Monday, November 24, 2014

The Illusion of Percentages

Lipton Tea
I'm no snob, about tea at least. I drink Lipton tea. The big yellow box, always buying a hundred count of the neat little tea bags.

Now I know tea snobs say tea bags contain the sweepings off the tea factory floor, but I've drank Lipton since I was a teenager, and I like it. I even like the little self-contained package, with the actual bag inside a paper wrapping. It's easy to stick one in a pocket when traveling and motel only has a room with a coffee-maker and a microwave.

However, the last 100-count package we bought had twenty-five individual tea bags wrapped in gold foil. Okay, I thought, maybe the folks at Lipton think the foil wrapping will keep the tea fresher.

That may be so, but I think the individual tea bags have less tea in them. I drink my tea from a 20-ounce clear glass bear mug. I like the color of the tea as seen through the clear glass. And of course, I like my tea on the weak side. With lemon, thank you.

Now, though, the tea in the 20-ounce mug is faint in color and tastes more like lemon. "Is it possible Lipton has pulled the ham trick," I asked my wife.

"Ham trick? What's that?"

Decades ago I remember a lobby group campaigning to allow water to be added to hams as the last step in production. "It'll make the meat more moist," was the manufacturer's line.

Of course, since the manufacturer also wanted to sell ham with a 10% water (moisture) content, it meant that for every ten hams the manufacturer was paid for eleven.

Has Lipton pulled the ham trick? I'm not sure. I only know that I now use two tea bags in my 20-ounce beer mug to get (what I think) is the same taste as before the change.

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