Homemade iced tea is remarkably simple to make. Unlike store bought versions – that often contain more sugar and colourings than anything that’s actually come from the Camellia Sinensis plant – natural iced tea can be just as sweet, with an amazing depth of flavour yet, is calorie free and contains all the health benefits of freshly brewed tea.
I drink cold brewed iced tea all year round. It makes for an amazingly refreshing drink, can be used as a great base for cocktails, and I even make deserts with it (try using it instead of sherry in a summer fruits trifle).
Over the summer I perhaps drinking as much iced tea as I do hot!
Cold brewing goes completely against the British institution that is ‘freshly boiled water must be used when preparing tea!’ As most tea lovers know, boiled water is not always the friend of delicate the loose leaf. Certain types of tea do require a cooler water temperature lest they turn bitter – the reason so many people claim not to like green tea.
As a very simple rule of thumb, the cooler the water the longer the infusion time needs to be. When you brew using cold water, the infusion time is no longer measured in minutes, but hours, but the result is definitely worth it.
To make your own homemade iced tea you’ll need the following three things: some tea leaves; some water; and a vessel to hold the two. It’s really that simple!
Personally I use either a jug, if I’m making it at home, or if I require larger quantities for tastings etc I make it up in 2 litre bottles of water.
Not all teas are great when brewed this way. The darker richer teas tend not to work as nicely whereas, the high mountain green teas from China and Oolongs from Taiwan, such as Dong Ding or Bao Zhong (Pouchong) produce stunningly fresh and fruity iced tea.
I use a ratio of around 0.5g-1g loose leaf for every 100 ml of water. Simply add the leaves to the water and refrigerate overnight or wait for at least 8 hours. When you return you’ll have a jug of beautifully sweet, fruity and refreshing iced tea that’s simply incomparable to any store bought equivalent.
Cold brewed teas are one of our favourite summer drinks here at driftwood. We’re also yet to find a non hot tea lover that hasn’t at least been a little converted having tried some of our beautiful iced tea!