Cloudy tea is on people’s minds. A lot of fuss is made about whether your iced tea is cloudy or not. Not surprising. Visual appeal is a big part of a sighted person’s enjoyment of food. For people like me who are very visually oriented, that appeal is even more important. But does it really matter where your sensory appreciation really counts? That is, does it make a difference in taste? Let’s find out.
Normally, I don’t tend to drink tea cold much anymore, cloudy or not. Just as I have veered away from drinking colas, so I’ve also gone almost exclusively to hot tea, even in the warmest weather. However, people ask about how a tea I have reviewed hot will taste when it is cold, so I select some and try them. The results have been intriguing and not quite as I would have predicted. Cloudiness is just one of the surprises.
How a few teas rank on a cloudiness scale of 1 (very cloudy, almost opaque) to 10 (very clear):
2 — Devonshire Tea— Dark and cloudy in the glass. Mild both hot and cold with no bitterness and even smoother and more appealing with only the slightest sprinkling of sweetener.
3 — English Breakfast Blend No. 1 — A bit of cloudiness but still tastes good.
6 — Gunpowder — Amber color with only a slight bit of cloudiness and a mild flavor.
8 — Japanese Sencha — Fairly clear with a nice grassy yet mild flavor.
10 — Sumatra Oolong Barisan — Gorgeous in the glass and tastewise one of the worst when chilled.
It seems that the big factor here for you to have great iced tea is to start with the right tea. As obvious as that is, it still bears pointing out, considering how many people seem concerned about their iced tea being cloudy or not, a factor that doesn’t really seem to matter. Basic black is always a good place to start and where a lot of folks in the U.S. begin. When you’re ready to veer off that straight and narrow path, your next stop would be best to go with greens like Dragonwell and Sencha, then an oolong or two. Whites have overall shown to be quite uneven, some fairly good when cold and others, as the British say, “bl**dy awful.”
Set aside all this fuss about cloudiness and focus on the tea. You’ll have a better time of achieving consistent iced tea results. Keep cool and enjoy!
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