Alternative Teas and Brewing Methods for Iced Tea

Summer is still sweltering with temperatures reaching well above 90ļ in many parts of the United States and lots of us are reaching for that cool, refreshing glass of iced tea. In fact, approximately 85% of all the tea consumed in the United States is iced. With so much of the thirst-quenching beverage being consumed, I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the different teas and methods you can use to make iced tea.

Letís begin by establishing that all teas can be served iced. While many tea connoisseurs would never consider icing certain teas, that doesnít mean that you canít! When choosing a tea to serve iced donít box yourself into traditional thinking, such as black teas or herbal blends, but consider green and white teas. Both make wonderful, soothing, cold drinks. Most often overlooked as a consideration for iced tea are oolongs. This awesome category of tea yields a wide range of flavor profiles, character and benefits.

One of the house favorites for icing is the Fanciest Formosa. This dark oolong imparts depth and character with a bit of a fruit undertone. Fully oxidized, this oolong boosts the bodyís metabolic rate, aids in digestion and alleviates the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.

If you prefer a mild, less oxidized oolong, try the Green Dragon Oolong. Because of the minimal oxidation, this oolong is similar in character to green tea with a distinct, natural floral note. Which ever you choose, oolong teas are not to be missed for icing in these final dog days of summer.

Now letís look at the choices you have when considering preparation. In addition to the traditional brewing method (boil your water and brew the leaves), you can also try sun tea and cold brewing.

To prepare sun tea you will need;
  1. A glass jar or container, preferably with a top so nothing can land or crawl into your tea
  2. 4-6 tablespoons of premium loose-leaf tea

  3. (Organic Moroccan Mint and Darjeeling White tea are excellent choices)
  4. 8 cups of cold water
Place tea leaves in the container, pour the water on top and place the container in bright sun light for approximately 2 hours. When the tea is ready (see the visual description chart below), remove the leaves and serve over ice.

The other method of preparation is cold brewing. With this method, the cold water draws out or pulls the flavor from the leaf as opposed to hot water, used in traditional brewing, which pushes the flavor from the leaf. Subsequently, cold infusion is a much slower, gentle method that results in a smooth, more subtle, naturally sweet tasting tea. This type of brewing is terrific for oolong teas, (especially the Fanciest Formosa), Puíerh tea, and black teas like the Ceylon Kandy.

To prepare a cold infusion you will need;
  1. A glass jar or container with a top
  2. 4-6 tablespoons of premium loose-leaf tea

  3. 8 cups of cold water
Poured water over the tea leaves and place the container in the refrigerator for 8-10 hours. When the tea is ready, remove the leaves and enjoy.

One word of caution, brewed tea has a shelf life! Not only can bacteria begin to form but time and exposure diminish the health benefits. For best results, adhere to the following:
Tea stored at room temperature should be kept no longer than 2 days.
Tea stored in the refrigerator should be kept no longer than 3 days.

Visual Description for Brewed Tea
Black Tea Dark brown / red liquor
Dark Oolong Tea Medium brown / amber liquor
Green Oolong Tea Medium to light yellow / green liquor
White Tea Medium to light amber liquor
Green Tea Medium to light yellow / green liquor

More Teas for Icing
History of Iced Tea

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Beth Johnston, a tea importer and noted tea expert, publishes an informative monthly newsletter on tea, tea history, health and lifestyle enhancements. To learn more about the world of tea, join her free newsletter at http://www.TeasEtc.com/Newsletter.asp or visit http://www.TeasEtc.com.

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