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Lipton Tea Origins

Lipton Tea is probably the most available tea product in North America (and maybe South America) today. In fact, it is has already gained the distinct...

 

Lipton Tea is probably the most available tea product in North America (and maybe South America) today. In fact, it is has already gained the distinction of being a household name when talking about tea. Its popularity has extended to other countries around the world. What most people don’t know is that lipton tea is not an American-made product. It is in fact, a product that is developed by the British. Oddly enough, lipton tea is not very popular in its own country of origin.

Becoming Lipton Tea

Lipton Tea is a British company, founded by the Scotsman, Thomas Lipton. Sir Lipton lived in America from 1865 – 1870 and during his stay, he learned a lot about the distinctively American way of advertising characterized by bold confidence. A story about him goes that the character of the miracle-working Scottish engineer of the Star Trek series named ‘Scotty’ was actually based on him.

The first Lipton tea shop opened in Glasgow, Scotland on the same year Lipton left the United States. The tea shop started as a grocery store, but eventually specialized in tea. This decision came about when Lipton managed to acquire five bankrupt tea plantations in Ceylon.

Developing Lipton Tea

Sir Lipton himself came up with the names “brisk tea” and “orange pekoe”. There weren’t actually any specific blend of tea called orange pekoe or brisk, but more and more customers would ask for these items when buying lipton tea. Other brands of tea in America have tea listed as “orange pekoe” just to let the public know what flavor their tea is similar to.

Lipton Tea became popular all over the world and particularly in the United States. Sir Lipton himself is known for his outrageous publicity stunts and his travels back and forth to America by crossing the Atlantic are very well documented. Lipton lived to become a rich man. Furthermore, his legacy lived on even after many years after his passing. In 1952, the Lipton company acquired patents for a four-sided tea bag. While tea bags had been available since 1903 they were still very rare. With the advent of Lipton Tea’s four-sided tea bag, bagged tea became popular very quickly and is the more commonly used preferred packaging today.

Lipton Tea is now part of the mega-conglomerate Unilever (which also owns Dove hair and skin care products, Close Up toothpaste and Vaseline, among others). It still remains as one of the largest tea sellers in the world. The tea line includes herbal teas, decaffeinated and green teas, as well as the classic (and invented) “Orange Pekoe”.