An Englishman’s Guide to Perfect Iced Tea

The following post is from James of Google+ Tutorials:

cold brewed iced tea
source: James Brooks

The English are renowned for their love of tea and, thereforeas an Englishman, I have a reputation to uphold.

In the past, some have accused me of being somewhat of a tea snob; you see, my love for tea really started when I first had a traditional Chinese “Dim Sum”.

Dim Sum could really be described as a Chinese meal, with “Dim Sum” in Chinese meaning “to touch the heart”. Dim Sum is the idea of having tea, and generally this is served with various steamed dumplings etc. It is still to this day my favourite type of meal, and whenever I am in London you will generally find me at one of a handful of Chinese restaurants that serve Dim Sum throughout the day!

So, back to the tea itself…well, Dim Sum was my first real taste of the various loose leaf teas that are available. Since then I have pretty much been referred to as a tea snob! I love loose leaf tea; can’t get enough of it.

It’s been a cold, wet and windy winter where I live in the southwest coast of England, and suddenly we seem to have hit spring with a vengeance! Most days recently the sun has been shining, there has not been a cloud in the sky, and I have been really in need of a cool iced tea.

Last summer I spent a lot of time researching and experimenting with iced tea (as any normal person does, of course!). It was a great summer filled with lots of tasty, cooling, refreshing, and  healthy drinks. Oh yes, and there were a few disasters, but let’s not talk about those. I made the mistakes so that you don’t have to, and, truthfully, it’s hard to mess up.

Iced tea is a great cold drink to have around for the family and is much healthier on so many levels than soda (even if you sweeten it with sugar). Part of the fun of making iced tea at home is experimenting and finding some combinations that work for you so I am not going to give you too many instructions, but here are some of my top tips for making iced tea at home:

1. Cold Brew, Cold Brew, Cold Brew

People, if there is one thing to take away from this article it is that cold brewing iced tea will produce the best! It will be less bitter, clearer, and more flavourful. Plus it is really easy to do.

Simply find a nice large jug — any will do — and put a good couple of tablespoons of your favourite loose leaf tea leaves in there.

The tea need not be expensive! My favourite is to use loose leaf green jasmine tea from my local Chinese supermarket. It’s so cheap and so good, and the flowery goodness really sweetens the tea.

Fill the jug with water and leave in the fridge overnight. Then simply strain the whole lot through a sieve into another jug and you have your basic iced tea.

However for maximum awesomeness you now need to embellish:

2. Add Some Beautiful Fruit

Oh…my…goodness. Adding fruit makes iced tea a beautiful thing and adds a lovely level of sweetness. I don’t want to tell you what to do too much, as I really want you to experiment, but what I would say is that pretty much any juice — freshly squeezed or store bought — is lovely. One of my favourite accompaniments to cold brewed iced tea is puree’d raspberries! So delicious.

3. And Sweeten

This is very much a matter of taste! Some people will not need sweetener at all, and for the rest of us soda addicts, some sweetness is a beautiful thing. You can certainly use your favourite sweetener, but I prefer to use honey.

With all of that out of the way, here are two of my favourite iced tea recipes for you to try:

Green Iced Tea with Jasmine, Apple & Honey

Pictured above.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Litre of cold brewed green jasmine tea
  • 500ml Apple juice
  • honey, to taste

Directions:

Cold brew your green jasmine tea.

For these teas, I picked up some fairly inexpensive loose leaf green and jasmine tea from my local Chinese supermarket (Wing Yip). This is the sort of green tea that you will get served at most Chinese restaurants. I then followed my process for cold brewing iced tea. Make sure that your tea has infused overnight and that you have strained the tea before moving onto the next step.

Add 500ml of apple juice.

The quantity is flexible, so please feel free to use quantities that work best for you. For me, about 1/3 apple juice is just perfect! Obviously, if you have a juicer and can make fresh apple juice, that is ideal and will make your iced tea even tastier! Otherwise, a nice non-concentrate cloudy apple juice like the one I use will certainly be perfect!

Add a tablespoon or so of honey and stir in thoroughly.

I have used honey here instead of sugar. My main reason for this is that honey is a lot more natural than refined sugar and has a lot more health benefits. It’s quite easy to find really lovely quality local honey in most areas and I highly recommend using something like that if you can get hold of it!  As for quantity, this can be adjusted based on individual taste.

Pour and enjoy!

Green Iced Tea with Jasmine and Raspberry

cold brewed iced tea
source: James Brooks

Ingredients:

  • 1 Litre cold brewed green jasmine tea
  • 1 small punnet of raspberries
  • sugar/honey to taste

Directions:

Cold brew your green jasmine tea overnight and then strain.

Puree your raspberries. To do this, put the raspberries through the blender and then strain the puree through a sieve to get rid of the pips.

Combine the tea and the raspberry puree in a jug/pitcher.

Add sugar/honey to taste and enjoy!

I tend to leave the jug of iced tea in the fridge unsweetened as people in the house have different tastes. Then the drill is simply pour yourself a glass,add sugar or honey to taste and enjoy a cool and tasty iced tea!

Are you a tea drinker? What’s your favourite way to make iced tea?

James Brooks is a professional blogger, web designer and social media consultant based on the South West coast of England. As well as being a co-founder of GPlusTuts, a blog about Google+, James also enjoys blogging about technology, food and tea!
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