Who said tea is just for the cold weather!? Tea popsicles are the perfect treat to help you make it through the summer. Whether you're craving something cold and sweet or you need an afternoon energy boost, tea popsicles certainly rise to the occasion. And the best part? You can make them with absolutely any kind of tea! With so many options and so much versatility, tea popsicles are sure to be a cool summer staple.
Tea popsicles are super easy to personalize to your taste and preferences. Here are some factors to consider when making your pops.
TYPE OF TEA Popsicles can be made with any and all types of tea. Whatever tea you have in your kitchen cupboard will work well! However, certain flavors can lend themselves to being sweetened and frozen a little better than others. Fruit and berry blends, black and green teas, citrus, ginger, and mint work nicely because of their naturally strong flavors.
BREWING STYLE Both hot and cold brewing will result in delicious popsicles! Freezing tea will dull its flavor, so remember to brew your tea twice as strong as you normally would with either method. You can do this by brewing it for twice as long, or by using twice as much tea. When hot-brewing, over-steeping can sometimes result in a more bitter flavor, so using a larger quantity of tea can be a safer option. Cold-brewing requires a longer period of time (preferably overnight), but eliminates the risk of over-steeping and gives way to bright and refreshing flavors.
SWEETNESS Unsweetened tea popsicles can be tasty and refreshing, but if that's not your thing then there's a huge variety of sweeteners you can use to make these popsicles more to your taste. Stevia leaves can be a very convenient sweetener since they can be tossed in with the tea while it is brewing and bring about a natural sweetness to the tea itself. Honey is often used as a sweetener in tea and is a great option because of the way it complements the flavor of many teas and its numerous health benefits. Agave nectar is similar to honey and works well too. Simple syrups and maple syrups are great options too because they give popsicles a juicier, more syrupy texture. Royal Rose Simple Syrups are organic and come in a variety of pleasant flavors that can subtly infuse the tea popsicles with other delicious tastes. Lastly, fruit juice makes a wonderful sweetener and also gives popsicles both a delicious fruity flavor and a vibrant appearance. It's important to remember that sweeteners should be completely dissolved into the tea before freezing. If you're hot-brewing your tea, then it's easiest to completely incorporate the sweetener into the tea while it's still hot.
TEXTURE The texture of a popsicle is just as important as the taste! If you prefer a drier, less sticky pop, then add fewer extra ingredients to the brewed tea. Unsweetened tea popsicles will be hard and have the smooth, glassy texture of ice cubes. The more sweetener you add, the softer and more bitable the texture will become. If you prefer a creamier pop, there's a variety of ingredients that can be added to achieve this. Pureed fruit, either fresh or frozen, can be mixed into the tea to give the popsicles a sorbet-like texture. Milk (cow, almond, soy, coconut, etc.), heavy cream, whipped cream, whipped aquafaba, coconut cream, yogurt, and condensed milk can all be mixed into the tea to create creamier, more ice-cream-like popsicles.
MIX-INS There's so many ingredients that can be mixed into tea popsicles for added fun! Fruits like berries, bananas, apples, pineapples, melons, and citrus can be incorporated into the pops to make them more interesting, create more complex flavors, and give a satisfying crunch. Raisins, dried cranberries, granola, nuts, seeds, and toasted coconut flakes can give the popsicles a savory twist. Cookies and candies can make the popsicles sweeter, super fun, and more kid-friendly. Black tapioca pearls (boba) are an amazing option because they are both sweet and savory, and become satisfyingly chewy as the popsicles thaw.
Now that you know all about what makes a great tea popsicle, here's how to make some!
What You'll Need
- Your favorite tea!
- Sweeteners (amount to taste)
- Texture-enhancers (amount to taste)
- Mix-ins (amount to taste)
- Popsicle mold
Cold or hot-brew the tea twice as strong as you normally would. Make enough tea to fill your popsicle mold. If you're using a loose-leaf tea, strain the tea.
If you're using a sweetener, add it to the tea. If you're hot-brewing, mix the sweetener into the tea while it's still hot and let the mixture cool. Make sure the sweetener is completely dissolved into the tea.
If you're using a texture-enhancer like pureed fruit, milk, or yogurt, add it into the tea and mix well. If you want the popsicles to appear swirled or marbled, stop mixing before the color of the mixture is uniform.
Next, add in any desired mix-ins like fruit, nuts, or tapioca pearls. Pour the mixture into the popsicle molds. Note that some mix-ins will likely sink to the bottom of the molds.
Let the popsicles freeze completely. To remove the popsicles from the molds, run the molds under warm water for a few seconds and the popsicles should slide right out. Serve immediately and enjoy!