How To Brew The Perfect Iced Tea

Iced tea is so much more than just boring black tea with ice cubes. From sweet tea to sun tea, there’s hundreds of different combinations and ways to prepare the beverage. Looking for new ways to jazz up your iced tea? We’ve got you covered.

About Iced Tea

You’ve probably had Iced tea in the past. And odds are, you probably haven’t been truly wowed by it. It’s a simple recipe: tea + ice cubes, maybe a lemon wedge. Ooh la la. But as tea is becoming more and more popular, iced teas are finally getting their time in the limelight (lemonlight?). It’s much more complex than it used to be. There are different ways of preparation, as well as hundreds of flavor additives. Much like cold brew coffee, cold brew iced tea is taking the nation by storm. Looking to jazz up your regular old iced tea? You’re in luck.

What You Need

Don’t worry, you won’t need beakers and test tubes to concoct a good batch of iced tea. All you need are a few high-quality ingredients.

  • Water (purified for better quality)
  • Tea (Preferably loose leaf; Any tea, although Black is traditional)
  • Storage vessel (Bigger Jars or Jugs work best)
  • Strainer (For loose leaf tea)
  • Teaspoon

Loose Leaf Tea Brewing

If you’re brewing loose tea without a strainer, don’t worry. There are many other ways to brew it, including mesh tea bags. Compostable tea filters are a great way to make loose leaf tea easier to manage. They generally very cheap and come in bulk. If you’re looking to show your personality, you can even get little animals and designs to use as tea bags.

For brewing loose leaf, heat up your water to the corresponding temperature, depending on the tea used. Black tea generally responds better to hotter water, around 190-200℉. if Using a tea strainer, place it over your mug and place a full teaspoon of tea inside. splash the leaves with hot water to allow them to begin opening up. Then proceed to pour about 8 ounces of water over them. Allow to steep for 2-5 minutes, depending on your desired strength. Remove the strainer and discard the leaves.

Hot Brewing Method

To get the best single serving cup of iced tea, the use of a gaiwan is encouraged. These are traditional tea brewing cups usually made out of porcelain or glass, with high quality designs made from clay or jade.

A gaiwan set consists of a tea cup, lid, and saucer. To make your tea, rinse boiling water in the cup just to heat it, then discard the water. place a teaspoon of tea inside, and add 8 ounces of water. allow to steep for desired strength. When you’re ready to consume, grab the gaiwan, using your index finger to keep the lid on, and pour into your cup or mug. You want the tea to pass out from under the lid, without the leaves toppling out.

Cold Brew Method

This method is the same as the above one, except using room temperature or cold water. To bring out more flavor, it is recommended you still splash the tea leaves with near-boiling water. Refrigerate after preparing and serve over ice.

Sweet Tea Preparation

Sweet tea is a signature drink in the south, and the perfect way to add some skip in your step. To make a perfect batch of sweet tea, you don’t need anything more than your tea, water, and as much lemon or fruits as your heart desires.

First, boil a pot of water, and turn turn it off and let sit for one minute once it starts boiling. If using tea bags, add as many as you’d like (Roughly 1 bag per every 8 ounces of water), and allow to steep to desired strength. Remove the bags, and add one generous tablespoon of sugar per every 8 ounces of water. Stir the sugar until fully dissolved. Allow to cool, and refrigerate until ready to drink. Add a twist of lemon or some leaves of mint while refrigerating to take the flavor to the next level.

Sun Tea Preparation

Sun tea is steeped slowly in the sun to heat the leaves and bring out flavor. You definitely want to flash boil your tea or tea bags before placing in the sun, to prevent bacteria from growing during the steeping process. Place all your tea or tea bags in your container with room temperature water, and place in the sun for several hours. It’s really that easy! Be sure to check on it regularly, to ensure it moves with the sun if need be. Sun tea is known for its rustic faded flavor, due to the already processed polyphenols in the tea reacting with the sunlight.

Additives & Infusions

Iced Tea Infusions and Additives

One of the best parts about Iced Tea is the flavor combinations you can achieve by adding fresh fruit or flowers. Peaches, mint, berries, and lemon are all popular additives. If you’re looking to get creative, try putting chunks of fruit into ice cubes, and then when adding them to your ice tea, you’ll enjoy a slow-released flavor bomb! And should you grow tired of using the same old fruit as everyone else, try adding watermelon or cucumber slices for a refreshing twist.

Cold Brew Tea Crystals

Maybe some of the methods of teas preparation seem a little too intimidating for you. We get it, there’s a lot that go wrong and make your tea less flavorful. But Pique Tea Crystals are the easiest way to prepare a perfect cup of iced tea. You can prepare it with either hot or cool water and add in the ice to your desired temperature. And with Pique Tea Crystals, you don’t have to worry about botching the preparation, you know you’re getting the best quality with all the health benefits.

Iced tea is a refreshing way to rehydrate while also treating your body to some healthy vitamins and polyphenols. Whether you’re enjoying a cold brew, or sipping on liquid sun tea, there’s an iced tea variation out there with your name on it.

How to Brew the Perfect Iced Tea
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How to Brew the Perfect Iced Tea
Looking for new ways to jazz up your iced tea? There’s hundreds of different combinations and ways to prepare the beverage - we’ve got you covered.
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Pique's Head of Content & Wellness Education, is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, RYT, and holds a JD from UC Berkeley. After 10 years as a practicing trial lawyer, she shifted gears and has spent the past 9 years as a health coach, educator and writer. It's her passion to help people learn sustainable, effective ways to unlock their full wellness potential. When she's not teaching or writing, you can find her hiking, mountain biking, cycling, backcountry skiing, camping and drinking anywhere from 5-7 cups of tea per day.
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Jessica Ederer, JD, CPT, FNS, RYT
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Pique's Head of Content & Wellness Education, is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, RYT, and holds a JD...