Freshen Up Your Day With Some Simple Iced Teas

Iced Tea Iced Tea is a wonderful go-to drink for over the summer, enjoyed by everyone both young and old.  My first introduction to iced tea that didn't come out of a pre-made can or bottle came from my lovely...

Iced Tea
Iced Tea

Iced Tea is a wonderful go-to drink for over the summer, enjoyed by everyone both young and old.  My first introduction to iced tea that didn't come out of a pre-made can or bottle came from my lovely aunt in California who served an earthy tea with a citrus zing to it as we sat under her majestic old pepper tree.

There are three basic methods for brewing iced tea:

  • Boil a portion of the water and brew a strong tea, diluting it with other ingredients before serving. If you need tea in for guests in 15 minutes, it's best to go with this option, as the other two methods take significantly longer.
  • Steep the tea by placing water and teabags in a transparent jar and allow it to sit in the sun for several hours. This method doesn't require you to heat up the stove on a hot day, but how long the tea takes to steep will depend on how much sun the jar is absorbing.  It could be as little time as an hour, or as long as six hours.
  • Allow the tea to slowly steep in the fridge overnight.  The third method takes the longest amount of time and takes up space in the fridge, but guarantees your tea is always cold, even if you run out of ice.

All of these methods make perfectly delicious tea, so feel free to do whichever is easiest for you.  To give you some ideas to get started, here are recipes using each of the options and a little twist on an iced tea from Thailand.

Aunt Ginny's Tea

Makes approximately 1 gallon of tea

  • 4 black tea bags
  • 3 cups water room temp
  • 3 quarts cold water
  • 1 12 oz can orange soda

In a medium pan, heat the 3 cups of water to boiling.  Once the water boils, remove from heat, and allow the tea bags to steep for 3-4 minutes. You want the tea to be very strong, because you will be diluting it with the other ingredients.  In a large gallon-sized pitcher, combine the cold water and orange soda.  Once the tea is steeped, add it in and stir.  You can immediately pour the tea over ice, or allow it to chill.  The tea will be lightly sweet, but not over powering.  You could also use raspberry seltzer, lemonade, or limeade in place of the orange soda.

Sun Tea

Sun Tea works best with black teas, because you can easily see whether the tea has darkened to a drinkable color.

  • 1/2 gallon (or larger) clear, lidded container. Many stores now sell jars with a spout specifically for this purpose.
  • 2 teabags (4 if using larger container)
  • 1 thinly sliced sliced lemon

This recipe is totally easy.  Combine the ingredients in the jar, fill it with water, put on the lid, place it in the sun.  About four hours later, enjoy your tea!  This will make an unsweetened tea that you can add sugar or your favorite sugar substitute to when you serve.

Iced Mint Green Tea

Mint Iced Tea
Mint Iced Tea

I love making an iced mint green tea in the fridge.  As long is it has the time to chill overnight, it comes out as one of the most refreshing drinks I know of, and the recipe really is crazy-simple.

Place the tea bags in the pitcher with the water, allow it to chill overnight, and enjoy!  You can sweeten it to taste if you like, but I find with the mint it usually doesn't need it.

 Thai Iced Tea

 Thai Iced Tea is sweet, cool and refreshing on a hot summer day.  Instead of paying $3.50 or more for this popular drink at a restaurant, you can make it at home with just a few ingredients.  With this simple recipe, you may find yourself making it daily because it disappears fast.

Ingredients:

  • Ice
  • Milk or cream (half & half, sweetened condensed milk, whole milk, or coconut milk)

Thai Tea Mix:

  • 1 cup Pantai Thai Tea Mix
  • 4 cups Water
  • 3/4 cup Sugar

Thai Iced Tea with and without milk
Thai Iced Tea with and without milk

Directions:

Thai Tea Mix directions:

  1. Add the Thai Tea* mix and sugar to boiling water.
  2. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Gently boil for 3 minutes.  Pull from heat.
  4. Allow to steep for 30 minutes.
  5. After you have steeped tea mix for 30 minutes, strain the tea leaves.
  6. Set finished Thai tea aside to cool.

*In order to get the pretty orange Thai Tea color, you will need to use an authentic Thai Tea Mix.

Assembly directions:

  1. Fill glasses with ice.
  2. Fill glass with about 3/4 full of the Thai tea mix. Then top off remainder of glass with half and half or other milk product.
  3. Stir and enjoy.

Tips:

  • make ahead of time and refrigerate
  • adjust sugar amounts to your own tastes
  • adjust or use different types of cream
  • try different kinds of Thai tea mixes

Have fun and enjoy playing around with this recipe and seeing what flavors and tastes you can come up with.

Having great iced tea at home really is just that easy.   If you have questions or want more summer iced tea tips, contact us here at Cilantro Cooks! Visit our Tea & Coffee section on the website for a wide selection of loose leaf tea as well as packed tea.