Here in the UK, summer is just about to shine, at least, that's what we hope. Here at Tea HQ we start brewing iced teas as soon as spring starts, and we're going to share some of our best loved recipes and techniques with you!
Iced tea is not a hugely popular drink in the UK, but with the rise of cold brew coffee, and bubble tea, iced tea is going to be the drink of the summer - trust us!
Iced tea is incredibly easy to make, and you can have all sorts of fun experimenting with flavours and additions to make the best iced tea at home. From fruity blends, to spiced chilli zingers, mocktails, and even iced tea cocktails, we've got a lot to teach you, so let's jump right in with our top five tips.
1) It's all in the method:
There are various ways to make iced tea. Our favourite method is to brew the tea as normal, at the right temperature, but with a triple strength consistency, and then chill rapidly over ice.
2) Invest in a good jug!
Whilst it's not essential that you have special equipment to make iced tea, we use a couple of great products at Tea HQ to ensure a quality brew every time. If you're looking to splash out on something fancy, then there are a few points to consider. Make sure the jug you choose has a loose leaf tea strainer with it. You'll still need to remove the tea leaves once they're brewed, and this just makes life easier! Also, make sure it will fit in your fridge. There's no point making iced tea if you can't keep it chilled! My all time favourite iced tea jug is the Takeya Flash Chill Tea Maker - it's so fuss free, is a great size and it brews and chills the tea in one receptacle. I've also recently bought a Finum Iced Tea Control Jug, which I'm enjoying too!
3) Strength is key.
In point one I mentioned making iced tea triple strength for its initial brewing. Weak iced tea is not nice so I always start strong and add dilution to get to the perfect strength. It's much easier to dilute flavour than it is to add it back in. So, if making 1 cup of iced tea, use 2-3 tsp of loose leaves. There's a little bit of trial and error involved, and exact quantities will vary depending on your iced tea brewing equipment, but the basic rule is to start strong!
4) Don't overbrew your tea.
Again, like hot tea, you can over brew your tea when making iced tea, which is why it's important to make sure you don't put the leaves directly into the jug, but always brew them in a strainer/teapot/filter first. Just because you'll be diluting the tea doesn't mean you won't taste the tannins.
5) Always experiment!
A lot of teas have a lot of flavour already in them, but adding new flavour to iced teas is a great way to always make something that tastes a little bit different. Try making some fruit syrups (peach is a good one), add elderflower cordial, or mix in herbal infusions. Add spices, freeze fruit chunks - just get stuck in and have fun! Whilst you're at it, iced tea makes a brilliant base for summer smoothies - Rhubarb Fool iced tea in a summer berry smoothie, or iced sencha tea in a green machine juice. If you're feeling really adventurous, you can make an iced tea concentrate (the stronger brewed liquor, pre-dilution) and add it to your favourite cocktails; a drop or two of a concentrate made with our Duchess Earl Grey would be delicious in a summery Pimms or chilled Gin and Tonic, or a chilled Peppermint Infusion concentrate in a punchy lime Mojito. There really are no boundaries here, so go wild, have fun, and share your recipes with me here, on Facebook, or on Instagram. I'll be posting some of my favourite recipes over the next few weeks, so pop back for more icy inspiration!