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Whether you are a big fan of sweet tea or a green tea lover, it doesn’t matter: iced tea always gets just right—especially in summer. "In the hot summer, when you crave coolness, iced tea is a good refreshing drink," said Emily Ackerman, Lebanese-American food blogger and founder of A Pinch of Adventure . "It is versatile and fits almost any palette, while providing you with a little energy without causing you to consume too much caffeine."
But iced tea is not only popular in hot weather-it is the first choice of many people, no matter the season. According to the American Tea Association, besides water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. More than half of the American population drinks tea, and about 80% of tea drinkers prefer iced to hot.
For those who want a delicious iced tea, you usually have two options: homemade or store bought. Whether you want to make your own tea or buy some tea from a bottle, we have discussed with experts the best way to make iced tea and collected some highly rated pre-made options.
SKIP AHEAD Iced Tea Accessories | The best bottled iced tea
In short, iced tea is an ordinary tea brewed and served on ice cubes after refrigeration. American Tea Association Chairman Peter Goggi explained that since most of the tea consumed in the United States is iced tea, consumers are "increasingly driven by the diversity, convenience, health benefits, sustainability, and availability of iced tea." In addition, he pointed out that more and more people are turning to tea because they focus on adding more plants to their diet, and refreshing iced tea fits this trend in summer. "This is the perfect drink-calorie-free, refreshing, and good for you," he added.
According to Goggi, “real” teas are derived from tea plant plants, including black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, and dark tea. "Real tea is associated with countless health benefits," he said.
According to food blogger and recipe developer Christina Musgrave, when making homemade iced tea, you can choose from three brewing methods:
Our experts shared some of their iced tea making essentials, depending on the brewing method you use.
Goggi describes himself as a traditionalist when drinking tea-when making tea, he likes his Chantal teapot. This 2-quart kettle is made of magnetic carbon steel, has an enamel finish and a flat bottom, which speeds up the heating time and is compatible with all cooktops. In addition, Goggi pointed out that the kettle "will make a good whistle when the water is boiling, and the size of the teapot fits my cup."
If you can splurge, professional chef and food stylist Carla Contreras recommends that you invest in this 1.7-liter stainless steel electric kettle. She explained that different teas have different temperatures and they are most suitable for drinking, so having an electric kettle with a thermometer is a major benefit. This cordless kettle has six preset heating settings and a 30-minute "keep warm" setting, suitable for busy mornings or enjoying multiple cups.
This is Contreras' first choice when processing loose leaf tea. This large-capacity mesh filter has two handles that can be easily placed on the edge of a standard mug or kettle without falling into it or floating like other tea balls.
This leak-proof water tank has a durable sealed lid that can be shaken and stored on its side in a narrow refrigerator without worrying about spilling. It is available in 1 quart and 2 quart sizes, and the durable Tritan body can withstand various temperatures from boiling to freezing. "This pitcher is great for any of these three methods because it is made specifically for iced tea and does not contain BPA," Musgrave explained.
These 16-ounce wide-mouth glass jars are the most commonly used containers in the Contreras kitchen. Speaking of tea, she said that this set of 12 multifunctional works works well because you can put hot tea in it to cool down or use them outdoors to make sun tea. "Be careful when handling hot jars, or let them cool down before moving them," she pointed out.
For larger options, Ackerman recommended this 2 liter mason jar option with a clamp lid for making large batches of sun tea. "It's very basic, but it works well," she added.
In order to make the perfect ice cubes and refresh the homemade iced tea, Contreras uses this silicone tray to make large chunks of lemon juice. "When they are added to iced tea, they are delicious and refreshing-when they melt, they give the tea a flavor," she said. "Simply squeeze the lemons, make sure to remove the seeds and add the juice of a lemon or half a lemon." She freezes the BPA-free tray overnight and takes out the easy-to-remove 2-inch cubes in the morning.
When you are ready to serve the iced tea, Contreras recommends that in addition to the decoration of your choice, you can also drink it with a glass straw. She prefers these eight packs of reusable glass straws because they look beautiful and are easy to clean. In addition, these BPA-free and dishwasher-safe straws offer straight and curved options and cleaning brushes.
Although homemade iced tea is great, you may not always have the time or motivation to make it. When you want to buy and go, consider one of these beloved bottle options.
This sweetened lemon black tea is available in a single bottle and up to 48 packs. It is made from real tea leaves and contains no artificial sweeteners. It is also available in a sugar-free version and is one of the most popular bottled options on the Musgrave market. "This iced tea is very refreshing, very sweet, and very suitable for hot summer days," she said.
Another brand that Musgrave likes to buy is Tazo, because it offers a variety of delicious bottled ice teas. "From ordinary iced black tea to peaches and passion fruit, the wide variety of flavors makes it a great choice for those who want more flavors and don't make [ice tea] at home," she said. If you find a flavor you like and are ready to start making larger batches of products yourself, they also offer iced tea bags for home brewing.
