The temperaturesÂ here in Phoenix are still pleasant, but the inevitable summer heat is just right around the corner. Many of my tea-loving customers have already Â switched to the cooler version of tea and drink it iced!
The creation ofÂ iced teaÂ had its beginning at the World Fair in St. Louis, MO Â in 1904 where trade exhibitors from around the world clebrated the 101stÂ anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. Richard Blechynden, one of those exhibitors Â was anÂ Englishman who owned a tea plantation in Sri Lanka.Â He wanted to give away free hot tea samples to promote his product.Â Unfortunate for him, a heat wave rolled in and nobody wanted his hot tea, but was lookingÂ for something more refreshing.Â Since ice was another featured item at the fair, Blechyndon took the opportunity and poured his tea over bitsÂ of ice and served the “new” drink to the thirsty visitors.Â Iced tea gained in popularity and today about 80% of the tea consumed in the U.S. is iced tea.
Making iced teaÂ from loose tea leaves is simpler than ever and may even have higher levels of antioxidants than bottled teas (a recent UCLA study found â€œno measurable catechins (an antioxidant) content at allâ€ in two popular mass market bottled iced teas).Â Â In addition, when you make the tea you control the sweetness and the freshness.
To make ice tea from loose tea, all you need is a pitcher, tea filters (â€œt-sacâ€),Â Â and of course a good tea.Â Â Â There are two methods to make iced tea: the hot method and the cold method.Â In both recipes youâ€™ll need 1 teaspoon (about 2 grams) of loose tea for every 6 ounces of water.Â To make 2 quarts you will need just over 10 teaspoons of tea.
Cold brewing methodâ€“ using room temperature water in a pitcher or similar container, add the right amount of your selected tea.Â Fill the container with water and allow to steep 2-8 hours (overnight works fine).Â Cold brewing is easy and makes for a very nice smooth taste
Hot Brewing method â€“ bring water to the temperature appropriate for the tea you have selected (boiling is fine for black and Rooibos but allow the water to cool 1 minute for green tea brews).Â Steep as appropriate for the respective tea varietal.Â Remove the leaves promptly and allow to cool and serve over ice.
Many teas and herbals are great iced. Nilgiri from India is one of the best iced black teas if you are a purist and Rooibos (caffeine free) is rich in minerals and therefore a great way to replenish electrolytes. Rooibos is also very low in tannin which gives it a smooth flavor that especially children like. To add a little variety, try some of our special summer flavors like â€œLemon SoufflÃ©, Banana Split, or Razzleberry!
Regardless which tea, tools and technique you choose, preparing your own iced tea has never been easier.Â More and more studies indicate that tea is a healthy drink and iced tea is a great way to enjoy tea.