Ice Ice Baby

Oh, yeah, the one you’ve all been waiting for – how to make iced tea at home!

 

If you’ve seen iced tea in the shops, and had a look at the ingredients, you’ll notice that actual tea is pretty far down the list. Which for a tea-nerd like me, just doesn’t cut it. If I’m after iced tea, I want there to be tea in that. And pretty much nothing else. So home made it is!

There are two main methods for icing your tea, which I’m going to show you today in this post, and one more I made up myself! I’ll also talk you through the best things to do with your tea, and additions you can make to it to have a super tasty chilled tea, or to make it beautifully presentable for your silly season party. I promise by the end of this post you’ll think its so easy you won’t know why you didn’t try it before!

Alrighty, lets get cracking with the iced brewing methods.

First up, Instant Iced Tea

This would have to be my favourite method, because its quick, easy, you won’t make any mess, and, well, its instant! Even here in Hobart we get warm summers, and you don’t want to be waiting for your tea to cool down before getting that icy cold refreshment down your throat. It can even be done with your regular pot and strainer, though my preferred method is with our Handy Brew.

1. Gather all your items together. For this method, I use ice (obviously!) your tea of choice (I went with our Rooberry, which makes a really tasty drink), boiled water, the Handy Brew, and a glass for drinking from. If you want your ice tea extra cold, pop your glass in the freezer for 10 minutes first – it will keep colder for longer that way.

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2. Spoon the tea into the Handy Brew (or into your pot). For iced tea, I use double the amount of tea to ensure the flavour is full when it is cold. Fill your drinking vessel with ice, all the way to the top but not over the rim of the glass. Pour the hot water into your Handy Brew/pot. Use just enough for one serve – somewhere between 250-350ml will suit most glasses.

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3. Leave your tea to brew in the Handy Brew or pot. After 4-5 minutes (for the rooibos), we get to do the fun part – pouring!

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4. Sit your Handy Brew directly on top of your glass of ice and watch as the liquid fills your icy glass, making your instant iced tea! The hot tea will mix with the ice and melt it, cooling the liquid to a perfectly chilled temperature. No waiting around for this cup of iced tea, no siree! If you’re working with a pot, wait for your tea to brew, then pour the hot tea into the glass of ice through a strainer, catching all the leaves.

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I originally encountered a Handy Brew-like device a few years ago when watching someone demonstrate this method, and my mind was blow. How easy does this look?! The Handy Brew also keeps all the leaves inside, even the tiny pin-like rooibos, so you don’t have a mess or lots of utensils to clean up after. I don’t think I can really say how much this has transformed my summers – especially last year, given all the heat we had in Hobart. Its even easy to make large batches of it – use a large pot, say around 1L to brew the tea, then fill up a large water jug (between 1.5-2L) with ice, and there you go! Instant iced tea for your whole party or family! Clean up is easy – just rinse the Handy Brew and you’re done! We have one of those sink scrap catchers, so the leaves just go into that then into the bin/compost.

But I promised more icing methods, didn’t I? On to number 2 –

The Cold Brew

This is perhaps the simplest ice tea method, so much so I haven’t bothered to take photos for it! Its only downside is that you have to be prepared for this one – no instant tea here.

1. Prepare you brew as if you were making a hot cuppa, but use cold water not boiling water.

2. Pop your tea in the fridge for at least 3 hours, to ensure the tea is really cold, and the flavour is in the liquid. For the strongest flavour, leave your tea sitting overnight.

3. Strain out the leaves and enjoy!

I find this method, aside from the need to be prepared, can be a little fussy. Some teas, especially blacks, don’t take too well to sitting in water for so long and can go bitter, so you need to pick something that has another flavour, not just the tea in it (something like our Mango, or Salamanca Blend would be great – though I haven’t tried these with the Cold Brew method myself).  It is, however, really easy to do at home. Clean up is a bit more than the Handy Brew – you’ll have to remove the leaves from your pot or cup, as well as the tea strainer.

And for our last icing option –

The Jenna Method! Or the Cocktail Shaker Method

Yep, I made this one up myself a few years ago out of desperation for iced tea but not wanting a mess to clean up afterwards. Because no one wants to be spending any more time than necessary near hot water in summer. Its also the best way to use iced tea as a base for your cocktails (I’ll talk more about that further down the blog post…)

1. Gather all the utensils – water, tea (this time I used our Vanilla Green, and boy she’s a delightful one cold!), ice, glass, cocktail shaker, tea strainer. Heat your water to the appropriate temperature ready for brewing.

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2. Add enough ice to the cocktail shaker for the size of your glass – if in doubt, fill your glass with ice then tip it into the shaker. Add in twice as many tea leaves as you would for a hot brew.

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3. Pour a metric cup of hot water over the leaves, then put the lid on top. Wait until enough ice has melted that you wont burn your hand on the shaker, then pick it up and give it a shake to fully mix the ice and the water. Leave the leaves to sit for the appropriate time (around 3.5 minutes in total for green tea), the remove the ‘top’ lid of the shaker above the strainer.

