Tis the Season!

The season is quickly approaching for that refreshing glass of iced tea. We made a batch last night of peach oolong….yummy! But what’s the best way to go about it? In the South, sun tea is quite popular, but the FDA condemns it. I’m no scientist, so I’m not going to take sides in that debate. I’m just going to give a neutral alternative.

When you are making iced tea, the most important step is to double the amount of tea that you use, since the tea will be diluted with ice. That means two teaspoons of tea for every eight ounces. Of course if you want stronger tea, feel free to make those heaping teaspoons.

Bring your water to a boil, and steep for the usual time. When I make herbal iced tea, however, I let it steep for a great deal longer than I do when I make hot tisanes, since there’s no risk of bitterness. I let herbals steep for at least 15 minutes. I just let the leaves free float in the hot water, to infuse as much flavor as possible. Then I fill a pitcher with ice, and strain the tea into the pitcher. Voila, easy done with no specialized equipment.

If you are going to sweeten your tea, the best time is during the steeping process. Unless you are looking for southern style sweet tea, I find that about a teaspoon of sugar or honey per eight ounces makes for a refreshingly sweet but not cloying glass of iced tea.

What teas make the best iced teas? Sikkim is refreshing, particularly with a squeeze of orange or lemon. I find in general that Indian blacks take well to being iced. Citrusy greens and berried blacks also do well. And as we found last night, peach oolong is utterly delightful iced. Of course, in the end, ice what you like!

Stephanie offers up free scoops of tea advice each and every day on her blog, The Tea Scoop!

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