Monday, June 7, 2010

Celebrating Summer with Iced Tea

June is National Iced Tea Month.  Even though the official start of summer isn't for a couple more weeks, I always thought anything after Memorial Day is summer in my mind.  I grew up in south Florida and it felt like summer in April.  Growing up, we always had a pitcher of iced tea in our refrigerator and since my parents were "Yankees", it was never sweetened.   I hadn't heard of sweetened iced tea until I moved to the South after graduating from college.  I now like my iced beverage somewhere in between "Yankee" and "Southern" style most of the time.  If you are interested, I share my story in Tea with a Twist about my first experience with "sweet tea."

I LOVE iced tea and find it really refreshing in the summer. It is good all on its own, but it is also good to mix with fresh fruits too!  Good iced tea made from loose leaf tea is easy to make.  In The World in Your Teacup's United States chapter, I share how iced tea became popularized.  To my knowledge, the U.S. is the only country that drinks iced tea on a regular basis.  In fact, most of the tea Americans drink is iced-about 85%.  I guess, the rest of the world doesn't know what they are missing out on!

The recipe below for iced tea is in both Tea with a Twist and The World in Your Teacup.  I also share many variations on iced tea in Tea with a Twist. such as Tea Sangria and my mom's Beach Tea. 

To brew one gallon of gourmet iced tea with loose leaf tea

1. Use spring water or fresh, cold water from the tap. Do not reuse water you have already boiled because the oxygen will have evaporated and this affects the taste of the tea.

2. Measure 1/3 cup tea leaves into an infuser. For teas or herbals that require a heaping teaspoon for one cup of tea like Rooibos, use 2/3 cup leaves. For this large quantity, use a large infuser so the leaves have room to expand and steep properly. You can also put the leaves directly in the teapot and strain the tea when you pour it into the gallon container.

3. Heat the water until it reaches the correct temperature, generally 160 to 180 degrees for green and white tea, 190 to 200 degrees for oolong, and a full boil for black teas, herbal infusions, and fruit blends. A six-cup teapot is a good size to use. Pour the hot water over the tea leaves immediately and cover your teapot.

4. Steep the tea for the time instructed on the tea package, generally 1 to 3 minutes for green and white teas, 3 to 5 minutes for black teas and oolongs, and 5 to 10 minutes for herbal infusions and fruit blends. Over steeping can also cause the tea to taste bitter.

5. After the steeping, remove the leaves.

6. Transfer the tea to a gallon-sized pitcher and sweeten if desired. Then add enough cold tap or filtered water to make one gallon.

I am off to the World Tea Expo this week.  I am teaching a class on Tea and Chocolate Pairing and I am also a part of the Authors Circle and doing book signings.  It is exciting to visit with all my tea friends again-like one big tea party for three days!  I will be posting on my adventures in tea, new finds, and favorite products when I return.

Happy Sipping and Summer, Lisa

1 comment:

  1. Hi, thank you for your great post. I really appreciate the efforts you have put in your blog .It is interesting and helpful. Good luck with it!!!
    Loose Leaf Green Tea | Iced Tea Brewers