Iced tea is refreshing. ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

25 August 2008

Iced tea is refreshing.

This weekend was all about cleaning things out, so we got hot and sweaty and desperately in need of beverage. I made two liters of iced tea.

Iced tea is really easy. I doubt you need me to tell you how to make it. If you have a glass container and some direct sun, you don't even need hot water! I was too impatient for that, though. I actually boiled two full teapots and brewed hot tea, then chilled it all overnight. This meant that sunday we had iced tea on demand. It was an excellent plan.

I made one batch of assam tea and one of mint.

Hot-brewed iced tea

tea strainer if you have loose leaves

Fill your teakettle with water and heat it until boiling. A full teakettle might need up to ten minutes to boil. It takes some effort to actually stay in the room for this duration, but try to at least be in sprinting distance. When the pot starts shrieking, run and take it off the heat.

In the meantime, consider your pitcher. Is it breakable? If so, warm it with hot tapwater before brewing. Boiling water plus cold glass at least equals a cracked glass.

Let the boiled kettle cool slightly. Put your tea into your pitcher, then pour hot water over it. If you have any desire for sugar or other sweet devices, you can add them now: they'll dissolve a lot better in hot water than in a glass of cold tea.

You can get away with using a lot less tea proportionately when making an entire pitcher. I actually made my mint tea with only one tea bag: about one teaspoon of leaves. This worked because mint has no relation to actual tea, so it doesn't get bitter and acidic if you brew it for more than five minutes. Instead of using a lot of tea, I left the single bag for a half hour. For black tea, use about three tea bags or teaspoons, and remove the tea after 3-5 minutes.

If you want a hot cup of tea, pour it off the top of the pitcher before removing the leaves. Then add more boiling water: more iced tea.

Now you have hot steaming pitchers of tea. Put them in the refrigerator. Leave the pitchers unlidded so the steam can escape. It'll take at least four hours for your tea to get fully cold.

Try to be patient.

In the meantime, have a bottle of too-sweet champagne and cut up some bitter-skinned plums or pluots to drop in the glasses: the bitter skins will balance out some of the cloy. We accidentally discovered this the other day. It was a great idea.

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