The warm weather is very nearly here! When the sunny days start to warrant a t-shirt and shorts, one of my favorite beverages to prepare is strong iced tea. Luckily, we have quite a few tips about how to make strong iced tea, so you can enjoy your loose leaf favorites year-round.
Hot Brew Iced Tea
The most familiar way to brew iced tea is to first steep the leaves in boiled water. If you have a glass pitcher, it is preferable to use. Plastic containers have the potential to absorb flavors from whatever they may have contained in the past and it’s not ideal to pass those flavors on to your iced tea.
For a hot brew, it’s great to use loose leaf tea. Letting the loose leaves float around in the hot water allows them to infuse the most flavor they can.
Tea bags may also be used for a hot brew. You’ll want to increase the amount of bags you would typically use so that the brew is very strong. A strong, hot brew means that the flavors will be retained nicely when it is poured over ice, which will slightly dilute the beverage as it melts into it.
Cold Brew Iced Tea
The cold brew iced tea method couldn’t be simpler. The idea is to just steep tea in cold water for many hours. Over that amount of time, the tea releases its flavors into the water. Cold brews are made in the refrigerator, so you just need to make a space for it on one of the fridge shelves.
One of the benefits of the cold brew is that you avoid getting that bitter tannic taste. Tannins are released more in a hot brew, swiftly drawn out by the just-boiled water. The slow process of cold brewing allows the flavors to seep out naturally over time—without any pressure from the heat-producing a smooth-tasting brew.
You’ll want to plan ahead if you’re using the cold brew process. Six to 12 hours in the fridge is an ideal amount of time to consider. Remember, this is a slow brew that rewards you with bright, fresh flavors, so don’t be in a rush for the magic to happen.
Loose leaf tea is, again, an ideal format of tea leaves to use when making a cold brew. The leaves have space to unfurl in the cold water and provide the most surface area for infusing. The loose leaves will need to be strained out before using. Tea bags are a little easier to manage in some cases, and there is no straining required.
Potent Brews: How to Make Strong Iced Tea
Getting the strength of the brew to your liking may take some experimenting. Remember that you’ll want to make your batch of iced tea quite a bit stronger than you may make your day-to-day cup of tea. This is because the beverage will get diluted when poured over ice and sipped slowly on the porch, patio, or apartment balcony.
To maintain those deliciously bright flavors in your iced tea, use at least 50% more tea than you would in a normal brew. You can play with the measurements each time you brew to discover what works and tastes best for you.
What Makes Good Iced Tea?
Now that we know more about how to make strong iced tea, let’s talk about what kind of tea to use.
I like to start with a black tea that features seasonal flavors. For example, the Strawberry Honeysuckle black tea. It’s a classic fruit-flavored tea paired with an uplifting floral aroma, creating a scrumptious combination. With accents of strawberry pieces, raspberry leaf, calendula, and honeysuckle essence, you can sip this tea and feel like you’re in your own secret garden.
Of course, herbal teas also make delightful iced tea beverages, so if you’re not one for caffeine, herbal tea is the ticket. The Good Morning Moringa herbal tea pairs moringa with lemony goodness—lemon, yuzu (a rare but incredibly fragrant and delicious Japanese citrus), and crisp lemongrass. Moringa is a plant with fast-growing popularity that is packed with wonderful nutrients.
I encourage you to play around on your own with these brewing techniques to see what works best for your taste buds. Whichever way you decide to brew your iced tea, it can bring you refreshment and relaxation whenever you need a pick-me-up. Enjoy!