The warm season is creeping slowly upon us, and with it the beautiful days that make you just wanna lounge about under the sun. Having a pitcher of iced tea in your fridge, ready to go, is a good plan of attack. It may just become your best friend. Of course the advantage of making it yourself is that you can adjust it to your taste, sweetened or otherwise, and even add some citrus, berries, or spices. The possibilities are endless and you can go on all sorts of adventures, each more ridiculous than the next.
Starting in May, more and more customers have come to the store in search of some honest advice on the art of making good iced tea at home. Their questions always revolve around the choice of tea. And our answers are always tragically simple: you can make iced tea with any of them. All you need to do is choose one you like.
There are basically two schools of thought concerning the infusion of iced tea. The first is best if you’re in a hurry. Imagine it’s sunny out and, suddenly, you’re overtaken by the desire to have an iced tea. If you have enough ice in the fridge, you can make a concentrated hot infusion of your favorite tea and pour it in a pitcher filled with ice. It’s quick and effective, but tea made with boiling water doesn’t last as long and it tends to release some bitterness as well.
The second way is based on the principle of cold infusion. This is the method of choice in Taiwan, and it’s how we prepare the iced tea served in our store. Just add the tea leaves- a very small quantity is enough, like a spoonful per cup- in a bottle of cold water (we recommend using spring water that has less minerals, rendering the infusion more stable). After that, all you have to do is wait a few hours. This gentle process allows the leaves to release their flavours over time. It’s better to make it ahead of time and let it infuse overnight, it’s best after 24 hours. The next day, you have a good iced tea that’s ready to be drunk.
With this method, you can add fruit, maybe some fresh mint, or even some spices that will infuse with the tea. One of the best combinations is our marvellous black tea, Song Zhen, with citrus. It’s a classic taste. Cold brewed iced tea doesn’t get bitter, so you can keep it at least a week in the fridge. This is especially advantageous if you want to make it in large quantities.
For fans of more sugary drinks, I propose making a simple syrup that you can just put in your iced tea. Our Rhubarb and Vanilla Syrup– which works with whatever’s in season (rhubarb just made it to the market)- is an excellent compliment to an iced tea. It’s tested and approved! Add it to a green tea like San Hsia Bi Lo Chun or Kukicha.
Maybe you’re in the mood for a cold beverage with no caffeine? For that I propose trying our Trinidadian Sorrel. The cheerful blend of spices, mixed with hibiscus, is a real treat. Chai Latte fans? Go ahead and make your favorite chai recipe and just put it in the fridge. When you serve it, simply pour over ice in a big glass and you’re good to go. If you want a fragranced tea that’s easy to ice, Moroccan Mint or our own Lemongrass Green tea are some true thirst-quenching options.
With all these possibilities, your summer is sure to be most refreshing, I guarantee.