Perfect Brewed Iced Tea
Black, Green and Oolong teas come from the same plant - Camellia sinensis - which is grown in lush climates around the world. The difference? Black and Oolong teas undergo a natural fermentation step. Green tea does not. Tea is a great source of antioxidants which help neutralize "free radicals", molecules that can damage cells. So drink to your health!
4 regular tea bags (orange pekoe or green tea or a combination)*
2 cups fresh cold water
Granulated sugar or other sweetener such as Simple Syrup
Lemon slices (optional)
- Unwrap (if necessary) and carefully pull off any paper tags and tiny metal staples attached to the strings of the tea bags; tie the strings together and place the bags in a heat-proof 2-quart pitcher.
- Bring 2 cups cold water (always start with fresh cold water) to a rapid boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour over the tea bags. Steep tea for 15 minutes.
- Remove tea bags and discard.
- Fill the pitcher with enough water to equal 2-quarts. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled before serving. (Or to serve iced tea immediately, add a dozen or so ice cubes to tea concentrate then fill with water to the 2-quart level.)
- To serve, pour tea over a generous amount of ice cubes in a tall glass, stirring in desired sweetening and a squeeze of lemon, as desired.
Makes 2 quarts or 8 (1 cup) servings.
*If using loose tea, measure 2 tablespoons into a paper coffee filter and seal it tightly with a twist tie, or simply pour water over loose leaves in a small heatproof container, and when ready separate the liquid from the tea leaves using a mesh strainer.
- For Southern-Style Sweet Tea: Add 1/2 to 1 cup sugar...or the amount of sugar you prefer... to the steeped tea concentrate after the tea bags are removed and prior to filling with water, stirring to dissolve the sugar before adding the additional water.
- Add 1 flavored tea bag such as Ginger Peach, Blackberry Sage, Vanilla Almond, etc., with the orange pekoe or green tea for a decidedly refreshing change in flavor.
Note: A common question about iced tea is, "Why does my iced tea become cloudy?". There are few speculations as to why iced tea can become cloudy once it is refrigerated. The one that I tend to agree with is that it's a chemical reaction to the particles in the tap water (filtered or not) with the tea. I've lived in areas where my iced tea became cloudy every time it was refrigerated....and I've lived in areas where my iced tea never became cloudy when refrigerated (thankfully, I live in such an area now). There is an "easy fix" to the problem...simply boil a little water and add it to the cloudy tea...it will clear up almost instantly.