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The Iced Tea Topic 2011


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#1 weinoo

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 11:25 AM

I realize that there are a lot of different ways to make iced tea (aren't there?). And there are certainly hundreds of different teas to use to make your iced tea...that's the beauty of it, after all.

So the other day I brewed some hot tea, using loose leaf English Earl Grey tea. I simply heated the water to almost a boil, poured it over the tea leaves in a large pyrex measuring cup (using a good tsp. of tea per cup of water + 1 for the pot), set a timer for 3 minutes, stirred it a number of times, and then decanted it into a pitcher through a cheesecloth lined strainer. I waited for it to cool all the way down before putting it in the fridge.

And you know what? It is some of the best iced tea I've ever made. Crystal clear (at least on day 2), tasty and delicious.

I've made sun tea, cold brewed my tea, brewed double-strength tea and added it to cold water, yada, yada, yada. None were/are as good as this is, in my opinion.

How do you all make your iced tea? And what are your favorite teas when doing so?
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#2 heidih

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 12:26 PM

I posted my method here in my recent eGullet food blog.

#3 mbhank

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 12:43 PM

I have been using a cold brewed method lately and I find the result kind of weak. I used to use your method of boiling water and I am going to go back to it. I like the fruit blend teas for iced tea.
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#4 natasha1270

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 01:05 PM

I like the Harney & Sons Fruity Ice Tea blends (although also I'm not opposed to some Luzianne) and follow their instructions: 2 cups boiling water to 1 tea bag, long steep (15 minutes) and then fill with 6 cups cold water. If I'm just making it for my family (we drink it sweet), I also dissolve some sugar in the concentrate before adding the cold water.
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#5 Lisa Shock

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 01:14 PM

I really like Darjeeling iced.

#6 weinoo

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 01:17 PM

I like the Harney & Sons Fruity Ice Tea blends (although also I'm not opposed to some Luzianne) and follow their instructions: 2 cups boiling water to 1 tea bag, long steep (15 minutes) and then fill with 6 cups cold water. If I'm just making it for my family (we drink it sweet), I also dissolve some sugar in the concentrate before adding the cold water.

15 Minutes?! Doesn't that extract all sorts of bitter stuff. Or is it not really tea, just some fruit things?
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#7 mkayahara

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 01:25 PM

I fell in love with iced oolong on my trip to Japan last year, but it never seems to be tasty at home. In particular, there seems to be nothing I can do to make my tea clear.
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#8 pastameshugana

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 01:27 PM

When we were still in India and could buy it fresh and cheap: 5 teaspoons each darjeeling and assam black, steeped 5 minutes. Into 1 gallon of water with 1/2 cup sugar, 1tsp local honey and a dash of salt. It was the best I've ever had.
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#9 weinoo

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 02:04 PM

I fell in love with iced oolong on my trip to Japan last year, but it never seems to be tasty at home. In particular, there seems to be nothing I can do to make my tea clear.

Do you let it cool all the way down before refrigerating? I find this to be possibly the most important step.
Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
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#10 natasha1270

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 02:04 PM

15 minutes does sound long but I haven't noticed any bitterness. Their instruction even say to squeeze the bag and I sometimes do, sometimes don't. With Luzianne, I probably steep around 10 minutes and definitely don't squeeze. Also, we aren't usually drinking it right away. Maybe while we are waiting for it to chill, any bitterness/tannins mellow out? I did see somewhere that you can add a touch of baking soda to soften any bitterness/tannins but I've never experimented with it.
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#11 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 09:40 PM

I'll have to try the method you and pastameshugana favor, Mitch. I have made a wide variety of black teas with various fruits in the blend (from The Cultured Cup) and liked many of them. I'll have to dig out some of the names. The past year, however, I have been using a plain black tea bag that has some citrus flavor built in, introduced to me by a friend.

#12 weinoo

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 05:02 AM

I'll have to try the method you and pastameshugana favor, Mitch. I have made a wide variety of black teas with various fruits in the blend (from The Cultured Cup) and liked many of them. I'll have to dig out some of the names. The past year, however, I have been using a plain black tea bag that has some citrus flavor built in, introduced to me by a friend.

Richard - by built in, do you mean added or that the taste of the tea is actually citrusy?
Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"
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#13 GlorifiedRice

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 05:39 AM

Im very sad that the US FDA has banned my beloved Kirin Gogo No Kocha Royal Milk Tea from Japan
due to the milk...
Wawa Sizzli FTW!

#14 sparrowgrass

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 05:54 AM

I bought a small (4 cup) coffee maker for tea--I use about a third of a cup of Earl Grey and mix the hot tea about half and half with cold water as soon as it is done. It is still a little warm when I put it in the fridge, but it remains clear, never cloudy.
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#15 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 01:24 PM


I'll have to try the method you and pastameshugana favor, Mitch. I have made a wide variety of black teas with various fruits in the blend (from The Cultured Cup) and liked many of them. I'll have to dig out some of the names. The past year, however, I have been using a plain black tea bag that has some citrus flavor built in, introduced to me by a friend.

Richard - by built in, do you mean added or that the taste of the tea is actually citrusy?


As I recall, the box says "citrus flavor", so presumably it's added. Natural or artificial? Don't know. But it works. The citrus is way in the background. This is Tazo Shaken Black Tea that Starbucks sells by the glass, but not the bags. The bags are available on Amazon and from other sellers.

#16 baroness

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 02:24 PM

There was a tasting of iced tea candidates last year; if you haven't seen this thread, click here!

