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TIP OF THE DAY: B.Y.O.I.T. (Brew Your Own Iced Tea)

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It’s iced tea season; brew a batch.
Photo courtesy TeaForte.com.

 

As the weather grows warmer, our thoughts turn to iced tea.

Even though fine brewed tea continues to grow in popularity—and tea is the second most-consumed beverage in the world, after water—about 80% of the tea sold in the U.S. is bottled tea, generally consumed cold.

That’s an expensive way to consume tea, not to mention millions of bottles going into the landfill.

Save money and save the planet by brewing your own iced tea. Keep a pitcher of iced tea in the fridge as a calorie-free beverage. In fact, keep two pitchers with two different types of tea—Earl Grey and Assam teas, peach tea and passionfruit tea, or any black and green teas.

How To Brew Iced Tea

You need to make iced tea stronger than regular tea to compensate for dilution from ice. Even if you don’t use ice, the coldness of refrigerated tea can suppress some flavor components; so stronger is better.

 
Another tip: The better the tea quality, the more enjoyable the tea. Major supermarket brands don’t have the best flavor, and many people add sugar to make the drink taste better. Try making iced tea from the best tea, and see if you can enjoy it without sweetener. Eliminating sweetener allows you to taste the complexity of fine tea.

1. To brew a quart of iced tea, place 4 to 5 tea bags or teaspoons of loose tea into a pitcher or clean quart bottle (we reuse glass quart juice bottles for this purpose).
2. Boil 2 cups of cold water (tap water or filtered). Pour the boiling water into the pitcher and steep for 5 minutes.
3. Remove tea bags or strain the loose tea. Since this amount of loose tea is generally too much for a tea ball, strain the tea into another pitcher or receptacle.
4. Add 2 more cups of cold water.
5. Return to the refrigerator to chill. Serve over ice.

While a glass of quality brewed tea tastes great as is, you can garnish with citrus or mint.

More Iced Tea Tips

1. Superfine sugar dissolves more easily in cold liquids than regular table sugar. You can purchase superfine sugar, or pulverize your table sugar in a spice grinder.

2. Think beyond the sugar and try agave nectar (also called agave syrup). It has a more elegant sweetness than sugar (which can be cloying), and mixes easily into cold beverages. While agave nectar contains virtually the same amount of calories as other liquid sweeteners like honey and maple syrup, it is far, far lower on the glycemic index.

3. Try giving up sweetener by adding fresh lime or lemon juice.

4. Plan for an iced tea party—a great way to socialize indoors or outdoors.


Iced Tea Trivia

Believe it or not, while drinking tea dates back thousands of years, iced tea didn’t appear on the scene until 1904, at the St. Louis World’s Fair. An Englishman named Richard Blechynden was trying to sell his teas as refreshment, but the weather was very hot and no one was buying.

As necessity is the mother of invention, he added ice to the tea, and the new refreshing drink was born.

  





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2 Comments »

  1. Janet said,

    April 10, 2010 @ 2:48 pm

    Cold Brewed Iced Tea works really well too. You don’t need to boil the water. I put four tea bags in a 1-quart mason jar, and fill it with water. I leave it in the fridge for an hour and the iced tea is great.

  2. admin said,

    April 16, 2010 @ 12:24 pm

    Janet,

    Thanks for this comment. We have friends who cold-brew and make sun tea, but we’ve always followed the classic technique. So you’ve inspired us to do a test: the same tea at the same time, hot-brewed, cold-brewed and sun-brewed. We’ll report back one of these weeks!

    THE NIBBLE Editors

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