With the warmer weather of summer here, there are ample reasons to enjoy a fresh cup of healthful tea. For starters, tea that’s brewed fresh has been shown to contain far more antioxidants (polyphenols) than what comes from a Ready-to-Drink (RTD) bottle of tea from the shelves of your grocer or convenience store.
Polyphenols begin to degrade after the tea is brewed and by the time these RTDs have made way from the brew house to the warehouse to the grocery store shelves, there’s less and less chance of getting much of tea’s most appreciated healthy benefits. Furthermore, RTDs often contain other ingredients to keep them shelf stable and looking pretty. From preservatives to added sugars and colors, RTDs can often look a lot like a not-so-healthy soda. Convenient? Yes. And, that’s why you see them on every store shelf.
When buying your tea in an RTD bottle, you’re paying for a whole lot of fancy marketing, plastic bottles (in most cases), added ingredients, lower polyphenol levels, and a high chance of getting a lower grade of tea! Frankly put, if you want it done right, do it (or brew it) yourself! Read on for some tips on how to brew up the healthiest, best tasting iced tea for yourself this summer.
Making Splendid Iced Tea
Cold brewing has many advantages versus hot brewing then chilling your tea.
When cold brewing, tea leaves are much more forgiving when it comes to steep time and temperature than when hot steeping. (No more over-steeped tea.)
Cold brewing draws out less bitterness from the leaf and provides for a smoother, non-astringent glass of iced tea while maintaining its full flavor. (Less bitter, more tasty.)
The slower (cold) brewing process allows tea leaves to release more aroma into the final cup. (Smells great and tastes great, too.)
Black teas (generally from the Assam region) get cloudy or turn orange when chilled after being hot brewed; they are delightfully transparent after cold steeping. (Sparkling clear and delicious.)
And, while research has shown that the same health benefits associated with tea are extracted during cold brewing, research shows that cold brewing can increase the release of antioxidants in white teas, specifically. (Fresher, healthier.)
Cold Brewing Iced Tea
(1/2 gallon recipe)
- Add 18 to 20 grams of tea leaf directly into pitcher (or extra large capsule infuser).
- Add 64 oz of cool filtered water.
- Steep for recommended time (see below) in refrigerator, stirring once or twice during the steep.
- After steeping, remove infuser or pour leaves through a fine kitchen strainer into ½ gallon pitcher for serving.
Cold Brew Steeping Times
When using the cold brew method, here are some recommended steep times based on the type of tea you're brewing up:
Matcha: just 1 minute of vigorous shaking or whisking. (heaping 1/2 teaspoon matcha per 8 oz cold water)
Green Tea: 10 minutes
White Tea: 15–20 minutes
Oolongs: greener leaf styles should be steeped for 2–3 hours while darker styles may take up to 8 hours
Black Tea: 8–12 hours
Rooibos & Herbal Tisanes*: 12–16 hours
*Note: For herbal or blended tea infusions, it is recommended that you “pre-rinse” the blend with hot water (over 175 degrees) for just a few seconds to kill off any potential bacteria prior to cold-brewing.
Hot Steeping for Iced Tea
(Serving Size: 24 oz cup)
- Place tea infuser into an 8 oz or larger measuring cup
- Put 5-6 grams tea leaf into infuser
- Add 8 ounces hot water (use recommended temperature)
- Steep for recommended time based on tea type (generally 1 to 4 minutes)
- Fill 24 oz cup with ice
- Remove strainer and immediately pour hot tea over ice
- Add more ice to top off if needed
Staff Picks: Iced Tea
FloraBerry - Mineral-rich rooibos with floral & fruit components
Assam - Classic, bold black tea; if desired, sweeten with honey
Pacemaker - Creamy, rich and energizing with a hint of spice and sweetness
Blue Hawai'i - A tropical blend with coconut and vanilla goodness
Aphroditea - A superbly rich iced tea with hints of cinnamon & sweet spice
Enjoy up to 20% off this month’s “staff picks” through June 15, 2019.
Save the Date: TeaFest PDX
We have locked in a great booth space at the upcoming TeaFest PDX and hope to see you there! July 20, 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the World Forestry Center in Portland, OR. Learn more about all the offerings, including classes, live music, mini-teahouses, vendors and tickets at teafestpdx.com.
Tea Spotlight & Subscriber Special
Have you tried our invigorating Green Energy blend? Give your day a sweet & tasty kick start with this slightly citrusy blend of organic green tea, goji berries, ashwagandha "Indian Ginseng" & orange peel.
Beyond the great taste and health benefits associated with drinking green tea, the ashwagandha in this fruity blend is widely popular in Ayurvedic medicine. In this age-old system, the herb is used for its rejuvenating properties, both mental and physical. It has traditionally been used to improve alertness and to relieve stress and anxiety.
An aesthetically beautiful component of this custom tea blend is the goji berry, also known as wolfberry. This bright red fruit has been used in China and other Asian countries for rejuvenation effects, to boost metabolism, and for its antioxidant properties. The berry helps give this tea blend its fruity sweet taste. The addition of orange peel to the blend provides a light citrus note while providing additional antioxidant and immune boosting benefits.
Altogether, this is a luscious green tea blend that's chock full of fruit flavor and several ingredients widely sought for their rejuvenating properties. Pick up the pace this summer with Green Energy. Email subscribers are invited to use Coupon Code: HiddenCode to save 20% on Green Energy now through June 15, 2019.
In closing, we hope you enjoy a thrilling summer rich with new experiences and plenty of opportunities to enjoy your favorite tea, hot or cold!