When Jessica Formicola of Savory Experiments wanted to buy a pre-made bottle, he chose this organic gluten-free iced tea. This is a real brewed tea, made from fair trade certified green tea leaves, cane sugar and honey from China and India, with a hint of sweetness.
If Ackerman is in a hurry and has no time to make sun tea, she likes the lemon-flavored sun-brewed Arizona iced tea on hand. "This is the next best choice for home-brewed sun tea," she explained. This truly brewed iced tea contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, and is available in cans and bottles, depending on your preference.
This zero-calorie, unsweetened tea is made from certified organic whole leaf green tea, infused with jasmine flowers, and rich in antioxidants. Contreras likes this jasmine tea because it has a light and refreshing taste, and there are 12 packs in a 16.9-ounce bottle, which makes it easy to take and use on busy days.
Yes, you can simply buy pre-made iced tea, but there is something worth mentioning about making iced tea at home-in addition to the long-term financial savings.
Ackerman explained that tea may mean different things to different people based on growth experience, and there are many different methods of making tea. "An amazing but overlooked method of making tea is to use the actual sun. .Yes, Sun Tea," she said. "This method of making tea is relatively easy, provided that there is enough time to make the tea and the sun is out."
Lipton or Luzianne black tea is Ackerman's first choice for making sun tea, but it ultimately depends on personal preference. "Remember, dark tea with caffeine works best," she points out. After you choose the tea bags purchased in your favorite store, she explains that you only need a large mason jar. When you are done, do the following:
"The sun will give you the best tea," she said. "When you are ready to serve tea, just pour it with ice."
Jessica Formicola of Savory Experiments grew up with her mother and used this method of letting the sun heat the tea. "I clearly remember the large glass containers bathed in the sun on our terrace, but this did not provide enough heat to really make the tea bloom completely," she pointed out. "You will eventually need to add more, such as sugar or lemon, to get a rich flavor." To prevent this, she recommends that you start with hot water-but don't boil it-for maximum flavor.
When Goggi makes iced tea, he said that he always follows the "four golden rules" to achieve delicious results:
Then, just pour the tea on ice cubes (use a strainer if you use loose tea), then decorate and add sugar to taste a delicious iced tea. Formicola suggests that if you have time, let the temperature slowly decrease naturally. "Add hot water, let it sit for an hour to cool on its own, and then put it in the refrigerator," she said.
To prevent your tea from diluting, she also recommends freezing some tea in ice cube trays. "Add ice tea cubes to your cup to keep it cold, instead of ordinary ice cubes, which will dilute the taste of your hard work," she said.
For large amounts of iced tea, Goggi recommends boiling 1 quart of cold water and adding 8-10 tea bags per quart of brewed tea as needed.
If you want to make sweet iced tea, the best way—according to Musgrave—is to use simple syrup instead of pure sugar. "This will dissolve better in the tea and eliminate the sugar at the bottom of the glass," she said. "Just add a simple syrup and stir well before serving."
Finally, she recommends using fresh basil or mint to add freshness, and adding berries or citrus slices to increase flavor. “For an impressive ice tea display, freeze your favorite berries in ice cubes and put them in the tea,” she added.
The difference between teabag tea and loose tea lies in the size and shape of the leaves. According to Goggi, tea bags provide convenience and reproducibility, while loose tea allows you to try individual teas or blend your own teas.
However, Goggi warned not to fall into the trap of thinking that all loose teas are good or that all tea bags are not good. He found that some of the most expensive teas in the world are smaller in size. "You should judge a tea according to your own preferences-some people like smoky flavor (such as Lapsang Souchong from China), some like light and bright (such as Sri Lankan or South Indian tea), and some like thick and rich ( Such as a tea from North India or East Africa) [some people like] red and clear iced tea (for example [from] Argentina or Malawi)," he said. "You need to try different teas to explore the many varieties and find your favorite tea."
Formicola said that when buying loose tea and tea bags, smell is the biggest indicator of whether the tea has deteriorated. “More smell means more taste,” she explained, noting that “choosing good teas is really challenging, mainly because they are packaged in colorful airtight bags to maintain their quality, so you might see Not these things."
Even if the store has a sample, she said it might have been picked up and touched, so the actual product might be better. This is a place where online shopping can be helpful for picking tea. "Check the reviews-you can't smell it, but after you find a brand you like, you will most likely get the same quality from every order," she said. "However, I do not recommend ordering bulk tea in bulk because it will deteriorate quickly."
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Lauren Levy is a contributor whose work has been published on The Knot, PopSugar, CafeMom, Mom.com, Bridal Guide and Care.com.
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