Doulton said

ICED TEA? Please give me some great tips

I’ve just ordered a Bee House iced tea pitcher and now am going to prepare for the torrid season. I’ve never made iced tea with loose tea before. Any tips? Hints? What kinds of teas work best? I’m interested in both black and decaff.

Please help me! If you are permitted to mention specific teas that you think work well, please help me out!

66 Replies

You can either brew the tea hot, strain and chill, or just place the leaves in regular water and chill overnight. If you have a bad history with brewing black teas, or there’s a specific tea that always seems to come out bitter, your best bet is probably to do the cold brew.

If you want to make iced tea more instantly, you can hot brew the tea double-strength (twice the leaf amount, not steep time) and then mix it in with an equal proportion of iced water… BUT, from what I hear, if you do this in a glass pitcher, there IS a possibility the glass will shatter due to the change in temperature (or something). There’s no worry about this in the previously mentioned ways, and on that note you can also use the double-strength brew for the hot water mixed with regular-temp water.

Now, if you’re interested in trying teas other than black teas, I’d really suggest trying Rooibos. (A South African Herbal, if you’re not familiar.) It tastes great and it’s really amazingly refreshing. They also make a lot of tasty fruit blends with rooibos, so it’s worth looking in to.
Also, if you pick up a flavored oolong, it has a really interesting flavor when you ice it. I think that’s more of a hit-or-miss with liking it, but it’s worth an experiment.

Here’s a list of products that go well iced from Lupicia:
You can use that for purchasing or getting ideas. Also look at Adagio’s selection of teas for icing.
Hope that helps.

I am a lover of iced teas and caffeine. With the cold water brew the caffeine doesn’t extract as well as with a hot water brew. I have perfected my stregnth of choice with all my iced teas black, oolong, green and white. I use 1 oz of tea to a gallon pitcher. I place tea in either a cheese cloth bag of a large paper filter finum or tea sac they can be either tied off with tread or also hear they can be heat sealed with a cheap curling iron ( customer told me that one haven’t tried it myself yet) place bag in container fill 1/3 with hot water steep for five minutes. Add enough cold water as to not burn your hand removing bag. If you take sweetner now would be the time to add so it will disolve. I personally use Agave Nectar in my fruity teas as it disolves better and brings out the flavors of the fruits. I am stuck on my pineapple papaya right now I find myself drinking darn near a gallon a day.
For 1 gallon I use 2/3 cups of agave stir then fill container with cold water. You are good to go. I use this method for my herbals, rooibos and honey bush teas as well I sometimes add a little more than an ounce of tea but I definately steep for at least 10 minutes to bring out the full flavors. So the recipe would be as follows:
1 oz. of tea (black, oolong, green or white)
2/3 cup Agave Nectar
Steep for 5 minutes with 1/3 gallon hot water. Add some cold water, remove tea, add sweetener fill to the rim with cold water stir, sip and enjoy.

Increase brewing time to 10 minutes for herbals, rooibos and honeybush teas.

FYI, has a wonderful selection of pre made gallon bags at a great price!

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Golden Moon also has many intriguing Iced Tea ideas and tips:

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denisend said

When you’re making black tea, the pitcher (at least, the style that you have) is for storing the finished product. In the Bee House pitchers, the infusion basket just isn’t long enough to get a good brew (IMO).

The method that I grew up with (in the south) is to brew the tea at double strength (leaves, not time), sweeten, and then ice. I use glass pitchers and haven’t ever broken one, but I suppose it could happen (they’re also cheap function-over-form pitchers so I’m not attached to them; I’d probably feel different if I had a gorgeous Bee House pitcher!).

For black tea, we almost always have the following brew in the fridge:
2 parts Teavana English breakfast
1 part Teavana Lemon Youkou

I’ve found that you really have to stick to a 2 minute brewing time or the English breakfast will get bitter. The lemon gives it a good bright note; I love this one!

I also recently bought some of Samovar’s Lemon Yunnan Black Tea to experiment with – it sounds really delightful. I haven’t tried it yet, though.

I’m very fond of tisanes, so when I want something decaf I’ll generally go that route. For the tisanes, I’ll cold brew them. Unlike black tea, they don’t get bitter when overbrewed, so I generally just leave the tea in the pitcher. I don’t know how this would work in your pitcher, since the brewing basket is short (especially for a tisane, which generally has a bigger volume).

This is the pitcher that I use:

I’ll put the tisane in it, let it sit overnight or for 6-8 hours, then drink and refill. Generally (depending on the tisane) I can get 3-4 pitchers before dumping and putting in fresh tisane.

