Welcome to the second installment of Foodie Tuesday and today I’m showing you how I make iced tea from scratch. This is a non-fizzy, non-sweetened version based on green tea with some lemon and mint added for extra flavor. It is my favorite summer drink and was a hit with my friends when I made it for my birthday. I randomly thought this up one hot summer day and put together some flavors I love in tea and that I thought could work chilled. And even though summer seems to be on its way out, a good glass of cold iced tea also makes a great refreshment on those indian summer days.
Homemade iced tea
The key to success for this recipe is that you start on time. It needs time to sit and absorb flavor. Else you’ll just be left with something that tastes more like water than like iced tea. You’ll see I’ve taken many of these pictures at night and that’s because this is a two day process. So patience is of the essence! Other than that, this is quite possibly the easiest thing to make and pretty much foolproof.
Here’s what you’ll need for 1 liter of iced tea:
- 2 bags of unflavored green tea (if they are for cups not for pots, I use organic green tea)
- one bundle of fresh mint
- one lemon
- a kettle and a tea pot to make tea
- a bottle of some sort to finish making the iced tea and store it properly
Step 1: Make tea
Boil some water, pour into your tea pot, add tea bags and fresh mint and let it steep for a few hours. That’s right, I said hours. When you prepare chilled or cold drinks the cold temperature will dilute the flavor greatly, so you need your tea as strong as you can get it. I usually wait until the tea has cooled down to room temperature completely. That will also ensure that your tea isn’t too hot when you put it into your fridge to chill.
Step 2: add some more flavor & chill
Once you’re satisfied with the color of your tea, pour it into a large bottle. Slice up your lemon, squeeze the juice into the bottle and add the slices to the bottle. And here’s where the patience comes in: you need to chill this overnight. This will allow the flavors to blend and the tea to come together. It will be chilled enough and all you then need to do is get yourself a glass and some ice cubes.
After chilling it overnight you could strain the tea to remove any chunks of mint or bits of lemon. I always skip this step as I don’t find it necessary, but in case you get picky eaters who cannot stand anything in their drinks this is a useful tip.
Of course you could use different teas and add different fruits to this to change up the flavor. Just off the top of my head I think a black iced tea with berries mixed in might be really nice. You could add orange, maybe a fresh vanilla pod while you’re steeping the tea, and for some extra freshness you can always add some cucumber slices. Adding more or different spices (cloves and cinnamon for one) to the steeping process would get you a chai version and could be your own version of an iced chai tea latte. In other words: just have fun! Pick whatever tickles your fancy and play around with it till you get your perfect combination.
Have you ever tried making homemade iced tea?