Your Ultimate Guide to Iced Tea
The sun is back out, the trees are all green, and the good mood is on: summer is here!
You might believe that tea, the second most popular beverage in the world, suffers during summertime. Whoever wants to drink a hot, calming beverage when it's over 30°C outside?
While there are several cultures where tea is essential during hot weather (like the Turkish), the West takes a different approach to tea in the summertime - cold tea (some people might say we are crazy, but bear with us!).
In this article, we'll discuss the origins of iced tea, why it's so amazing, and how easy it is for you to prepare and enjoy it!
What is iced tea?
You might be wondering whether we are talking about iced tea or cold brew tea. To put it simply, ice tea is well... hot brewed tea with ice. Cold brew tea is a slow and gentle process where the tea is left to infuse in the water for a certain amount of time, in the refrigerator.
We're not sure yet which one came first: iced tea or cold brews? We know that iced tea became popular in the 19th Century, with the popularisation of refrigerators and freezers. At the time, people would enjoy "Tea Punch", a popular drink for social gatherings. It was made with black or green tea leaves, white sugar, cream, and champagne - served cold, of course.
Historians used to believe that iced tea was "invented" in 1904. At a fair in St. Louis, a merchant, Richard Blechynden, had the epiphany of pouring ice over the hot tea he was serving for free. This made the tea more appealing during that hot summer day. Since the fair had many travellers coming from various corners in the world, this form of serving tea became more and more popular thanks to Richard.
Iced Tea or Cold Brew?
Because ice tea is often just hot tea with ice, we tend to have a bias towards cold brewed tea.
Cold brewing makes for a smoother and healthier drink. Tannins, an important part of the chemical composition of tea (and wine!), affect the taste of tea and its bitterness levels. This is why green tea may often have such a taste when left to brew in high temperature water for a long period of time.
Cold brewing tea is a slow process; therefore, the tannins gradually work their magic in releasing the tea's aroma. Cold brews are also healthier - tannins are essential in protecting blood cells and giving tea its medicinal properties.
You won’t have to worry too much about the hot temperature of the water, putting a timer on, or waiting for the tea to cool down so you may drink it. Cold brewing tea is definitely the win of this summer!
How to prepare Cold brew tea
It's so easy to make a cold brewed tea - you won't believe it!
- Put 6 teaspoons of loose-leaf tea in a pitcher filled with 1L of filtered water.
- Refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight.
- Strain out the tea leaves from the pitcher (use a mesh strainer, tea sachets, or a jug with a strainer)
- Serve with ice, mint, syrup, citrus, fruit, or anything your heart desires!
- Ice is not necessary since the tea will already be cold. However, you can add ice to keep it colder for longer.
- Store your tea in glass/ceramic containers. Plastic tends to stain or be toxic after some time.
- Store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Try to make a new batch every 2 days.
- You can cold brew any type of tea. However, consider the brewing times for them:
- White tea: 6 hours
- Green tea: 3-6 hours
- Pu-Erh tea: 6-12 hours
- Oolong tea: 12 hours
- Black tea: 12 hours
- Herbal tea: 12 hours