When you think of all the summer drinks you can have while hanging out at the beach or sitting on the front porch; one drink is synonymous with beating the heat! Who doesn't like an ice-cold glass of freshly brewed iced tea?
There are just as many ways to make this refreshing cold brew as there are iced tea lovers out there. Some make iced tea by pouring recently brewed tea over ice cubes, while others will chill a pitcher of your brew in the refrigerator for a few hours.
If you want to try something new, we have a recipe for making iced tea that is simple to follow and delightfully satisfying! So grab a pitcher, invite some friends over, and join us in making delicious and refreshing iced tea!
What Is Iced Tea?
Iced tea is exactly what its name implies. Instead of the typical hot brewed tea, iced tea is the cold version of the drink. Although it's enjoyed mostly during hot summer days, this drink has a place in all seasons and occasions.
While some prefer to drink a plain unsweetened tea, others take it up a notch to make a sweet tea by adding simple syrup or fruit like fresh raspberries or lemon wedges. Iced tea has even made its mark with mixed drinks—cocktail concoctions like Bourbon Iced Tea and a Southern Sweet Tea Cocktail. Sorry folks, a Long Island Iced Tea doesn't contain iced tea!
How to Make Iced Tea
Making this traditional iced tea recipe is quick and easy. If you have many guests coming over, simply multiply your ingredients to make several batches of the cold brew! The best part of this tasty recipe is that you'll only need a few ingredients and even fewer kitchen items to make it. You can chill with your own homemade iced tea within no time!
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes Cost: Approximately $1-$3 Serves: 6 servings or roughly a ½ gallon.
Calcium 10mg 1%
Carbohydrates 11g 4%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 1mg 0%
Sodium 16mg 1%
Sugar 11g 12%
Nutrition facts: Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet.
8 cups of water
6 teaspoons of black tea or 6 tea bags
1/3 cup of your favorite sweetener, like sugar, maple syrup, or honey. Or you can omit the sugar for an unsweetened iced tea.
Bring 4 cups of cold water to a boil in a large saucepan.
Remove it from the heat.
Add tea bags or your loose tea to the hot water.
Steep the hot brew for approximately 10 minutes.
You can strain the liquid to remove the leaves or leave them in. If you're using tea bags, remove the tea bags from the water. Tea tastes stronger if you don't strain out your leaves or if you don't remove the tea bags.
If you prefer a sweet tea taste, add your sweetener. Sugar dissolves better if you stir the sugar while the tea is still hot.
Add the remaining room temperature or cold water to your tea. Place it in the refrigerator and refrigerate for about an hour until it is thoroughly chilled.
Add ice to a glass, pour your chilled tea over the ice, and add some lemon slices, fresh mint, and a bit more sugar if you are making sweet tea recipes. Serve and enjoy!
Some Additional Iced Tea Recipe Notes to Follow:
If you're adding ice, consider doubling the concentration by adding twice as many tea leaves to the recipe.
Some recipes call for baking soda. A little baking soda will clear the tea's cloudiness and make it taste less bitter.
If you're using a Firebelly travel mug, fill the water to the lower fill line. Fill the chamber with ice. Steep with the chamber up. When ready, push the chamber down until it is sealed, give it a good shake, serve and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Iced Tea Recipes
You can do a few things to take your iced tea recipes to the next level!
Measure Your Water
To make the best iced tea, you need the correct quantity of water. One cup too many, and your tea is too weak. One cup too little, and your tea is too strong. Measure the water carefully, and you'll end up with a perfect batch of cold tea brew.
Steeping Hot tea
Keep an eye on the clock or set a timer. Letting the tea steep longer than 10 minutes makes it taste bitter. When you hear the bell of your timer go off, strain the liquid or remove the tea bags.
Experiment For a Fruity, Herbal, Floral, or Sweet Tea
Some recipes ask for black tea, while others ask for blends such as green tea, peppermint of ginger. Make your own blend, or try one of these blends for a fun iced tea creation! If you're cutting down on your caffeine, use herbal teas. Your options are endless, so have fun and find a few interesting ways to keep cool!
Playing around with different teas is one way to have fun, but you can also create exciting flavors by adding fruit like lemons and berries. Or you can add mint leaves or cinnamon sticks for a calming but spicy iced tea! You can also play around with sweeteners like sugar, maple syrup, honey, agave, or coconut sugar.
Use Filtered Water
Using filtered water instead of tap water will give your tea a smoother flavor. Tap water may contain high levels of minerals which might affect the taste of the tea.
Loose Leaf Is Best!
Our recipe uses loose-leaf tea, but you can substitute tea leaves for tea bags. For every teaspoon of loose leaf, use one tea bag. To strain the leaves from the hot water, use a fine mesh strainer as you pour the liquid into your pitcher.
Storing Iced Tea
You can store your cold brew of iced tea in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Using a pitcher with a sealable lid is best because open pitchers of tea can absorb odors from your refrigerator.
Over time the tea particles will settle at the bottom of the pitcher. If you were to give it a good stir you might even end up with a cloudy tea! Although it is perfectly normal for teas to go cloudy, it doesn't affect the taste.
Frequently Asked Questions About Iced Tea
Are there any health benefits to iced tea?
Your cold brew of iced tea is packed with antioxidants but is less acidic than a cup of coffee. This is a perfect option for people with a sensitive GI system. If you go the herbal iced tea route, your icy beverage will also contain less caffeine than a cup of coffee.
Can I make Iced Tea with Tea Bags?
Yes! Although the best tea for full-bodied flavor is loose-leaf tea, you can make iced tea with a tea bag. Remember that some bag varieties aren't as potent as loose-leaf, and you may need to use more bags than a few tablespoons of the loose-leaf version.
How Do You Brew Sun Tea?
Sun tea is another way of making a hot tea brew without boiling water. The recipe is simple; brew the tea by placing your loose tea inside a pitcher of water in the direct sunlight for a couple of hours.
During the day, the tea will naturally steep from the sun's heat. After a couple of hours, you'll have a nicely steeped pitcher of tea that you can drink right away! To turn your sun tea into a cold brew, let the tea cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for a few hours.
One Last Sip
Now that you've created the perfect cold glass of iced tea, you can sit back, relax and enjoy that crisp and refreshing flavor with each sip. Perhaps you like to make a sweetened tea with sugar or use the natural sweetness of honey. Maybe you prefer to make iced tea by using just the natural flavor of the tea.
Do you prefer an iced black tea like an orange pekoe tea, or do you fancy a green tea flavor? Or maybe you like to blend your black teas with herbal teas to get all the astringent compounds of black tea mixed with the sweet floral essence of camomile, rooibos, or hibiscus?
There are so many excellent tea recipes! Whatever way you like it, make big batches of this thirst-quenching brew for all your summer gatherings. Chances are you'll have everyone on your guest list wanting a glass or two! Bon appétit!