Iced tea weather is upon us, but for some folks that ice poses a problem: dilution. As ice cubes melt in your glass on a hot day they can water down your tea, weakening it to the point where it’s barely more than water. That can cause many tea drinkers to say “Tea, please…and hold the ice!” But there are solutions.

Ice cubes in your tea? The choice is yours. (From Yahoo! Images)

Ice cubes in your tea? The choice is yours. (From Yahoo! Images)

Several helpful people online have pointed out on numerous occasions their little secret to enjoying an iced tea without that dilution factor. They make ice cubes from some of the tea. Clever! And one of those things that as soon as you hear or read it you say, “Of course!” It seems so obvious. And so easy to do. Just steep up the tea, fill your cube trays, and pop them in the freezer (some folks advise letting the tea cool to room temperature first – your choice here). Then, when they’re nice and frozen, steep up more of the same tea (or if you want to get a bit funky, use a different tea and mix things up a bit), and add the tea-flavored ice cubes in. They will melt and blend in with the other tea.

Those of us who avoid iced tea at all costs (and even chilled tea) will find another meaning in this article’s title: we stick to our hot tea no matter what the season (just as there are those who stick with their iced tea even in the most frigid of weather). There is a real difference in the tea’s flavor when the temperature of the liquid changes. Even a small drop from piping hot will alter things. Actually, for me a slightly cooled tea is best since it will be able to sit on my tongue a little so I can more fully appreciate the various flavors. Tea is not a beverage that should be swilled by those who want to experience those flavors and their attendant aromas. Chugging a bottled tea that has been chilled or a tall glass of iced tea will certainly quench your thirst but have little real tea flavor in it.

Thus, this time of year I and many others say, “Tea, please…and hold the ice!”

Whether you stick with hot tea or go for that iced tea (with those tea-flavored cubes of ice), enjoy the flavors and have a great Summer!

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

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