Here at Tea Horse, we're big fans of iced tea when the sun's shining (and even when it's not!), and are delighted that Isle of Tea asked us to do a blog post about them.
Any tea can be made as an iced tea, the two main methods being either to brew it as normal and leave to cool, or to use the “cold brewing” method (more on that below). You can be creative and add fresh herbs, fruit or flavourings like lemon, basil, mint, peaches and ginger or strawberries. It’s so easy to have some fun experimenting with blending different teas to create your own refreshing and healthy drinks.
Generally we find that stronger flavoured teas are better suited to standing up to the first method Earl Grey, Assam black teas and fruit-based herbal teas being a few of our recommendations. Just brew them as normal using hot water, although slightly stronger than you would usually drink it, to bring out all the flavours. Then leave to cool to room temperature for half an hour and put in the fridge for at least two more so that it's lovely and refreshing when you come to drink it. You could also throw in a handful of ice cubes to cool it quicker (although remember that this will dilute the flavour very slightly).
The other method, cold brewing, is much as the name suggests â€“ cold water is poured over the tea leaves and they are left in the fridge for several hours, ideally overnight. It's well suited to delicately flavoured teas such as oolong and green teas, whose delicate compounds can be affected by heat. One study even found that cold-brewing tea imparts more antioxidants from white tea than hot brewing. We recommend you use a gram of tea per 100ml of water. Pop the tea and water into a bottle, jar or jug and leave overnight. Easy!
We love experimenting so much that we’ve actually created a special tea blend for iced tea G&Tea Blend. This is Japanese Sencha green tea blended with the botanicals used in gin, including juniper, lemon peel, coriander seed, angelica root and cardamom. The idea for the blend was from Michelle, who was one of the winners of a competition we ran to create a new tea blend. She loved the idea of a non-alcoholic gin iced tea, and so did we! We've developed a recipe for you to try at home, tasting just like an alcohol-free gin and tonic. Perfect for the designated driver!
G& Iced Tea
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
500ml water 2 tbs Tea Horse G&Tea Blend loose tea 6 tsp sugar (or to taste) 2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice 250ml Tonic water Plenty of ice
Start by putting two tablespoons of G&Tea Blend into a pestle and mortar or heavy glass or porcelain bowl. Using the pestle or the back of a spoon, crush the berries and seeds gently to bring out their aromas without crushing the leaves, which you should try and keep whole.
Boil 500ml of water and allow it to cool for around four minutes, to bring the water down to 80ÂºC, which is important to avoid making the tea bitter. A quicker way of doing this is pouring the boiled water into an empty jug or teapot, which will bring the temperature down by around 10-15ÂºC.
Pour the cooled water over the tea leaves and leave to infuse for five minutes. Be careful not to over-brew or it could turn bitter.
When the infusion time has passed, strain the G&Tea Blend tea into a jug. Add six teaspoons of sugar and two teaspoons of lime juice (more or less or either to taste) and stir to dissolve. Add ice cubes to cool it down, or leave it to stand in the fridge until the tea is cooled completely.
Half fill a glass with the iced tea, add a few ice cubes and a slice of lemon, then top up with tonic water and enjoy.
With a few people we know doing Go Sober for October, these tasty drinks could very easily be a mocktail or enjoyed if you are the designated driver for the evening when the festive season gets into full swing. Or if you fancy, maybe take appropriate drinking containers along to a sauna, or hop in a giant bubbly bath or snuggled up in blankets (and very thick gloves) next to a fire and enjoy your iced tea. Failing that... you could pop over to the Tea Horse Shop and purchase one of their tasty teas you brew with hot water!!
Tea Horse is obsessed with loose leaf tea and its wonderful flavours and varieties, and we believe that everyone should experience all it has to offer. Our Taster Boxes allow you to sample and discover new teas - each month, we choose a theme to help us to curate an exciting and varied selection for you, then we taste lots of teas to find the best, we package them up beautifully and post them out to you at the end of every month. We also sell packs of loose leaf tea and a selection of beautiful and functional tea pots, cups, mugs and tea accessories. Come and pay us a visit at our website!