June is here, which means summer is around the corner, and it’s National Iced Tea Month! Iced tea is the perfect beverage to cool down with during those warm summer days. Easy to make and enjoyable in nearly any setting, iced tea is the ideal summer drink.
If you decide to brew a batch of iced tea at home, here are some tips to help you make the perfect pitcher of iced tea.
While most people focus on the quality of the tea, the water is a big part of the process, too. Both the type and temperature of the water will affect the outcome of your tea. Use filtered water with your tea, and with the ice you will use because it makes a difference.
As far as temperature goes, just under boiling is good (about 190-195 degrees Fahrenheit). Boiling water removes some of the chemical flavors of tap water, but it also removes many important elements and nutrients. Also, when heating up water, it is best to do it on the stove versus the microwave. The stove ensures that temperature is even and consistent throughout.
Be sure that proportions are even. A good rule of thumb is one level teaspoon of loose leaf tea to every eight ounces of cold filtered water. For tea bags, one bag is proportional to 16 ounces of liquid. To avoid diluting your tea when pouring over ice, make ice cubes out of the actual tea, or with juice for a nice, subtle flavor.
Again, temperature is important. Let your tea sit for at least 45 minutes at room temperature before chilling it. Abrupt temperature changes can alter the delicate flavors.
Basics For Iced Teas
A higher price tag does not necessarily mean a higher quality tea. These high-end specialty teas are best enjoyed hot, as the temperature accentuates the flavor nuances. If you use these for iced tea, you may be missing the true flavors. Stick with the basic teas for better, stronger flavors.
Nix Sun-Brewed Teas
As appealing as they may sound, sun-brewed teas are not ideal. Because the sun doesn’t allow enough heat for full infusion, you won’t get the full flavor of the tea. The tea will appear dark, but the flavor will be minimal, possibly causing you to add lots of sugar and lemon to bring it out. If your tea is brewed properly, it will have a clear, consistent color and lots of flavor. Sun-brewing can also introduce a whole host of unnecessary bacteria.
While tea bags filled with “dust” are more convenient, loose leaf “broken” tea delivers the most robust flavors. Broken tea is handpicked and hand processed directly from the grower and provides more surface area for better flavor.
What is your favorite iced tea to brew? Have any other iced tea tips or tricks to share? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can find us on Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest, too!
Don’t have time to brew your own? Stop by The Brick Your Neighborhood Deli to check out our Iced Tea selection and treat yourself to one of our yummy sandwiches or fresh salads! Don’t forget, we offer online ordering to help you save some time.