#17 heidih

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 05:15 PM

In response to the clarity issues I am posting a picture of the tea I just made. It is a cup of tap water heated in the microwave for a minute and a half. Tossed in 4 bags of Tieh Kuan Yin (a light fragrant tea) and some pineapple sage leaves. Steeped for 5 minutes. Poured into pitcher and topped off with tap water. It will not get cloudy after refrigeration. Perhaps the low temp of the steeping water is the crucial factor.

Note: I googled the name on the box of tea and it sounds much more sophisticated than what this box of 80 bags for 99 cents is, so who knows. It is light and lovely.

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#18 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 06:54 PM

Hadn't really thought of using my pineapple sage leaves for tea.....but it's a great flavor and now seems so obviously perfect for pairing with a light green or white tea. Will try it shortly.

#19 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 08:00 PM

There is some satisfaction in creating your own iced tea blend, isn't there. I'll try re-creating some variations from the past and post about it in a few days.

#20 heidih

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 12:50 PM

Jasmine tea - inexpensive $2 tin of loose leaf - made a lovely pitcher of fragrant light tea

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#21 Will

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 02:23 PM

I mostly drink my tea hot, but when I do drink iced tea, I drink it unsweetened and unblended. I do find that cold-brewing gives interesting results with some teas - especially with a lower quality tea, it can minimize bitterness / astringency and bring out the tea's positive quality. It does make me a bit nervous to drink tea that hasn't been rinsed, though.

#22 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 02 July 2011 - 09:31 PM

Today I prepared two teas cold-brewed: some of a Da Yu Ling described by Dragon Tea House as especially good for cold brewing. My first experience with it was as a hot tea, and it was a fine, tasty oolong, very reminiscent of the various Alishans I've been getting from Norbu. Cold (room temp) brewed, it was astonishingly sweet, so sweet that after a couple of sips I diluted the cup a bit with some fresh water and found it an improvement. Still, quite delicious, and now that it seems like hot weather is finally settling in for the summer, I'm going to keep this one reserved for cold brewing.

I also used some Yong De white buds from Norbu for a cold-brewed cup, and it was floral/camphorous/sweet/fruity, with a bit of added chrysanthemum blossom.

Really the only problem with these cold-brewed teas was that I didn't brew enough to handle my thirst after a long nap during the heat of the day. So for tomorrow, I'm prepping a larger volume with the Da Yu Ling. There's also some rather ordinary sencha that might be just right for this.

Has anyone ever tried sencha + osmanthus, or cold-brewed osmanthus flowers?

#23 Mjx

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Posted 03 July 2011 - 12:47 AM

I really enjoy chilled mugicha; its slight smokiness really hits the spot. I'd add two coffee scoops (I never weighed it, and at the moment have none to weigh) to a litre of boiling water, take it off the heat, and let it steep until it's room temperature, then strain and chill.

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#24 heidih

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 11:14 AM

As usual the peaches all ripened at once or were attacked en masse by birds and Scarab beetles so I had to pick the lot. I am enjoying a delightful mix of 3 bags white tea (inexpensive organic I picked up) and 1 bag Bigelow herbal peach in a pitcher with about 4 medium size peaches in big chunks. It is getting hot and the lightness and mild but distinct peachiness is "just peachy" :wink:

#25 mkayahara

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 09:08 AM

In response to the clarity issues I am posting a picture of the tea I just made. It is a cup of tap water heated in the microwave for a minute and a half. Tossed in 4 bags of Tieh Kuan Yin (a light fragrant tea) and some pineapple sage leaves. Steeped for 5 minutes. Poured into pitcher and topped off with tap water. It will not get cloudy after refrigeration. Perhaps the low temp of the steeping water is the crucial factor.

Can I get a mineral analysis on your tap water? :biggrin:

I always need to use bottled water to make tea; my tap water is so hard that tea instantly reacts with it and turns cloudy. (And makes my mugs impossible to clean.) I finally achieved crystal-clear iced oolong yesterday, by making the tea with 200F-degree water (in a preheated teapot), steeping for 4 minutes, then straining and allowing to come to room temperature before chilling.

I also noticed that McGee suggests cold infusion in order to make the tea clear, so that'll be the next thing I try.
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#26 heidih

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 09:14 AM

Can I get a mineral analysis on your tap water? :biggrin:


I think it is in part due to my small amount of hot water being below a boil and then adding probably 6 times as much cold water to the steeped mixture. I can drink my trap water without grimacing so perhaps it is not too mineral rich.

#27 oneidaone

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 07:42 PM

Mostly I steep it in an acrylic pitcher with water from my fridge line. Usually Celestial Seasons of some type, generally the fruit varieties. I slice lots of fruit in it to make it
look pretty as I always have 2 pitchers at every party I host for the designated driver's and those who just like iced tea! It's always a hit.
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#28 Wholemeal Crank

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Posted 24 July 2011 - 05:46 PM

Another amazing infusion of the "cold brew Da Yu Ling" from Dragon Tea House. They aren't kidding when they recommend this stuff for cold brewing. It's definitely the most interesting of the teas I ordered with my teeny-tiny teapot.

#29 heidih

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 09:05 AM

I experimented with iced jasmine tea poured over a pitcher containing about 4 sliced ripe white nectarines. It looked pretty but the tea overwhelmed the subtle fruit. The nectarines are ripening rapidly so I will try it next time with a white tea.

#30 DjLau

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 01:56 PM

I make fruit iced tea often by muddling the fruit to release the flavors, like when making a Mojito.

My favorite so far this summer is California peaches with Darjeeling tea.