A tall glass of ice-cold tea, with fresh mint and lemon slices, 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!
Some of the best iced tea recipes combine herbal teas, green teas, or fruit teas with added ingredients to make a delicious sweet drink. There are no restrictions on the variety of teas that can be used to make this refreshing and thirst-quenching drink.
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SUMMER TEA SHOP
The sun is shining, birds are singing, and you're ready to spend summer days lounging in your backyard. And what's a better accessory to summer lounging than a cool glass of iced tea? Sips by has the summer iced teas, teaware, and tea accessories to make your own personal tea oasis.
What Kind of Tea Is Iced Tea?
If you’re wondering what type of tea is iced tea - the answer is all kinds of tea! Iced tea can be made out of regular tea bags and loose leaf tea, or large tea bags made specifically for pitchers of iced tea. Black tea is commonly used for iced tea, but white tea, green tea, and oolong tea also work particularly well over ice without losing flavor integrity or aroma. Some herbal teas - particularly fruit and hibiscus blends - are very refreshing iced. Regardless, all tea types will make for lovely iced teas!
How to Make Iced Tea
There are a few different ways to make any tea iced, and both hot and cold brewing techniques can be used to make iced tea. The classic way is to make iced tea from hot tea, by steeping a cup of hot tea and pouring it over ice. If you’re using this method, you should double the amount of tea you would normally use so it doesn’t get watered down. Another method is to chill strong tea by placing it in the fridge. However, chilling hot-brewed tea in the fridge can result in unwanted bitterness. Cold brewing by putting a tea bag in cold water can help to retain sweetness and fuller flavor when making iced tea.
There are other ways to make iced tea that don’t require boiling water, but do take a little extra time. Try making sun tea, a delightfully nostalgic method using only a pitcher of water (with a lid!), tea bags, and the sun. Pour over ice after your tea has steeped for 3-5 hours in the sun. Or, try kouridashi, a Japanese ice brew method for a luxurious, smoother flavor. All you need to do is fill a glass with ice and sprinkle over it with loose leaf tea - watch your tea steep as the ice melts!
How to Make Sweet Iced Tea
Unsweetened tea is flavorful and refreshing, but iced sweet tea at summer gatherings are truly blissful. When preparing iced tea, you can choose your preference of unsweetened tea or sweet tea. If you're looking to drink iced sweet tea, there are quite a few different sweeteners 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 its natural sweetness. Honey is another excellent candidate, since it complements the flavor of most teas while adding a subtle sweet fruitiness, and has numerous health benefits. Agave nectar is similar to honey and works well, too.
Brown sugar, molasses, and maple syrup are underrated sweetening agents that can give your iced tea more body and depth. Simple syrups are easy to make 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 peach oolong tea, apple green tea, or grape black tea are a few delicious examples. When making iced tea, a splash of lemonade can bring some sugar and lemon flavor to any iced sweet tea. And of course, you can always stir in a spoonful of sugar for a classic sweet tea.
To prepare a light sweet tea, start with one teaspoon of your favorite sugar or sweetener for a glass of iced tea, or a ¼ cup for a large pitcher of iced tea. Or, if you really have a sweet tooth, add additional teaspoons to your glass to taste, and an extra ¼ cup of sweetener to your pitcher.
Best Tea for Iced Tea
Now we know that all teas can be iced, which teas are the most delicious iced? Black tea is the iced tea go-to because it’s sturdy enough to hold up when poured over ice. However, we also recommend trying an iced oolong green tea or fruity iced tea. Oolong tea falls between green tea and black tea in character, giving it a lightly floral taste when iced. Also, a fruit-infused tea like a peach tea or mango tea will add a naturally sweet note to a cool cup of iced tea. An iced mint tea can bring some minty freshness to your cup. If you want to try out several different types of iced tea to discover what you like best, try this Iced Tea Box. For those who fall in love with fruity iced tea, we recommend the Peach Tea Collection so you can make the perfect pitcher of iced tea all summer long.
Try more refreshing teas for iced tea with your own Sips by Box.
Take It Further
You can create your own twist on the traditional iced tea recipe by adding extracts (vanilla, almond, maple, etc.) or spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc.) directly into your brewed tea. You can even try including other additional ingredients to your loose tea blend before steeping like in this Peach Oolong Iced Tea or Pom-Oolong Iced Tea. Here are some other ideas to adjust your iced tea recipe that you can experiment with!
- Herbs: muddled mint, basil, lavender, rosemary
- Fruits: muddled or slivered berries, raspberries, peach, citrus, pineapple
- Roots and flowers: ginger, dandelion, honeysuckle, rose hip
- Sweeteners: stevia leaves
Summer Fun Iced Tea Recipes
Now that you’ve learned you can make any tea iced, unsweetened or as sweet tea, did you know that you can make anything with iced tea? When you don’t feel like drinking your iced tea but still want a refreshing snack or drink, try these warm-weather recipes using iced tea or these ice cold ways to enjoy tea that are perfect for every summer occasion - from picnics, pool parties, and barbecues, to relaxing self-care staycations.
For a refreshing snack that’s still in the spirit of summer, learn how to turn any tea into a popsicle and make some creative flavor combos. Use leftover iced tea (try a fruity herbal blend!) and freeze for a delicious treat. If you want a more substantial snack, use iced tea in your favorite smoothie recipe instead of water or milk. The added health benefits from the tea will take your smoothie to the next level. Or, try out this Deep Detox Iced Tea with added mint, cucumber, and lemon for a crisp and cleansing summertime drink.
Now that you've read everything you need to know about iced tea, follow our iced tea recipe to make some of your own!
How to Make Iced Tea
Makes 4 glasses // Prep Time: 3 minutes // Active Time: 5 minutes
What You'll Need
- Your favorite tea! Not sure what tea to use? Check out our Iced Tea Favorites Shop to discover your perfect iced tea.
- 8 cups of water (2 quarts)
- Sweetener (optional, amount to taste)
- Extracts/spices (optional, amount to taste)
- Herbs/fruits/flowers (optional, amount to taste)
Add herbs, fruit, flowers, and/or stevia leaves to the tea leaves or tea blend before brewing for additional flavor, if desired.
To make iced tea from hot tea, boil your water in a kettle or pot on the stove. Steep 4-6 tea bags/sachets or 3-6 tablespoons of loose leaf tea in the water for 3-5 minutes. This might sound like too much tea, but doubling the amount you normally use will make your tea twice as strong. This ensures that the dilution from melting ice cubes won't make your tea taste watery. To cold brew tea, simply skip heating up your water. Instead, steep your tea in cold water and leave in the fridge overnight.
If you are brewing with hot water, use a tea filter to strain any loose leaves or remove the tea bags after the steeping time is up. Stir in sugar or a sweetener of your choice, 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.
Add any extracts or spices to the chilled, sweetened tea (both hot and cold-brewed) and immediately pour into a glass over ice. Garnish with a lemon slice. Iced tea will stay fresh in your fridge for 3-5 days. Enjoy - and let us know your favorite iced tea recipes in the comments below!
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
ICED TEA BOX
Summertime, and the sippin’s easy. If you believe, like we do, that tea is amazing all year ‘round, make the most out of summer tea with the Iced Tea Box! It’s filled with fun and fruity tea blends to support all your outdoor activities, or for sitting on the porch and sipping with a nice book.
About Sips by: We’re a female-founded and led startup that makes discovering tea fun, personalized, and affordable. The Sips by Box is the only multi-brand, personalized tea subscription box. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Based out of Austin, Texas, we are adept at savoring a hot mug even when it’s seasonally inappropriate.