Late summer is the perfect time for iced tea – a refreshing way to get all the benefits of your favorite tea. I’ve lately been playing around with making sun tea – different quantities of tea, changing the time in the sun, etc. – and I’ve been pretty happy with the results. Then I was talking with one of our partner restaurants about the “tea-cocktails” they make. The bar manager said that he puts the leaves in the liquor, lets the mixture sit overnight and strains it the next day. This led me to start experimenting with making non-alcoholic tea the same way.
I found that brewing iced tea in my refrigerator works really well. I also found various articles supporting the fact that this method could be safer than leaving the tea in the sun for a few hours. The fear is based on the notion that the method may breed bacteria (kind of like deviled eggs at a summer picnic). Scientific research aside, the cold filtered iced tea tastes good and is very easy to make.
I use the same ratio of tea to water that we recommend for all of our iced tea pouches. Most commercial machines brew 3 gallons of tea at a time. The teas that we sell are portioned between 3 and 4 ounces of leaves for each batch. The black tea based choices, like our award winning “Organic Classic” is closer to 3 ounces. The green tea and botanical based items are closer to 4 ounces. At home I use a 1 gallon glass jar for brewing, and to that I add about 1.25 ounces of tea leaves such as “Green Pomegranate”, fill with cold clean water, cover and put in my fridge overnight. Twelve hours seems to be the perfect amount of time. Once it is done, I pour it through a strainer to remove the leaves, and enjoy my iced tea.
One benefit of this method is that the tea is already cold when it is finished. Now I’m no scientist, but I think there’s something going on here that is making the tea less astringent. It seems as if by not boiling the water the tannins in the leaves are not released, so the end result is flavorful without having an acidic finish. Some people may find it not to their liking but I have been really enjoying it as the days are still pretty hot here. Give it a try, and let us know what you think. I’d also recommend our “Paradise Cove” for making this UN-SUN Tea.