It's Summer time here in Brisbane, Queensland (Australia) categorised by hot and humid together with a La Niña weather cycle that also means more rain. The warmer climate ushers in the start of Christmas and New Year festivities in this part of the world!
I can understand why you may not always be reaching for a comforting hot cuppa in these months. Trying to convince friends and family to drink hot tea to cool you down is a bit of a stretch when beads of sweat are streaming down your face even when you're sitting still. But as someone that continues to drink hot tea I like to argue the merits of this theory 😉 take a look here.
Nevertheless as tea gives us such a healthy lift during the cooler months it should not be abandoned at this time of year! In fact, we should be drinking more of it. Perhaps we just need to think about enjoying our quality leaf teas differently to better suit the social occasions we are partaking.
Now is the time for homemade iced teas - refreshing, tasty and guilt-free prepared using cold tea brewing! A great use of those forgotten tea leaves in your tea cupboard.
As it's the festive season let's not argue over terminology. For a long time I too have avoided using iced tea because all I can think of is sweetened tea beverages that large commercial iced tea brands have led as to believe is the norm. But for those of us that love tea we know that cold tea drinks have so much more to offer without the sugar and sweetener. To avoid confusion in this blog I use the term iced teas to refer to the style of beverage and I refer to cold brewed tea as the technique or process that I use to make my tea drinks or bases.
Making iced teas at home is super simple. Take a look at my Cold Brew Tea blog to learn more. I share why I prefer to use this method to make iced teas, how I have come to formulate a basic recipe for cold brewed tea and I also share some iced tea recipes. To keep the flow of this Ultimate Guide to Iced Tea I have pulled across a great starting recipe to begin preparing a cold brewed tea.
Recipe for Cold Brewed Tea (500ml)
1. In a jug, add 3 teaspoons (5-6g) of quality leaf tea to 500ml filtered room temperature water
2. Place the jug in the refrigerator overnight (min 8hrs - max 12hrs)
3. Decant the tea leaves and your iced tea is ready to enjoy!
It really is that simple! Whilst the preparation of cold brewed tea takes some planning in advance it is super simple for anyone to make.
This full tea leaf cold water immersion brewing method also keeps the steeped tea from becoming bitter and astringent (these properties are some some of the first extracted when the leaves are hit with hot water). This results in the natural sweetness of the tea being retained and no added sugar or sweetener needed!
Iced Tea Recipes
For this Ultimate Guide to Iced Tea I am sharing one of my favourite oolong teas from The Steepery Tea Co. catalogue. Dong Ding, Tung Ting or roughly translated to Frozen Summit.
Here's what to do. In a jug place 8g Dong Ding Tea Leaves with 500ml filtered room temperature water. Place it in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours. Decant the tea leaves and enjoy your Dong Ding Iced Tea!
And don't throw out those tea leaves, they can make another great cold brew (repeat the process and adjust the steeping time to your taste preference).
Look to the pitcher on the right in the image below. Notice the bright, crystal clear tea liquor that a cold brewed Dong Ding produces!
3 reasons oolongs make for great iced teas?
1. They are deliciously aromatic. For social occasions think about the glassware you are serving your iced teas in and how to capture this aroma (e.g., wine glasses)
2. They often are textured. Dong Ding has a luscious buttery feel in the mouth and this is also enjoyed when you cold brew the tea.
3. You achieve complexity simply with few ingredients. If you are going to use oolong tea to make iced teas don't overcomplicate it, garnish simply and hero the tea!
And here are some more recipe ideas for you from past blogs:
- Festive Iced Teas including Wen Shan Cold Cup, Earl Cream Soda, Matcha and Oat Shake
- Green oolong and festive orange 🍊 syrup mocktail
Ready-to-Drink Craft Iced Tea
And a blog post about quality iced tea beverages would not be complete if I did not mention my other tea beverage business, East Forged. A business I proudly Co-founded with tea specialist, Tania Stacey. I have shared the story here but be sure to read all about East Forged over on the website.
If you don't have a minimum of 8 hours to plan ahead East Forged have done the hard work for you. Our delicately carbonated and nitrogen infused ready-to-drink new style of iced teas has catered for the tea enthusiast. Starting with a cold brewed tea base and adding only natural fruit juice, expect the natural taste of tea to be front and centre. No added sugars, sweeteners, colours or flavours.
To convince you further here is a visual...and you can buy them here!
I hope I have provided you inspiration to start experimenting with your own Iced Teas. Preparing and serving Iced Teas over the festive season will certainly delight those that are not drinking or are cutting back on their alcohol consumption this year. The clean and refreshing taste of homemade iced teas makes the perfect pair at the dinner table, picnic, BBQ and nibbles with friends ~ all the social occasions that we enjoy at this time of year.
We can draw across all the things we love about our hot teas; health, ritual and connection into a modern drinking setting that is perfect accompaniment for our Summer days. Because tea has infinite possibilities!
Hero Photo by Food Photographer | Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash