The Perfect Iced Tea (Safe Summer at Home #2)

Updated: Jun 30

Hey, everyone! I’ve got a fun recipe to share with you today. Even better, this post will be updated with a step-by-step video and some lovely pics!





It's summer once again! Though there is a certain worldwide pandemic preventing me (all of us, really) from safely engaging in a lot of traditional seasonal activities, what I can do is kick back and relax in the backyard with my siblings, a good book or a Zoom call with some friends, and some summer tunes. The heat is on, and my thirst can only be quenched by a tall glass of fresh, homemade iced tea.


Though iced coffee and iced tea both share a special place in my heart, too much caffeine is not ideal once it hits, like, 2 o'clock. Once I clock out, I'm looking for something mellow, some chill vibes for summer nights. Today, I'll share with you my method for making a pitcher of the perfect iced tea, along with some suggestions for how best to serve and enjoy it!


So. What makes the perfect iced tea perfect? Options. Choices. Customization. I can promise that the only thing keeping you from liking this iced tea is trying it!





What do you need?

  • At least 1 pitcher, 64-oz capacity or more

  • Tea

  • Fine mesh strainer (if using loose leaf tea)

  • Glasses for serving

  • Ice for serving

  • Sweetener of choice

  • Fresh fruit, fresh herbs, edible flowers (optional)


The first step is to pick a flavor. Do you want green tea? Black tea? White tea? Herbal? Floral? Fruity? Black tea is plain and simple, the gold standard, but today, I decided to mix it up and try a new fruity herbal flavor I found while picking up a prescription: Teavana's Beach Bellini. I got tea bags, but you can also use loose leaf tea. For a 64-oz. (8 cups) pitcher of water, you would want to use 4 bags for a weaker iced tea and 8 bags for a stronger iced tea. In terms of loose leaf, that's 1 tablespoon per bag, meaning 4 tablespoons for a weaker brew and 8 for a stronger one. Bags are easiest and fastest, but if you make your own tea blends or buy them from local makers, you can get the most creative, delicious flavors! It's also easier to buy loose leaf of your favorite blends in bulk. My personal favorite tea shop is Tea and Absinthe, who specializes in fandom-inspired tisanes, teas, and infusions.


The next step? Brewing. You could brew the tea as one usually would, let it cool, and pour it over ice, but I have two methods that I think allow for a sweeter, mellower flavor to come through.


Method 1: Sun Tea

  1. Place your tea in a large pitcher. Tea bags can be placed directly in the container with the tags cut off. For loose leaf, you may want another clean pitcher ready, the same size or larger, and a fine mesh strainer.

  2. Add 64 ounces of cool water and cover the pitcher.

  3. Place the pitcher in a sunny spot, or even outdoors on the patio.

  4. Let sit between 4 hours and 24 hours.

  5. If using loose leaf, pour tea through strainer into new container.

  6. Refrigerate pitcher 2 hours before serving and pour desired amount into glass filled with ice.


Lighter teas (herbal, floral, white) may benefit more from this method to strengthen the flavor with the addition of heat.


Method 2: Cold Brew

  1. Place your tea in a large pitcher. Tea bags can be placed directly in the container with the tags cut off. For loose leaf, you may want another clean pitcher ready, the same size or larger, and a fine mesh strainer.

  2. Add 64 ounces of cool water and cover the pitcher.

  3. Place the pitcher in the fridge between 4 hours and 24 hours.

  4. If using loose leaf, pour tea through strainer into new container.

  5. Serve by pouring into glasses filled with ice.


I like to leave the tea bags in when serving to keep the flavor strong, but some may find that too bitter.


If you'd like to sweeten the whole pitcher, go ahead! You can also just sweeten individual servings. You can use sugar, sugar dissolved into a simple syrup, honey, agave nectar, fruit juice, maple syrup, stevia, monkfruit, erythritol, Splenda... The options are limitless. I use Nunaturals clear liquid stevia extract as my sweetener of choice. Just a few drops and the whole pitcher's ready! Once my stevia plants grow big enough, I can use the leaves directly in the sun tea brewing process!


That's the basic tea setup, but what if you want to get ~fancy~? I got you.


If you have a garden, bust out those fresh herbs and edible flowers (rose, hibiscus, buttercups, lavender, etc. Always do the research first!). Grab some fresh fruit. Let's get creative! If your herbs and flowers are fresh from your garden, wash them well! Soak them for at least half an hour in warm water with some salt sprinkled on top to weigh down the dirt and sediment. Rinse well with more warm water and veggie wash. Rinse again with cool water and set aside.


Wash your fruit also--we're keeping the skin on! A short soak in veggie wash and warm water works wonders. Rinse well with running warm water. Which fruits should you choose? Sliced citrus pairs especially well. Muddled berries? Amazing. Sliced mango? Chunks of pineapple? Yes and yes. Feeling peachy? Slice 'em up! The sky's the limit. Go wild. It's like sangria!


For my tea today, I added some sprigs of mint, some chunks of pineapple that I froze, and some orange slices to compliment the tropical flavors in the tea blend. You'll want to let your additions sit in the brew for a while to further impart their flavor onto the mixture. Fruity iced tea, infused with mint and fruit, is probably THE most refreshing drink on a hot summer's day.


What's that? Want to spice things up even more? Now we're talking...


Boba!

Boil 1/3 cup store-bought tapioca bubbles until they all are floating to the top of the pot. Remove with a strainer, place in glass with liquid sweetener/syrup, add ice, and pour unsweetened tea on top. Mix well to sweeten.


Tea spritzer mocktail!

Top off your glass with some seltzer! Unflavored sparkling water works, but you can also choose a complimentary flavor. Love me some orange mango Spindrift!


Cocktail!

Add your favorite clear liquor. I'm partial to vodka. How much? Up to you! Flavored? Sure! Pick a complimentary flavor. Make it the best of both worlds and top it off with seltzer. Go for a triple and make a boozy bubble tea spritzer!


Now that you know what to do, go forth and make yourself a tall glass of the perfect iced tea! Let me know how it goes in the comments. As for me, I'm off to hold my own personal tea party!




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