Iced or hot, black tea has many health benefits. Before sweetening, it’s calorie-free, and it contains flavonoids, which are beneficial for heart health. We’ve prepared a list of iced tea recipes for you to try at home.
There are probably thousands of different variations on the classic iced tea. We will show you how to make the perfect iced tea, along with some iced tea recipe ideas that will make you welcome the hottest of summer days!
Iced tea (referred to by some as “ice tea”) is a cooled version of tea, the most popular drink in the world following water. The art of making tea and serving it has been celebrated for millennia, as epitomized by the elaborate Japanese tea ceremony, a ritual that embraces beauty, hospitality, and grace. Iced tea conjures up images of verandas and long-handled teaspoons swirling around in tall glasses.
Iced or hot, black tea (which is the basis for most standard iced tea bags for brewing) has many health benefits. Before sweetening, it’s calorie-free, and it contains flavonoids, which are beneficial for heart health.
Unlike empty-calorie sodas, studies show that regularly drinking black tea may help reduce the risk of heart disease. If you’re watching your weight or diabetic, tea sweetened with stevia or Equal is better than fruit juices, many of which not only contain calories but also often contain added sugar. You may also be keen on learning how to make ice tea when you consider that black tea contains polyphenols, which can help you maintain a healthy gut by simultaneously encouraging good bacteria to flourish and preventing the growth of bad bacteria. Not only that, but according to Healthline, black tea may even help you prevent the risk of stroke!
How to Make Iced Tea
There are secrets about how to make tea that’s ideally suited for sipping on a hot day. Here are some tips on what to do and what to avoid that will make you a pro:
- Avoid steeping tea for too long, or your tea will become tannic and bitter.
- Add sugar while the tea is still hot, or it won’t dissolve quickly and evenly.
- Use filtered water for the cleanest taste.
- Using glass containers is preferable to plastic or metal for iced tea.
- Learning how to make iced tea with tea bags instead of powdered tea will make a superior drink.
Cold Brew Tea
Recently “cold brew” iced tea bags have garnered interest. This type of tea is often made with a proprietary process that makes brewing tea possible with just cold water (no boiling water required). The benefit of this is that you avoid the bitter tannins that are released when you steep tea in boiling water. Because it’s less bitter, less sugar is required.
Because of the cold brew phenomenon, you can find many cold brew green tea in bottles at health food stores or make your own with cold brew green tea bags by Twinings. For a twist, try adding some lightly crushed, fresh lemon verbena leaves.
Here’s a recipe for cold brew iced tea that you can make with any tea bags of your choice. Once you master the perfect iced tea, you can go on to make several variations to keep it lively.
50/50 Cold Brew Tea
- Select a mix of half black tea and half herbal tea bags. Place 5 teabags of each type in an 8-cup glass container.
- Cover the teabags with 8 cups of cold, filtered water.
- Cover the container and refrigerate for between 8 to 12 hours. (If you’re in a hurry, you can get by with 4 hours.)
- Remove the tea bags, squeezing them gently to release the remaining liquid.
- Dilute and sweeten with simple syrup for classic Sweet Tea, stevia, or your favorite sweetener.
Note: Since the tea won’t be hot, you won’t be able to dissolve sugar directly into it. Instead, make a simple syrup of equal parts sugar and water (see below). Use between 1/3–1/2 cup of simple syrup for 8 cups of tea.
- You can serve over ice, with lemon or orange sections, or fresh sprigs of mint if you like.
- Tie a cluster of 4 English tea bags to the handle of a large pitcher.
- Pour 3 cups of hot water over the tea bags and let steep for 5-10 minutes.
- Make Lemonade as follows: Combine 2 cups of Simple Syrup, 1 cup lemon juice, zest of 1 lemon, and 2 cups of ice cubes in a blender. Pulse to puree.
- Place Lemonade in the freezer until the tea has finished steeping. Fill a large glass with several ice cubes and fill three-quarters of the way up with cooled tea.
- Add slushy Lemonade to the glass with an ice cream scoop.
- Add equal parts sugar and water to a medium saucepan.
- Heat to a low boil and then allow syrup to simmer until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Remove pan from heat and let cool completely.
Apple Iced Tea
Make your favorite black tea as an iced tea and combine 3 parts tea to 1 part pure apple juice. Garnish with apple slices for extra appeal.
Russian Iced Tea
- 2 cups of sugar
- 2-3 cinnamon sticks
- 3-4 oranges
- 3 lemons
- 3 cups pineapple juice
- 5 black tea bags
- Add sugar and cinnamon sticks to 1 quart of water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Set aside to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the zest from the oranges and lemons. Squeeze the citrus fruits and add the juice and zest to the pot with sugar water.
- Allow the mixture to cook 5 additional minutes.
- Remove from heat and strain.
- Pour 2 cups of boiling water over tea bags and let steep and then cool.
- Remove tea bags and mix tea with fruit juices and 2 quarts of cold water.