Iced Tea: How to make it.
Iced tea is perfect on a hot day and is easy to make. It may be made hot, then cooled or be cold infused. The latter takes longer but cold infused tea better carries the lighter, fresher more floral flavours into your glass. This is especially important when making with green teas.
The big commercial brands tend to use cheap, prolifically growing tea from Argentina which is noted more for its colour than for its taste but once sugar and lemon has been added they hope you will not notice that detail! The real characteristic of note is that the tea should remain clear, rather than turning cloudy, once cooled.
We would recommend a light-bodied Ceylon Uva, Darjeeling or China Keemun tea made stronger than usual and then poured into a large glass jar. Being speciality loose leaf tea merchants we would always recommend large leaf grades of loose tea for the most balanced flavour, rather than tea bags. After brewing the liquor (minus leaf) is left to cool and then refrigerated over-night. To serve, a sprig of fresh mint or slices of lemon or lemon and orange or lime can be added together with ice cubes. A little sugar may be added to taste. You may also consider a sliver of fresh ginger.
Whilst having less ‘bite’ due to the very much lower level of tannins, green teas make good cold teas. We have successfully infused black and green Darjeelings and would particularly recommended the muscatel character of these teas. China greens are also worth trying for their floral characters. You are less inclined to feel the urge to add sugar when making with green tea due to the much lower caffeine content, thereby making a healthier drink.
As an alternative to hot-infused tea, you may choose cold-infuse tea. This avoids tannins infusing into the tea making it particularly refreshing. This method is well suited to green teas which can have a fruitier character when made this way. Simply place the tea in a screw-top jar with cold water and leave over night or for as long as twenty-four hours, then strain. Scented teas such as Earl Grey or Jasmine work well when cold-infused.
As for the conventional making of tea but especially for both hot and cold infused iced tea we recommend that you use filtered or spring water to best release the subtle flavour components of the tea.
Keep your infused tea in a large screw-top jar in the fridge. It will keep for several days. Do not expose to daylight during storage as algaes can form.
Iced tea can be used as the basis for a wide range of tea based mocktails to which fruit juices have been added. These can include mango and apple. And indeed if that stage of a long day has been reached a little white rum or vodka can make an excellent tea based cocktail!