A tall glass of ice-cold tea is the essence of summer - it's easy, fun, and makes your soul smile with every sip. While iced tea is conventionally thought to be made with black tea, we're here to tell you otherwise. Iced tea is just as it sounds - tea that has been iced, meaning that it can be made with any and all types of tea! There are no restrictions on the variety of teas that can be used to make this refreshing and thirst-quenching drink.
TYPE OF TEA Black tea is commonly used in iced tea, but white tea, green tea, and roasted oolong also work particularly well over ice without losing flavor integrity or aroma. Regardless, all tea types will make for lovely iced teas.
BREWING STYLE Both hot and cold brewing techniques can be used in iced tea. Sometimes, however, chilling hot brew tea in the fridge can result in unwanted bitterness and staleness. Cold brewing can help to retain sweetness and fuller flavor when making iced tea.
SWEETNESS Unsweetened iced tea is flavorful and refreshing, and iced sweet tea in the summertime is truly blissful. If you're looking to sweeten your iced tea, there are quite a few options you can turn to. Stevia leaves make sweetening quick and convenient since they can be tossed in with the tea while it is brewing and infuse the tea with their natural sweetness. Honey is another excellent candidate since it complements the flavor of most teas while adding its own subtle fruitiness, and has numerous health benefits. Agave nectar is similar to honey and works well too. Brown sugar, molasses, and maple syrup are sweetening agents that can give your iced tea more body and depth. Simple syrups, like Royal Rose Simple Syrups, are organic and available in a wide variety of flavors and can provide both sweetness and dimension. If you love fruits, using fruit juice as a sweetener for iced tea is another great choice because it maintains its integrity when chilled and can make ordinary tea more colorful and tasty! Iced apple green tea or grape black tea are some delicious examples.
TAKE IT FURTHER: You can create your own twist on traditional iced tea by adding extracts (vanilla, almond, maple, etc.) or spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc.) directly into your brewed tea. You can even try adding other flavorful ingredients to your base tea or tea blend before steeping. Here are some ideas you can experiment with!
- Herbs: muddled mint, basil, lavender, rosemary
- Fruits: muddled or slivered berries, peach, citrus, pineapple
- Roots and flowers: ginger, dandelion, honeysuckle, rose hip
- Sweeteners: stevia leaves
Now that you've read everything you need to know about iced tea, here's how to make some!
What You'll Need
- Your favorite tea!
- Sweetener (optional, amount to taste)
- Extracts/spices (optional, amount to taste)
- Herbs/fruits/roots/flowers (optional, amount to taste)
Add herbs, fruit, roots, flowers, and/or stevia leaves to the tea leaves or tea blend before brewing for additional flavor, if desired.
Hot or cold-brew you tea as you normally would, but double the amount of leaves/sachets you use to make the tea twice as strong. This is to ensure that the dilution from melting ice cubes doesn't make the tea taste watery.
If you are hot-brewing, strain the tea and add in a sweetener, if desired, while the tea is still hot. Make sure the sweetener is completely dissolved and let the tea chill in the fridge until it is no longer warm enough to melt ice. If you are cold-brewing the tea, strain and add the sweetener, if desired, once the tea has finished steeping (preferably overnight.)
Add any extracts or spices to the chilled, sweetened tea (both hot and cold-brewed) and immediately pour into a glass over ice. Enjoy - and let us know your favorite iced tea recipes in the comments below!