The warm and sticky months are well and truly upon us (it’s about time too!) and I don’t know about you, but I’m now more-often-than-not finding myself reaching for a tall glass of iced tea instead of the usual steaming cup of cha.
Admittedly, there’s not too many things we love more at FinestCoffee.co.uk than a wonderful hot tea, but when the sun is belting down and you’re feeling hot and bothered, that cool sensation of ice-cold liquid hitting the back of your throat is almost unbeatable.
Of course, many of you will head straight to the beverage isle in the supermarket and choose a cold drink from the wide variety of sugar and chemical-packed soft-drinks which fill our stores, but we’re here to tell you there’s no need to go down the incredibly unhealthy route just to get rehydrated.
When made properly, iced teas are not only incredibly refreshing, cooling and delicious, they’re also very good for you.
There are literally thousands of different variations you can try, as you can choose your preferred tea and create the perfect concoction specifically for your taste. However, in order to make your beverage perfect, it’s important to remember the following points.
1. Use fresh tea leaves
For that light, fragrant and full-flavoured iced tea it’s essential to use fresh, unprocessed loose tea leaves. As with everything else, tea loses its vital flavour compounds over time, and if your tea isn’t being stored in an air-tight container it’s going to oxidise. Once that happens you’ll be left with a disappointing tea.
2. Quality also matters
As well as it being important to use fresh tea leaves, you should also remember that the higher quality the tea leaves, the better the taste. Sounds obvious right? But so many people still buy their tea based on price alone, which guarantees an inferior cup.
3. Try to use spring or filtered water
It might seem like nit-picking and being too anal, but we are talking about how to make the perfect iced tea here!
Mineral water contains too many minerals which cloud the delicate flavours of the tea, and tap water just contains too many heavy metals and fluoride (in some areas) which you simply shouldn’t be consuming and which certainly won’t make for a great iced tea!
Using spring or filtered water will avoid these issues.
4. Cold brew. Don’t boil then wait to cool
Despite many a great-tasting iced tea being boiled then left to cool in the fridge overnight, cold-brewing your loose tea leaves thus avoiding heat is a great way of extracting all the wonderful flavours, whilst not damaging or destroying any of the flavour compounds, vitamins or minerals during the heating process.
Leave it to brew in a closed container in the fridge overnight in cold water and drain the next day before serving. This time frames is ideal for green and herbal teas, but for black teas and darker oolongs, the brewing process doesn’t need to be this long as to avoid over-steeping.
5. Add a dash of honey
No matter your choice of tea or fruity accompaniment, your iced tea can almost always be improved with a drop of honey or two. Use raw, natural honey if possible to ensure maximum nutrient and enzyme activity, and start with just a tea spoon and add according to taste.