June marks the official beginning of Summer – that wonderful season of time in the sun, long days, a book in your hand and a tall glass of iced tea nearby. Just as January is National Hot Tea Month, the month of June is dedicated to Iced Tea and June 10th is Iced Tea Day. It’s certainly come a long way from the hot summer of the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904 when people went in search of cold beverages. One enterprising merchant added iced to the steeped loose leaf black tea he had and brought instant refreshment to the crowds.
Iced Tea is simple to prepare and a healthful alternative to soda and sugary drinks. It needs just a few teaspoons of loose leaf tea, water and a quick 5 minutes to steep. Stay away from the powdery mixes widely available today in the supermarket. They are usually loaded with sugar and defeat the healthy benefits of tea.
Although tea is often thought of as a warm, comforting cold-weather beverage, it can be enjoyed iced throughout the summer. Down South, the ever-present Sweet Tea (usually Peach) is the beverage of choice and served wherever you go. We’ve learned a thing or two about Iced Tea and so we offer you a guide on how to make the best iced teas and the different ways you can serve them. It doesn’t have to be Flavored Tea – it works just as well with Oolong or Peppermint. Modify and experiment with the tips and recipes we provide – you can’t go wrong with these simple but delicious blends.
How to Steep Iced Tea
Although adding a spoon of powdery instant tea mix into a glass is easy, remember it is mostly sugar and artificial ingredients. Opt instead for loose leaf tea. Steep your favorite tea just as you would make it hot. Remember, you can ice them all – black tea, green tea, matcha, jasmine tea, herbal tea, even English Breakfast. You can find plenty of options that are both Organic and Fair Trade certified.
Start by boiling water. Measure and spoon the loose-leaf tea into a mug, teapot or pitcher and add the boiled water. Cover and steep for the recommended time. This is usually 5 minutes for Black Tea and 2 – 3 for Green Tea. Just follow the label directions. If you are preparing Iced Tea in advance, just chill in the refrigerator. If you need to serve it immediately, fill a glass with ice and pour the hot tea over the ice.
We’ve put together a list of our 10 most popular tea-drinking tips for the summer:
- First, drink your favorite tea iced. There is no need to change from Darjeeling to Peach in the summer. Any tea can be iced. Just cool down your cup of regular tea, be it Nilgiri or Ti Kwan Yin Oolong.
- Add fruit to your Iced Tea. We recommend sliced strawberries, peach, orange and lemon but berries or melon and even grapes work just as well. They taste fabulous and look appealing. Add this to your summer picnic table.
- A shot of seltzer in your glass of Iced Tea instantly changes it to a cocktail.
- Fill half the glass with Iced Tea and top if off with Lemonade. A party pleaser and children love it.
- Go global and serve iced Moroccan Mint – the most popular green tea blend in the world. You can use our Moroccan Mint tea or make your own. Steep Green tea and chill it. Fill a glass with fresh mint and pour iced Green tea over it. Delicious and healthy.
- For something more decadent, try Iced Chai. Forget the very sugary, watery chai lattes served at many coffee shops. Make your own creamy Chai, chill it and then top with a scoop of Ice Cream or Whipped Cream. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy the compliments as they roll in.
- Make Iced Tea Punch or Sangria with Tea, Fruit Juice, Wine and your favorite sliced fruits.
- Store your Iced Tea in a glass container rather than plastic or metal. The latter can absorb flavors and change the taste of the Tea.
- Start with loose leaf tea rather than store-bought teabags or a mix or concentrate.
- Finally, don’t leave Iced Tea out at room temperature for too long. Put it on ice!
Mango Orange Sparkling Iced Tea Recipe
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup water, boiling
2 heaped tsp. Tango Squeeze Black Tea
1 1/2 cups sparkling water, chilled
1/2 of orange, thinly sliced
To make simple syrup: In a small saucepan, bring the orange juice sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar has fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes.
To make tea: Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Put the tea leaves in an infuser basket, pour boiling water over the tea leaves and steep for 5 minutes. Remove the leaves and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Pour the tea and simple syrup into a small glass pitcher and stir well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve: Pour chilled sparkling water into the pitcher, add the orange slices. Pour tea into 2 ice-filled glasses. Garnish with orange slices. Refresh yourself!
Yields: 2 servings
Green Tea Lemonade
Steep 3 - 4 teaspoons Green tea using a disposable filter or infuser basket in 1 cup boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove the tea leaves and add 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolve.
Pour into a small glass pitcher. Add 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice and 3/4 cup cold water to the green tea mixture. Stir to combine. Add additional sugar to taste.
Pour into 2 ice-filled glasses. Garnish with lemon slices and mint leaves.
Yields: 2 servings