Iced tea is a Southern staple, and here in Georgia we take it sweet, often with lemon, sometimes with mint, and always with a heaping dose of Southern hospitality. We enjoy this warm weather cooler after working in the yard or spending a day at the local swimming hole. And with today's diverse selection of teas and flavored syrups, iced tea can have as many variations as coffee! Here are a few ways you can enjoy a glass this summer.
Traditional iced tea starts with a high-quality black tea, often an orange pekoe. Here is a typical recipe:
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat. Sprinkle a pinch of baking soda into the water (optional but makes the tea crystal clear). Add 4 family size (or 12 regular size) tea bags and steep for 5 minutes. Pour into a 1-gallon pitcher.
Instead of dusty old tea bags, why not try our Iced Tea Blend
loose leaf tea?
Make a simple syrup by bringing equal parts water and sugar to a boil and stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Sweeten the tea base to taste.
Top off the pitcher with water and refrigerate until very cold. Serve over ice with remaining simple syrup on the side for those who like a sweeter tea. Include lemon slices or wedges and fresh mint sprigs.
With hot summer days, who wants to steam up the kitchen boiling water? Grab a gallon pitcher, fill it with fresh cool water, and add your tea bags straight to the pitcher (or loose leaf tea). Cover with plastic wrap and find a sunny spot to let it sit for 3-5 hours. Remove the tea bags (or strain out the loose leaf tea), sweeten to taste, and place it in the refrigerator until cold. Serve over ice with desired add-ins.
Cold Brewed Tea
If you have more time, why not try a cold brewed tea? This method produces a lighter tea with fewer tannins and less bitterness. It is best made with black, green, white, or oolong varieties. Herbal teas are not suggested for this method. Measure out 4-8 teaspoons of loose leaf tea and rinse it to remove any dust or impurities. Or, grab a couple of high-quality tea bags. Add the tea to a quart size jar, fill with cool water, cover and place in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours. Strain out the tea or remove the tea bags and sweeten to taste. Make sure to try it first as cold brew teas often have a sweeter flavor to start. Add your lemon or mint as desired.
Flavored and Herbal Teas
Today, tea comes in a myriad of flavors. Herbal teas and tisanes add to the considerable choice tea drinkers now have. How about exploring the iced version of your favorite hot cuppa? Iced chai lattes are a great cooling wake me up as are iced Earl Grey lattes. Our fruity Strawberry Peach
tea is the ultimate in refreshment. Try it while sitting on the porch chatting with a friend. Or replace your root beer soda with a tall glass of our Sassafras
tea over ice.
In addition to flavored and herbal teas, there is no limit to the add-ins for your iced teas. Fruits like strawberries, raspberries, peaches, and watermelon add a simple level of flavor. When it comes to herbs, don't stop with mint. Try lavender, thyme, and basil for a unique pop of flavor. One of our favorite combinations is strawberry and basil.
To add flavor while sweetening your tea, try flavored syrups. You can get almost any flavor from fruits to herbs to spices. Check out our variety of syrups and flavorings
. Feeling adventurous? Make your own flavored syrup by adding a few sprigs of your favorite herb or slices of fruit to your simple syrup recipe.
If you're a golfer, you've probably heard of Arnold Palmer and his eponymous summer cooler. This tea variation is a half and half mix of iced tea (sweet or unsweet) and lemonade. Serve this when you're watching the US Open in Savannah.
Iced Tea Around The World
Worldwide, iced tea has grown in popularity. In Thailand, their strong black tea is iced and sweetened with sugar and condensed milk. When visiting the beach areas in Brazil, look for cha mate which is on ice, sweetened, and flavored with lime. Or how about Taiwan where they add sugar, milk or fruit, and large tapioca pearls, also called boba, to their iced tea? Don't knock it until you've tried it!
As you can see, anything goes when it comes to iced tea. From your tea to your sweeteners to your garnishing, have fun with it! And if a summertime gathering is on the horizon, a welcome addition is an iced tea bar. With a few brewed and iced options and a collection of syrups, fruits, and herbs, this interactive option will keep your guests occupied making their own concoctions. Place your tea (or coffee) order online
today. Let us know in the comments how you enjoy your iced tea!