Instant Iced Teas – There are multiple types of instant tea. Instant tea powders are the more common type. These powders are made by first exposing the tea leaves to low pressure, then the leaves are freeze dried and then formed into a powder. During this process, much of the antioxidants and other compounds that cause tea to be beneficial to our health are lost. You can read more about how tea effects your health by clicking here. Cold brew teas seem to be somewhat of a hybrid between traditional and instant tea, and concentrated liquids are most similar to bottled teas.
Lipton has an unsweetened iced tea powder. The ingredients are Instant Tea Powder and Maltodextrin. As I said above, tea powders tend to have less of the health benefits when compared to traditional tea. I am not sure exactly what purpose the maltodextrin serves, but it usually is added to food to thicken it or as a filler. The taste of the instant powder is acceptable but not great. I would rank it higher than all bottled teas (except Tejava), but much lower than the traditionally brewed Lipton iced tea bags.
Lipton also has their Cold Brew iced tea bags. Unlike their classic iced tea, there is no water boiling required. You place the tea bag in cold water and in 3-5 minutes you have iced tea. I do enjoy the convenience of this product, but there is a noticeable taste difference when compared to a traditionally brewed iced tea. From what I have read it is basically instant tea in individual bags and it does taste similar to Lipton’s instant tea, but I do like the taste better than the instant powder. The ingredients are the same as Lipton’s regular iced tea, and doesn’t indicated “instant tea powder” or contain “maltodextrin” like Lipton’s instant tea does. The cold brew tea tends to be more expensive than the traditional brewed iced tea. Having said that, this does rank at the top of my list for teas that fall into the instant tea category
Luzianne unsweetened pour and stir liquid concentrate. Like the products above this one is really marketed towards convenience. No boiling is required, the only step is to add the pouch of liquid concentrate to a half gallon of water. The ingredients include: Black Tea (filtered water and real brewed orange pekoe and pekoe cut black tea concentrate), caramel color and phosphoric acid. These ingredients are very similar to many bottled teas in that they contain caramel color and preservatives. The taste is also similar to many bottled teas in that you are unlikely to mistake this for a freshly brewed iced tea. I feel like I can taste the caramel color more than the tea. This would be my last choice when it comes to instant iced tea.
Nestea instant unsweetened iced tea is a product of the Nestle company and another instant powder similar to the Lipton powder described above. The taste is very similar as well. Like Lipton, the taste is acceptable and better than most bottled teas, but not even close to as good as most fresh brewed teas. The ingredients are “instant tea”, but it also notes that it “may contain wheat”.