As the weather gets warmer and summer approaches, we begin to look for beverage alternatives that are cooler and much more enjoyable on warmer days. One option we commonly think of is iced tea. So why not loose leaf iced tea? Essentially it resembles its hot tea counterpart and may incorporate its steps when one brews hot tea. There are three basic iced tea brewing styles which you can utilize, producing teas with different tastes.
The Cold Brew
This is our favorite and by far the easiest method for making some quality iced tea. It starts off with a hearty teaspoon of leaves per cup of water. We use a small pitcher of about 32oz. and put in two hearty tablespoons of leaves to let sit overnight. From there, we pop the container of leaves and water in the refrigerator for 8-10 hours. Afterwards, the cold brew should be complete and ready to drink! This method is the simplest that will give any tea a crisp and refreshing edge as the flavors distribute slower, over a longer period of time, in colder temperatures. When making a cold brew infusion, the taste and flavors will be lighter compared to steeping it hot.
– 3-5 grams of tea per 8 ounces of water
– Let steep for 8-12 hours in refrigerator
The Flash Chill
This method has a few more steps but results in a stronger tasting tea compared to the cold brew. The concept of this style is to brew the tea hot then cool it down for iced tea consumption. For this method, we recommend steeping your tea in a large teapot or vessel. Afterwards, one can cool the tea down utilizing any container with ice. We have a pitcher filled with ice in which we pour the hot tea over. Our ratio is a third cup of ice per cup of tea. Once the tea is over ice, we stir everything together until the tea is significantly cooled down. After stirring everything in we pour the tea over a glass filled with ice to make iced tea.
-1/3 cup of ice per 8 ounces of tea
-Pour hot tea over ice and stir in until it is chilled
Sun tea is by far the most traditional method to make tea in the states. The method is simple as tea is left in a sealed glass jar or vessel and out in the sun for hours. We utilize a hearty teaspoon of leaves per cup of water. This process utilizes the sun to slowly diffuse the tea in a glass vessel. We leave our glass jar in an area where the sun can directly reach for 3-5 hours. Afterwards, the tea can be served and poured into a glass or pitcher full of ice to be quickly chilled. Although this method provides more flavor than the cold brew, in a shorter amount of time, we do not recommend this to all. That is because the tea never reaches of 130ºF when steeped and may result in larger amounts of bacteria congregating.
-3 grams of tea per 8 ounces of water
-Let steep in glass container under sunlight for 3-5 hours
Similar to the cold brew, I’ve come to prefer a specific method when cold brewing oolong teas that have been processed into small scrunched up into a ball form. Due to the shape of the tea, it is sometimes more difficult to extract flavors from it as it takes the leaves longer to unravel and release its flavor profiles. Because of this, I normally would leave out a pitcher of water with oolong tea leaves for an hour before popping it into the refrigerator for a cold brew. I’ve discovered that the room temperature water helps open up the leaves more which provides a deeper flavor when cold brewing afterwards.
-4 grams of tea per 8 ounces of water
-Let tea steep in room temperature for an hour and leave in refrigerator for 6 hours