Summer is here and it's hot out! There's no better way to beat the heat than with an icy cold refreshing glass of home-brewed iced tea! Here we show you what we think is the ultimate way to make a thirst-quenching glass of loose-leaf iced tea!
Choose Your Tea
You can make iced tea with practically any type of loose-leaf tea, but some types seem to make a tastier iced tea than others. If you're unsure of what to use, check out our recommended list of teas that are perfect for making that refreshing, cold glass of icy deliciousness.
Brew the Tea
There are a number of ways to brew tea, but we prefer using a French press when making iced tea. It's quick, easy, and can brew up a sufficient quantity of tea in one go. Brew your favorite tea at a ratio of 1:40 — loose-leaf tea : water — using boiling water in a French press. Brew seven minutes and then let cool.
The Cocktail Shaker
Pour the brewed tea into a cocktail shaker full of ice, add whatever flavoring you like, and shake for about 20 seconds. Then pour into a glass with some ice and enjoy! Shaking in a cocktail shaker creates a nice foamy head on the the iced tea, and seems to enhance the flavor.
The innovation of using a cocktail shaker to make iced teas began in the 1980's in Taiwan, when the founder of Taiwan's most popular tea house chain created his own original recipes. This "shaker tea" quickly gained popularity, generally referred to as "bubble tea" or "foam tea" (泡沫茶). This was further innovated upon when recipes using tapioca balls were introduced to make various concoctions of "pearl milk tea" (珍珠奶茶). When these recipes made their way to North America, "bubble tea" or "boba tea" became the English translation of "pearl milk tea" in Chinese.
One of the most basic things you can do with your iced tea is sweeten it. For sweeteners, we go for either honey or brown sugar. Of course any other sugar derivative or syrup is also an equally valid option. Honey adds some floral complexity, while brown sugar adds a touch of maltiness. Start off first with just a little bit of your sweetener of choice. Do a quick taste test using the cap of the cocktail shaker before adding more. Just a hint of sweetness is all you need to enhance the original tea flavor.
Tangy Iced Tea
In addition to sweeteners, or as an alternative, you can add fruit flavors. Lemon, grapefruit, and passionfruit are a few of the most popular choices here in Taiwan — the origin of shaken iced tea. Simply add a minimal amount of juice directly into the shaker before shaking.
A great way to prepare in advance is to put your fruit juice of choice into an ice cube tray and freeze it. Add one ice cube of the frozen juice per serving to the shaker with the regular ice. This allows you to have your favorite fruit flavor on hand anytime, without the hassle of having to squeeze it.
We encourage you to do your own exploring when making iced tea. Try different flavorings in differing amounts. If you don't have a cocktail shaker, but you have a blender device, get creative with that! It's the same basic idea: Hot brewed tea, chilled, and made frothy by shaking or blending. Add your own flavors when you like, but the degree of refreshment to be had from an unflavored quality loose leaf iced tea is hard to beat!
LET US KNOW!
Please leave a comment in the comments section below or leave any questions you may have about making loose-leaf iced tea.
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