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4. Pour the iced tea through a strainer into a glass. Add more ice if desired.

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Another really easy way of getting your cool tea. The trick with this one is working out your preferred ratios of hot water to ice to tea leaves for the perfect flavour (my recommendations are what I prefer, but you definitely want to modify that for your own tastebuds!). Once you’ve done that, you’re good to go! The clean up for this is pretty easy – dump the leaves from the shaker and the strainer in the bin or compost, then just wash up everything else.

So now you’ve got 3 ways to make iced tea at home, you want to know more, right? Like –

Which Teas to use?

Just like hot tea, you can try anything iced! I started out with fruity flavoured blacks (our Mango is a great option, or Winter Spice), but the following teas and flavours will also make a fine iced tea: green teas, especially fruit based ones (try Salamanca Blend or Strawberry and Champagne), White tea is GREAT cold, anything sweet or vanilla flavoured is a sure hit, rooibos is an excellent choice (in fact its my go-to sports drink – ice cold antioxidant and electrolyte hit but much better for you than sports drinks!), and herbals are also great. Anything pepperminty is lovely cold, so try our Organic Peppermint, After Dinner Mint or Detox teas. A fairly recent discovery to me is that chai teas a really nice iced too – and they take milk (cow, coconut, almond etc) well cold as well.

Whether the taste changes?

When you make iced tea, without changing any of the usual amounts of water or leaves from hot tea, you’ll notice the flavour isn’t as strong. The colder temperature softens the flavour, which is why I’ve recommended using double the amount of leaves when making iced tea. The other option is to use half the amount of water – either way you are doubling the strength of the brew. There are even some teas where they taste very soft to me cold, so I might do both – double the leaf and half the water! I’d start with one, first, then modify to your own taste preferences.

Another thing I’ve noticed with hot v iced tea, though this is a personal observation, is that hot tea feels comforting, where iced tea is refreshing. But both can be enjoyed any time of the year!

If I’ve made a batch up, what is the best way to store it?

A large jug in the fridge will keep for a few days. Honestly, I’m not sure how long it will keep, because mine never last longer than a day or so! Refrigeration should keep your tea fresh for some time though. If you’re taking your tea out and about, I’d strongly recommend investing in a double walled tea thermos or flask. The double walled flask, especially a steel option, will keep your tea icy cold for a few hours (depending on the temperature its sitting in). Putting your flask in the freezer prior to taking it out with you will assist in keeping it cold.

What if I want to add stuff to my tea like something sweet?

Then go right ahead! I find honey dissolves better in iced tea than sugar. The trick is always to make sure anything you want dissolved goes in with the hot water. Otherwise you’ll find it will just sit at the bottom of your glass and you won’t taste anything!

Or Fruit?

Fruit is a great addition to your iced tea, especially if you’re making up a big jug. Not only does it look really pretty, it adds or boosts to the flavour of your brew. Try and pick a fruit which is already in your tea, or that will complement it, as the fruit flavour will end up in your drink.

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All this cold brewing sounds lovely, but I am an adult, and I do like a stiffer drink every now and again!

The Jenna Method (above) is perfect for this! When you’re adding the hot water into the cocktail shaker, add in a shot of spirits (vodka would be perfect, but whatever takes your fancy!). Serve in your favourite glass straight or over ice. Champagne also goes well with iced tea. Our Strawberry and Champagne green tea is really great with champagne (or your sparkling white of choice). Brew your iced tea up, then pour a 50/50% mix of your sparkling wine and iced tea into a champagne glass. Add in some sliced strawberries to top it off!

What about the kids? Will they like it?

I sure hope they will! If your children are little and aren’t drinking caffeinated tea yet, stick with herbals and rooibos teas. Rooibos is great for its rehydrative properties, making it perfect for hot, tired children who are sick of plain water. They’ll also love watching the magic of the Handy Brew at work (or that might just be this big kid!).

So there you go  iced tea at home, easy peasy! Post any questions you might have below or on our facebook page. I’d love to see your iced tea experiments too, share them with us!

Comments

  1. Hello 🙂
    I have recently started enjoying your wonderfully blended herbal teas. I dare say I am in the process of becoming hooked.

    I’ve just happened upon this blog today, which is strange as I have my own iced tea story from only yesterday.

    I decided to sit on my balcony and enjoy a pot of tea before work, but by the time I had brewed it and taken it out to the balcony, I knew I didnt have time to enjoy it. What I did was put it into an empty 500ml juice bottle I had and took it to work to have as “iced tea” (which I thought would only really be cold tea). i ended up putting the bottle in the freezer at work and an hour later the outside had frozen so that when I shook it up, it had lovely frozen parts – proper Iced Tea!

    Of course I have done the same thing today! 🙂

    • Jenna Lovell says:

      Belina – that’s another lovely way to get iced tea! My partner likes doing that too – he’ll often make one up with the Handy Brew, then pop it in the freezer and after not too long, there’s chunks of iced tea through his drink!

      And welcome to the fandom – we’re happy to have you with us! Which is your favourite blend so far?

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