Loose Leaf Tea
A refreshing glass of iced tea is a treat year round. Black tea is most often recommended for brewing iced tea, though, you can make delicious unsweetened or sweet tea from almost any variety or blend of tea you prefer. Iced tea from freshly brewed loose leaf tea yields a more flavorful beverage than an iced tea recipe that calls for using tea bags.
The quality of bulk or loose leaf tea is higher than the teas typically used in pre-packaged tea bags. That’s why tea brewed with loose leaf tea is better tasting and garners greater health benefits.
There are two traditional methods for making iced tea that can be easily stored in your refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to three days.
Use half of the suggested amount of water for the amount of tea you are brewing. Steeping time and water temperature vary according the type of tea you are making. Therefore, follow these guidelines.
- Black Tea:Steep for three to five minutes in water that has been heated to 212 degrees.
- Green Tea:Steep for one to three minutes in water that has been heated to 180 degrees.
- Oolong / Wulong Tea:Steep for three to five minutes in water that has been heated to 212 degrees
- White Tea:Steep for third seconds to two minutes in water than has been heated to 180 degrees
- Tisanes/Herbal Tea: Steep five minutes in water that has been heated to 212 degrees.
Once steeping is completed, remove the tea leaves by using a strainer as you pour your tea into a pitcher or other vessel. Add the remaining amount of cold water.
For sweet tea, add sugar, honey, or stevia to taste. Artificial sweeteners may be used, if you prefer, though they are not preferred. Once your tea is prepared, chill for 3 to 4 hours before serving.
Use the full recommended amount of water for the amount of iced tea you are brewing.
- Black and Herbal Teas:Steep in cold water in the refrigerator for six to eight hours.
- Green and White Teas: Steep in cold water in the refrigerator for three to six hours (or overnight if you want a stronger tea).
Once steeping is completed, remove the tea leaves by using a strainer as you pour your tea into another pitcher or container. Add sugar or other sweetener to make sweet tea, if you choose. Chill for another two hours before serving.
With either preparation method, you can add extra zest or a flavor twist to your brew with squeezed lemon, mint leaves or a splash of cranberry, orange, peach or pineapple juice.
Experiment with different types of teas and flavor enhancements to create your own special iced tea recipe that will keep friends and loved ones coming back for more.