On a scorching hot summer day, having a great list of iced tea recipes to choose from is virtually life-saving!
Iced tea at its most basic is simply tea, brewed as you usually would, poured over ice and allowed to go completely cold. Once it is cold, you can add more ice.
However, most iced tea is a little more elaborate with the addition of different fruit juice, herbs, spices and garnishes.
I never had iced tea as a child, having been brought up in England and Kenya where tea is drunk hot. It was a revelation to me when I moved to Canada, and I love it!
General good advice I have been given on making iced teas includes:
Of course, you do need ice for iced tea! We are not blessed with an ice-maker, so I am careful to make sure that we always have plenty of ice available. Just one pitcher of iced tea takes 12 ice cubes!
I like to use flowers or fruit in my ice cubes for serving, because I think they look so pretty in the tea. We've had a lot of fun with this! You can use any edible flowers and the possibilities are endless when it comes to using fruits and herbs.
But it's also worth remembering that if you use too much ice when you serve the tea, it will soon dilute the tea. I serve iced tea with just one or two cubes and I serve it when I'm ready to actually drink it so that's still properly cold from the fridge.
I like to serve my iced tea in a glass pitcher so that I can see the beautiful colour of the tea, and so it is important to me that the liquid is clear. When I first learned to make iced tea, I read that if you pour hot tea over ice cubes, the resulting liquid will be clear, whereas if you leave the tea to go cold on its own, it will be cloudy.
I prefer to use loose tea leaves when I make tea of any kind. Loose tea simply makes a better pot of tea. The flavour is more easily released into the water, and the tea tends to be of a better quality.
Black tea or green tea that has been steeped for too long tastes bitter. For a smoother flavour, brew the tea for the recommended time.
I actually set the timer, because it's easy to let it sit for too long.
I know there are plenty of recipes out there that call for strong tea with iced tea. If you like your tea stronger (I do prefer it on the weaker side) then add more tea rather than brewing it for longer.
Iced tea can be as simple as tea with ice in it with no further additions. And I do like to drink it this way - particularly green tea. But I also adore the sweet fruity versions of iced tea, and I like to experiment with the different flavours that go with different types of tea.
Most of the iced tea recipes I share have more than just tea in the ingredients. I hope you enjoy them and have fun creating your own family favourites. :-)
Green Iced Tea is my overall favourite. I love green tea and so this is perhaps not surprising. I like to cold brew the tea and then re-use the tea leaves the following morning for my breakfast tea.
Peach Iced Tea is another family favourite - my son Oscar particularly likes this one. We use frozen peach slices instead of ice to serve the drink, and it makes the tea super peachy! Delicious.
Thai Iced Tea was a revelation to me! It's creamy and delicious and perfect to serve with anything chocolate.... Ceylon tea, gently spiced with cardamon, star anise and cloves and then served with condensed milk and coconut milk.
Raspberry cordial is an essential ingredient in raspberry iced tea, but it's also a fantastic ingredient in cakes - or just as a great drink with fizzy water.