We are used to drinking hot tea, no matter what variety it is. However, iced tea is gaining more and more ground because, let’s face it, who doesn’t want to drink something refreshing on a hot summer day?
The stimulating and, at the same time, relaxing properties of tea, two benefits that must be thanked for its content of caffeine and L-theanine, make it the perfect drink to drink both hot and cold at any time of the year and at any time!
The history of iced tea
As always when we talk about the history of tea, we rely on popular wisdom. While many stories cannot be substantiated, we believe there is some truth to all of them.
In the case of the birth of iced tea, legend has it that it was born in the United States by the hand of a man named Richard Blechynden.
Mr. Blechynden had a stall selling tea at the 1904 World’s Fair in Saint Louis. However, it was so hot that nobody bought a cup of tea. Faced with the impossibility of selling, an idea occurred to him: what would happen if instead of selling a hot infusion, he sold it cold?
Thus, he added ice to the tea and offered it to visitors. The drink was so successful that it crossed borders and became fashionable. For this reason, in the United States it is very common to drink an iced tea.
With what teas to prepare iced tea?
It is believed that the first iced tea that was prepared was made with black tea. However, this theory is not 100% proven. Nowadays, any variety of tea is used to prepare this delicious cold infusion.
The two most commonly used flavors are black tea and green tea due to their refreshing taste. However, we can use the one we like the most: oolong, yellow tea, white tea … If we want to reduce caffeine consumption for some reason, due to high blood pressure or pregnancy for example, we can even prepare an iced tea with rooibos.
How to make the best iced tea
There are three ways to prepare iced tea: the traditional one, incorporating ice, the one that uses the refrigerator to cool the infusion, and the cold infusion. Each one has its tricks to achieve the best flavor. Let’s see how to prepare iced tea with each of the options.
Brew iced tea with ice
Following the invention of Mr. Blechynden, we start with the simplest and fastest preparation. In this case, it would be necessary to consider preparing a very strong tea, since it will be diluted when incorporating the ice.
Of course, the preparation will vary if we use bags or loose tea. In the event that we choose tea bags, as a general rule it is recommended to use 6 tea bags for every 1.5 liters of water.
If we prefer the leaves, we usually calculate 2 grams of black tea per cup and between 2 and 4 grams of green tea per cup. When incorporating ice, the flavor tends to blur a bit, so it is better to be generous with the quantities.
The procedure is very simple: we heat the water until it reaches the right temperature for the type of tea we intend to infuse. Once the temperature is reached, let the tea rest for the time indicated for the variety. Strain the tea or remove the bags. Let the temperature drop for 5 minutes before adding the ice. The amount must be abundant so that the infusion becomes iced tea.
Iced tea without ice
If we prefer not to add ice to avoid diluting the flavor (and also use less amount of tea in the preparation), this is the ideal option. We bring the water to the right temperature for the type of tea chosen and infuse the tea leaves or bags. Let stand a few minutes, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and strain or remove the bags.
We leave the infusion outdoors for a few minutes to lower the temperature even more. Once it is warm, we place it in the fridge (or in the refrigerator) for at least an hour. Ready! Of course, if you wish, you can also add ice when serving.
We may not have heard of cold infusion, but it is an excellent option for summer! However, it takes much longer.
This way of preparing tea comes from Japan and is very old. It is a totally different experience, which modifies both the flavor of the infusions and their benefits.
To infuse cold, we must forget to heat the water and prepare our patience because the rest can be a whole night or even longer!
In this case, we must multiply the amount of tea to use. The amounts usually recommended are 4 bags or 4 tablespoons of tea per liter of water. Of course, if we prefer a more intense tea, we can increase the quantity or if we prefer a more subtle tea, decrease it.
The water is placed in a large, open container. Then, we incorporate the tea and leave it in the open air, without lids so that the air is part of the process.
And now yes, to be patient. The maceration process should last at least 3 hours in the case of green teas, but if we want to obtain a good result, it is best to leave them for at least 8 hours. And in the case of black tea? Well, the ideal is to prepare it at dinner time and forget about the infusion until the next morning.
The longer we let the tea steep, the more concentrated the infusion will be. However, it is worth noting that cold brewing avoids the astringency of the tea and results in sweeter beverages.
Note: We can also add a little ice cream to iced tea to make it a really refreshing drink. It’s delicious!
We hope you have learned to prepare a good iced tea and that you enjoy it during these hot summer days and, why not, some winter night when the heating invites you to drink something cool.