Okay, so I had NO idea how to prepare this one. And the instructions I found, uh, a bit on the baffling side:
Steep one teabag in 16oz boiling water for 3 minutes, strain tea into 2-qt pitcher, fill with cool water, serve over ice.
Okay, from reading Frank’s comments about these bags making “two quarts” of iced tea, I figured the “2-qt” thing was two quarts, but that still leaves me with the following questions:
-If it makes two quarts, why not make that amount hot and then chill it? Why prepare 16oz first and then water it down? Is this basically instructions to make a concentrate with the idea that the added cool water will make it instantly ready-to-serve?
-If it’s in a teabag in the first place, why would I need to “strain” it?
-Dear goofy Americans and your goofy measurements, WHAT ON THIS GREEN-BUT-OZONE-DEPRIVED EARTH IS A QUART?!?
I had to consult several cookbooks (the internet machine was being used by my sister, unfortunately) to determine that this “quart” thingie is apparently a [baffling!] measurement of 1.89271 litres. (Okay, I actually figured out that it’s a bit under two litres, and the internet machine gave me the exact number just now. Shush.)
Which, I’m sorry to say, reminded me quite a bit of this: http://i49.tinypic.com/14v63rn.jpg
I’m sorry America, but why. WHY AMERICA.
Anyway. Unfortunately, I do not even own a “2 quart” pitcher. I have a 1.6L pitcher (that’s 1.6907 quarts, for those of you following along at home), and that’s the biggest pitcher that will still fit in my fridge. Okay, I figured, that’s okay – the tea will end up a bit concentrated, but it’s RAINBOW SHERBET flavoured, so how could that be a bad thing?!
In the end, I decided to follow the instructions as exactly as possible, Just. In. Case. I put some rock sugar at the bottom of my pitcher, filled my 16oz Tea Master up with just-boiled water to get the measurement right, dispensed it into my pitcher and dropped the tea bag in.
Then I was left with the problem of how to fish the bag OUT again. Since it doesn’t have a string attached to it. Or, I guess, a rope, really, since it’s a big tea bag. I guess maybe that’s why the directions say to strain it?
Well, no worries! I figured, I’ll just use kitchen tongs! …But then I discovered (as my timer ticked down) that I can’t get the handle of the tongs past the opening. Whoops. I finally ended up just rolling up my sleeve, reaching delicately into the pitcher and fishing the bag out by one corner. Good thing I have pathetic skinny chicken arms; if I had hammy man-arms, my poor tea would have been screwed. Although I guess I could have tried pouring it back into the Tea Master.
I didn’t add cold water right away, since those darn rock crystals, awesome-tasting though they are, really don’t like to dissolve well. I added some more hot water and stirred until they did…then I added cold to fill, and stuck the whole thing in the fridge to chill for several hours. Whew! A more involved process for a pitcher of iced tea than I’ve bothered with before, but I guess I’ve got the details hammered out now.
So, the tea:
Dry smell is AMAZING. It made my entire kitchen smell exactly like rainbow sherbet from the moment I opened the bag! The wet smell is pretty much precisely the same, so I excitedly let my mother sniff the already-steeped bag, and she said it smelled like department-store perfume. (Sigh. I need to stop letting my mother smell my tea, because she always smells something strange in the leaves. No matter how bang-on the scent actually is, she always comes out with something like, “perfume,” or “paint chips.” Seriously, Mum?!)
Ultimately, it’s not quite as sherbet-y tasting as I was expecting. I was a bit surprised by this (given the strength of the tea’s scent), but there is definitely a smooth black tea coming through first, with sherbet more towards the back of the sip. But it’s definitely there, orange and lime and raspberry and something else that makes it specifically sherbet-like (and not like ice cream). The more I drink it, the more I feel like it grows on me, and indeed, the more I can actually taste the sherbet, too! This, like DAVIDsTEA’s Tropicalia and Root Beer Float is one that I decided to add milk to, because the cream (or something like it) implied by the flavour is so enhanced with a bit of milk. It didn’t exactly knock me over, but it’s still delicious, and I am going to go cold-steep the bag now for another pitcher to see what I can get out of it.