How to brew iced tea
Whether you’re in the north or south, iced tea has big menu appeal. The beverage is economical, versatile and visually appealing for any occasion. Traditionally, iced tea is prepared using hot water. The alternative ‘cold-brew’ method produces a milder flavour because tea is brewed in cold water for a much longer period - six (green, white, oolong teas) to 12 hours (black teas). One can use any kind of tea but black teas produce a richer flavour. Tea bags, loose-leaf teas and powders are available, and herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free.
Water quality is vital. Use clean, filtered water.
Make it strong. Naturally iced tea dilutes so it’s recommended that tea is brewed at double strength before straining and pouring it over ice. How to brew iced tea is simple: two teaspoons of loose-leaf tea (or two tea bags per person) for every 150-180 ml (a small tea cup) of hot water. How long to steep iced tea is also crucial - brew for too long and you will have bitter tea. It varies from a few minutes to 15 minutes, depending on quantity and type of tea. Connoisseurs say use a large teapot to let the tea leaves expand fully.
Cool to room temperature before storing brewed iced tea in the fridge. Placing hot tea in fridge can make it go cloudy.
Store in a sealed glass container to prevent the tea from absorbing other fridge smells. Materials like plastic and metal can impart an unpleasant taste. Freshly made iced tea shouldn’t be stored for longer than a day or two.
Classic iced tea, or American-style iced tea, is typically a sweet drink, and sugar is added to the hot tea. An alternative is to sweeten tea with fruit juice or lemonade. Juices like pomegranate add a burst of colour to your tea. Hospitality research indicates that most iced tea drinkers prefer more natural flavour additions rather than syrups.
Add fresh fruit. Once the tea has cooled, add fruit. From lemons to figs, any fruit works, but some will impart more flavour than others and softer fruits will become mushy. If storing the iced tea, fruits can be added before serving. Once fruit is added, the iced tea can be enjoyed immediately or stored in the fridge.
Be bold with aromatics. The flavour options are endless from fruity, floral, sweet and savoury. Mix green tea with fruit for an exotic taste, add fresh ginger to your brew for a zesty drink and nothing is more refreshing than a hint of mint. Adding herbs like basil leaves to your brew can also be interesting.
Iced tea trends. Experiment with chai iced tea and iced matcha latte.
Handy tips: If the iced tea brew turns cloudy when poured over ice, stir in a little bit of boiling water. Add a dash of lemon juice as citrus helps to preserve natural antioxidants.