Iced Tea Basics
Iced tea is a great way to cool down whether you want a sweet treat or just a healthy, hydrating beverage. It’s also easy to doll up your iced tea with other ingredients such as fresh herbs, fruit slices, and even fruit juice or sparkling water. With so many options, you'll never get bored!
There are two main ways to brew iced tea: cold brewing and the hybrid method. Cold brewing creates a naturally sweeter tea since it lacks the tannins and polyphenols that can make tea bitter. The hybrid method is faster and is necessary for properly infusing spices. Both methods have their benefits, so it's important to choose the right one for your needs. Cold brewing is ideal for those who want a sweet, delicious, iced tea without any bitterness. The hybrid method is perfect for those who want a faster brew or if your tea includes spices. No matter which method you choose, you'll be sure to enjoy a refreshing cup of iced tea.
• Use approximately 1/4 cup of loose tea per 1/2 gallon of cold water.
• Simply mix and put in the refrigerator for 10-12 hours.
Hybrid Hot Brew
• Put a scant 1/4 cup of loose tea in a heat resistant pitcher.
• Add 2 cups hot water (check label for correct temperature) and steep using hot-brew instructions.
• After steeping, add 6 cups of cold water and let steep in refrigerator for additional 1-2 hours.
So, which to choose? It depends on the tea and also how much time you have. Cold brew iced tea will taste sweet and will have no astringency or bitterness. For some teas, like our house Iced Tea Blend, this is a great method. Other teas need a bit of hot steeping to bring more flavor out of the leaf.
- Teas with hard spices (cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, etc.) require the hybrid method to soften the spices.
- Green teas are best cold-brewed so they don't turn bitter. If you do hot brew them, however, use the water temperature and time listed on the label, don't use boiling water!
- If you plan on mixing your iced tea with other strong flavors (like juice or in cocktails), make a concentrate by doubling the amount of tea you use.
- Garnishes! Lemon is a classic, but any citrus will work. Also try thinly sliced pears or whole berries. Use unexpected herbs like basil, rosemary and thyme to keep it interesting.