It’s summer, and it is HOT outside! Across Canada, there’s a heatwave that’s breaking all kinds of records this year. Drinking hot tea is a year-round habit in many hot countries (including Turkey)… but while I like my morning cuppa hot in all seasons, sometimes one just needs to chill. And iced tea is a great way to do it!
Water, of course, is necessary for hydration – especially when it gets hot outside. But luckily for us tea lovers, unsweetened tea is also recommended by Canada’s Food Guide as a healthy drink choice. Make that tea extra refreshing by putting it on ice.
How to brew iced tea
There are two main methods for brewing iced tea: cold infusion and hot steeping.
Cold infusion works best with more delicate teas like green tea or fruity herbal blends that contain ingredients like peppermint, lemongrass and hibiscus. And it’s super simple! In a pitcher, simply add a heaping teaspoon (about 2.5g) of loose leaf tea per serving, fill with cold water, and refrigerate for anywhere from 2-24 hours depending on the tea. This might take a little trial and error to perfect, but the benefit of cold brew is that it prevents tea from getting bitter, even if it’s a bit over-steeped. Once your cold tea is infused to perfection, simply pour and serve – garnishing as you wish with ice, mint or fruit.
Hot steeping is the best method for black teas – or when you want your iced tea RIGHT NOW. In this method, STEP 1 is to pour boiling water over your tea leaves and allow to steep for about 4 minutes as you normally would: but be sure to brew the tea double-strength (so either 2x the tea leaves or half the normal amount of water). This is so that in STEP 2, when you pour the hot, strong tea over ice, the melted ice dilutes the tea back to regular strength.
This past June, the Tea & Herbal Association of Canada celebrated Iced Tea Month with a live video series called Iced Tea’V’. The series featured all kinds of iced tea tips and recipes from tea experts from across the country. Proper Cuppa was asked to provide a segment for this series – so we developed and demonstrated a recipe for Extra Creamy Iced Lavender Earl Grey.
Here’s the recipe (makes 2 servings):
- 4g Earl Grey
- 6g Vanilla
- 1/8 tsp Lavender Petals (to taste!)
- Boiling hot water
- Maple Syrup to taste
- Milk or alternative (we used unsweetened vanilla oat milk)
In an iced tea latte, you’re not only diluting your hot brew tea over ice – you’re diluting it again by adding milk. So brew your Earl Grey + Vanilla + Lavender petals into a hot tea that is 4x the normal strength, allowing a 4-5 minute steep. Fill your serving glasses with ice and strain the steeped tea over the ice until the glasses are 2/3 to 3/4 full. Sweeten with maple syrup to taste (maple syrup is extra delicious with vanilla), and top with milk. Enjoy!
Watch Sarah’s Iced Tea’V’ demo here!
In this recipe, the vanilla tea provides a creamy note that is turned up by the maple syrup, and then taken to another level with the vanilla oat milk. The Earl Grey and lavender provide a really soothing aroma. So the combination of everything together makes a delicious, cold treat.
Developing your own iced tea recipes? We’d love to hear from you! Tag @propercuppatea on Instagram.