With summer heat in full swing, it’s important to stay cool and hydrated. Although water is always a good choice, we know it can be boring. Let’s face it, sometimes we need a little flavour. Pops and juices taste great but are full of sugar. Refreshing iced tea to the rescue!
Benefits of drinking tea
Aside from having zero calories, studies show drinking tea helps reduce your risk of heart attack, helps with weight loss, protects your bones and teeth, and even boosts the immune system. So drink up! Here are our six do’s and don’t when it comes to making the best iced tea.
#1 Choose teas that are suitable
You can pretty much ice any type of tea you want, but whether or not it will be refreshing is another story.
We typically like our herbal fruity teas and our aroma filled green teas best.
Depending on the tea, different white’s and even Oolongs can also make a refreshing iced tea. Although some people will ice their black teas, it’s not our ideal candidate when we’re looking for a cool summery flavor- we save these teas for winter.
#2 Use fresh loose-leaf tea
Fresh tea is key. Go to places that are known for their tea and have a high turnover, this will help ensure the tea is new and fresh. There are many great places you can go and probably some in your area you didn’t know about. Loose-leaf tea is better to use than pre-packaged tea bags.
Tea leaves need room to expand for full flavor extraction; tea bags prevent this from happening.
#3 Use enough tea
The tea to water ratio is crucial for a great tasting iced tea. In this case, you want more tea and less water.
Brew a concentrate to prevent the tea from becoming watery when it’s poured over ice.
You’ll want to put 2-3 scoops of the perfect teaspoon per cup of water with teas that have larger leaves such as white teas, and for more dense teas you’ll want to put in 1 ½ teaspoons. With green, white, and Oolong teas you don’t to add too much tea or it’ll become bitter and astringent.
#4 Don’t use boiling water
Steeping at the right temperature is essential for making the best iced tea. When using lighter teas such as white, Oolong, and green teas, you’ll want the temperature to be between 80-84° Celsius, whereas for black, herbal and pu’erh teas you’ll want to use 90-100° Celsius water. Using water that’s too hot for your tea will create bitterness.
#5 Don’t steep your tea too long
Different teas require different steep times. For black and oolong teas you’ll want to steep for 3-5 minutes, for green and lighter teas you’ll want to steep for 2-4 minutes, and herbal teas 5-7 minutes. Set a timer to avoid over-steeping and creating a bitter tasting tea. With herbal teas, it’s not as big of a risk if you steep them for longer as they have fewer tannins.
Oolong and most green teas are also great for re-steeping 2-3 more times.
#6 Don’t use distilled water
Tea experts will tell you how your source of water is critical for making tea. Spring water or filtered tap water are best for making tea. Mineral-free and distilled water tend to produce a dull and flat tasting tea, while mineral water contains too many minerals that can alter the taste when in contact with compounds in the leaves.
Time to invite your friends over and impress them with the best iced tea!
Up next: How to make loose-leaf tea