My favorites:
Adagio’s Sour Apple
Teavana’s Strawberry Lemonade

Good luck!

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Cofftea said

The suggestions I have for iced tea are not iced (other than chai) or decaf. The closest I have to a decaf suggestion is my version of Sassy Water (from the book The Flat Belly Diet): For every 8oz of water: 1 heaping tsp of dried ginger root steeped in boiling water for 3-7min, 1 thin lemon slice and 1 thin cucumber slice. Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Double everything except the water if planning to serve over ice. I bet iced rose water (using 1tsp rose petals per 6-8oz water) would be amazing as well!

Cofftea said

As for my method, I steep the desired amount of leaves (say 12 of leaf if I want to make 4 8oz servings) in as little water as possible while still making sure they can steep properly at the normal temperature and time. Then I add cold water to make up for the liquid discrepency. This for me is the best of both worlds, it gives you tea that’s cool enough to put in the fridge right away and it cuts down on the amount of leaf you use thus saving you money and mess (especially if you want to resteep- the larger the quantiy of leaves, the shorter time they stay fresh). Note: If you want to serve it over ice, you have 2 options, double the leaves and put it over regular ice or make extra tea and freeze it in ice cube trays. I like the 2nd suggestion because you can mix and match flavors.

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call me a bad heathen but i adore my mr. coffee iced tea maker, 12 bags of lipton or other bagged tea, fill to line with water and ice and boom, iced tea – i persoanly like the celestial seasonings Raspberry Zinger as a delicious treat tea

gmathis said

You’re not a bad heathen; we have one, too. Have used with both oolong and various greens, as well as the gallon-sized Lipton bags. IMO, you just lose a little flavor by virtue of having it iced, so I’m less finicky than I am with hot tea.

i usually dump in so much sugar and lemon that i feel bad wasting good tea on my iced tea (though on occasion i do try some loose leaf in a coffee filter)

Cofftea said

Ok, well that make make you a heathen LOL! j/k;) I drink mine unsweetened and lemon free- except for w/ my variation of Sassy Water.

but cofftea you haven’t really lived until you have german rock sugar + raspberry zinger + lemon iced…..mmmm ;-) ok maybe it is just me but it’s delicious! (that and iced rooibos tropica)

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Carla said

I’ve found the key to making a good quick iced tea is brewing it with double the leaves for the proper amount of time, and then pouring the brewing right into my martini shaker with ice in it. I don’t need to worry about any glass breaking from temperature differences, and shaking it around until the cover is nice and chilled makes for a nice iced tea. Harney & Sons Bangkok tea is one of my favorites to make iced for the summer

TeaParT said

What a great idea: a Martini Shaker. It adds a certain elegance – don’t you think? In our Tea Basics class yesterday, the instructor used a new term that I enjoyed. She suggested a similar idea that she referred to as “steeping in concentrate” for ice tea. That combined with your martini shaker and I think that we’ve just raised ice tea up a couple of notches on the “sophistication” scale.

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Doulton said

Thank you so much for all of the great tips. You are wonderful!

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Doulton, I am curious…which bee house iced tea pitcher did you get?
56 ounce Retro or the 64 ounce tall pitcher? Which color did you choose?
I have had my eye on this for awhile now. Just curious to see how you like it.

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Doulton said
I got the Retro in the color “blueberry”
It is suitable for public serving or for making tea with tea bags. It’s not good for brewing loose tea at all with a miniature infuser. That infuser is really a joke.

The one I’ve been using most often is a glass pitcher from Lupicia:

Although it only makes a liter, it’s got a really nice big strainer.

I also use a regular tea pot, as in your avatar, to make smaller blends for a couple of large glasses. I have not really found anything suitable for serving a large group of people but I don’t really entertain lots of people anymore anyhow.

I love that color. I was wondering about that infuser. I have a 22 ounce beehouse teapot and that infuser is really small also. I much prefer my Chatsford with its large infuser basket.
Thanks for the info.

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gmathis said

One other belated tip … if you intend to store iced tea rather than drink it immediately, let it cool before putting in the fridge; popping it in too soon makes it go cloudy. (At least, in my experience.)

Cofftea said

I didn’t know about the cloudy thing- but I did think it would go moldy… never put hot anything in the fridge.

Good tip! Thanks:)

SoccerMom said

gmathis, Thanks for the tip I was wondering why my iced teas have been coming out cloudy. Now I know :)

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