Summer is almost here, which for most of us is the cue to break out the pitchers and tall glasses. Here in the United States, where we supposedly drink about 80 percent of our tea iced instead of hot, those pitchers are an integral part of warm weather living, and they’re sure to get a workout.
For some of us, though, this is a year-round thing. As I noted in an earlier article, my tea intake these days is exclusively iced. Perhaps it’s because I live in a warm desert climate and perhaps not, but does it mean that I’ve resorted to making the stuff – as is so often par for the course – with cheap tea bags or even resorting to bottled iced tea?
Perish the thought. Bottle iced tea is out of the question, given that even those rare ones that aren’t more sugar than tea are not very cost effective for someone who consumes such mass quantities. Cheap tea bags are out of the question simply because they produce cheap-tasting tea.
When it comes to iced tea, almost anything you like as a hot tea should translate reasonably well. For me, some things work better and, like most Americans, my primary preference is for iced black tea. Two of my absolute favorites are a Chinese black tea known as Dian Hong, or sometimes just as Yunnan, for the region in China that produces it. The other is Assam black tea, a term that covers a wide range of extremes from downright lousy to something like an elixir of the gods. Obviously I prefer the latter ones and, as always, I caution you to choose your Assam tea wisely.
As much as I like black tea, I find that I can’t go long without something to offset it. That something is most often green tea, though I’m not averse to some lighter varieties of oolong occasionally. In the green realm, I’ve found that Chinese green tea seems to work better for me. I’m not averse to Japanese green tea in iced form now and then, but I find that they tend to be a bit overbearing.
While I’m not a fan of flavored teas, I’ll touch on this topic before signing off, as there are a few that aren’t so bad in iced form. My least favorite types of flavored teas (or tisanes, for that matter) are any that have a smoky or tart fruity flavor. Fruity flavors such as mango and passion fruit and particularly peach seem to work quite well, especially when they’re overlaid on a base of good quality black tea and served chilled.
In closing, I’d encourage you not to skimp on the quality of your iced tea any more so than you would with your hot tea and I’ll leave you with a slight paraphrase of the motto for my own tea site, “life’s short, drink good iced tea.”
© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.