somehow tasted light and wasn’t even slightly oily to the touch, just perfectly crisp!Finally we finished off an amazing meal with a fun take on coffee and tea. I had an apple sorbet topped with coffee granita on a lemon-tea caramel sauce and tea-soaked raisins. Everyone else had ice cream instead of sorbet… they had no idea what they were missing 😉 Ok, so now for my review of the product. I’m a tough critic because while this blog may be called Stevia ‘n Spice, I do not have a huge sweet tooth. I like subtle sweetness (and natural). On it’s own I wasn’t a huge fan of the tea, although I must say it was much lighter and cleaner tasting than any bottled iced tea I’ve ever tried.
However, in the beginning of the event we tried the tea mixed with fruit purees, juices, etc. and I thought they were fabulous. I tried the tea myself in a glass topped off with some sparking water and loved it!! I think the bubbly water added the perfect amount of lightness I was looking for. Also, Chef Alex made a great suggestion – pour the tea and some ice in a Vita Mix (or high-powered blender) and make your own sorbet!
Would I buy this product on my own to drink? Honestly, probably not. However, I really might get this to make some summer cocktails when I’m entertaining my friends. Waaay better for you then a lot of those “cocktail mixers” you find in the grocery store!!
- General Taste: 7/10
- Compared against other “bottled teas”: 8.5/10
- Overall Score: 8/10