Awhile ago I tried a bunch of teas served cold just to see how they’d do. The results were less than predictable and rather uneven – ranging from “ugh, what is that?” to “wow, where have you been all my life?” I wanted to summarize of few here in case you want to run your own taste test.

A couple of notes before starting: 1) I don’t add ice to tea, since that would require the tea to be steeped stronger than usual to balance out the dilution when the ice melts; instead, I let the hot tea sit on the counter and come to about room temperature, then put it in the refrigerator for a few hours or even overnight. 2) Cloudiness in tea is merely a matter of aesthetics and generally does not affect taste.

7 chilled teas that you might want to try (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

7 chilled teas that you might want to try (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

1 Japanese Sencha Kyoto Cherry

High-quality green tea with sweet cherry, rose petals, and morning rose flavor. Fresh and smooth with reasonable depth and body. The cherry flavoring and subtle rose hints give the tea a wonderful exotic character.The chilled version was refreshing, with the cherry taste maintained, and good as is but better with sweetener.

2 Monk’s Blend

An incredible cup that has the sweetness of pomegranate and the exotic scent of vanilla. Fruity notes of grenadine and caramel create a unique, heavenly flavor.Black tea, calendula petals, and natural flavors are a great combo. The chilled version had a wonderful fruity flavor permeating the liquid. You may want a bit of sweetener, but I liked it as is. This is a tea that gets natural sweetness from grenadine and vanilla – two flavors that go well together. You can read my full experience here.

3 Mercedes Apple Spice Herbal

No true tea in this, just apple pieces, rose petals, cinnamon, cloves, and more.This herbal is caffeine free and starts with a flavor that is like the crisp character of autumn apple delicately layered with exotic cardamom, cloves, and pepper that turns to a light lingering cinnamon punch at the end. Ingredients include cinnamon, ginger, apple pieces, hibiscus and cornflower petals, stevia, cloves, pepper, cardamom, and natural flavors. The cinnamon is a bit problematic and can turn this infusion bitter. That was certainly our experience when we tried it. Sweetener is definitely advised, but you might want to steep up a little first and chill it to be sure.

4 Darjeeling

A blend of only the finest Darjeeling tea, regarded by many as the “Champagne of Teas.” This tea is light yet has a distinctively fragrant taste. The chilled version can be fine as is or can be made even better with some sweetener such as agave or honey.

5 PG Tips

A slight edge was evident as we let the liquid flow over our tongues before swallowing. However, it’s much milder in chilled form than hot, but not as mild as the Devonshire Tea. Again, we added a bit of sweetener to give a complete test. It took slightly more in this tea due to the edge. (More about PG Tips.)

6 Bohemian Raspberry

An enticing blend of Sencha style green tea with natural raspberry flavoring. Sencha is typically comprised of dark green, needle-shaped leaves that infuse a pale green to yellow liquid with a sweetish, honey-like finish and mellow grassy undertones. This version adds in sweet raspberry notes. The chilled version was fruity and naturally sweet.

7 Blackcurrant Black Tea

This is black tea with blackcurrants, cornflowers, and more.The first thing you will notice is that this tea, chilled in the glass, is cloudy. What matters, though, is the taste and, to a lesser extent depending on the sensitivity of your “sniffer,” the aroma. Here both the taste and aroma call out for sweetener. I recommend some raw sugar, some tupelo honey, or an artificial sweetener of your choice. The tea has the potential to be quite refreshing on a hot day.

That should give you a nice line-up of teas to try chilled as hot weather descends on the Northern Hemisphere.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

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