It's summertime and a refreshing glass of iced tea sounds like the perfect treat on a hot day. What makes a good iced tea and where can you get it? Even better, how do you make it yourself? Iced tea means something very different depending on where you get it, what form it comes in, and how you prepare it.
When you order an iced tea in a restaurant, depending on where you are in the United States you would get a chilled, unsweetened or sweetened black tea. The South is known for its sweet iced tea. These iced teas are generally made with lower grade tea, since the sweetener masks some of the natural tea taste, especially any bitterness. That being said, in this kind of beverage the quality of the tea isn't as important. Whether it’s unsweetened or sweetened, the restaurant will serve your iced tea with a lemon wedge.
You can also get bottled iced teas in grocery and convenience stores. These are called ready-to-drink, or RTD. Historically, RTD teas have been very sweet drinks like Snapple and Nestle products. However, there is a new wave in RTD teas that are unsweetened and made with better quality tea. This new trend is opening doors and allowing for diversity in flavor profiles and potential for the same level of refinement and quality that is associated with hot teas.
Aside from buying iced tea in a restaurant or a store, you can also make your own. There are a couple of ways you can brew your own tea.
The first way is to brew your tea the same way you would if it were hot tea and then pour it over ice. So, you heat the water, pour it over the leaves, and let it steep according to the brewing instructions. Then, grab a glass full of ice and pour the hot tea over the ice.
The second way is to cold brew the tea. This means that instead of using hot water, you're using cold water over a longer period of time to steep the leaves. To cold brew a tea, use about double the amount of tea leaves you would for a hot tea and pour cold water over it. Stick it in the fridge and let it infuse overnight. Cold-brewed tea is rising in popularity in part because the taste of the tea is different from when it's brewed hot. Different flavor notes come out and can help you create a more dynamic, interesting relationship with your tea.
In line with the rise in cold-brewed tea, new interesting teaware is coming out to support the trend. Tea By C spotted this beautiful brewing device by Zens Lifestyle at the World Tea Expo in June and we couldn't look away!
Put loose leaf tea in the top, fill with ice, and wait for the ice to melt and create a smooth product. Cheers!