Iced tea is a standard beverage, but it doesn’t have to be boring. American Tea Room’s David Barenholtz shared six tips to make iced tea that is flavorful, bright, and naturally sweet.
David Barenholtz’s 6 Tips to Make Iced Tea
American Tea Room is owned and operated by David Barenholtz. David has traveled the globe in search of the finest teas. He shares his knowledge via his online shop and Beverly Hills emporium, where customers can enjoy chilled drinks such as the Coconut Breeze (coconut tea, coconut milk, and lime), and Nirvana FFF (green teas, strawberries, figs, and blackberries)
David is enthusiastic about the creativity of tea and shared his top tips for making iced coffee.
Make loose-leaf tea twice as strong.
Iced tea can be diluted, so ensure the best flavor possible. Loose-leaf tea is my preference. Tea bags can be fine if you rush, but they will not yield the best quality tea.
Making iced tea is easy with a hot cup of tea. You can make it twice as strong and strain it before you pour it over ice. You would typically use one teaspoon of tea per 6 ounces of water. Instead, you can use two teaspoons. I prefer to use a large saucepan and allow the tea to swirl before straining it. Tea balls or small infusers need to be corrected because the tea leaves can’t rotate and expand to give you a lot more flavor.
Green tea can become bitter if it is not brewed in hot water. You can make black tea by brewing it in cold water overnight and straining it the next day.
You can go beyond the traditional green or black tea.
Iced teas made from fruity teas are great. For example, our Tangier tea has black tea with apricots, and our Immortal green tea has Japanese green tea with passion fruit and peaches. Rooibos Teas are great for iced tea, and they’re also caffeine-free. While some people may prefer a floral iced tea with jasmine or rose, others may prefer spiced chai iced. I encourage people to experiment. You never know what flavor you might like.
Use lemonade or juice to sweeten.
You can add juice or lemonade to your sugar substitute. Trader Joe’s has a great organic pink lemonade and a pomegranate limeade. It’s not the traditional Arnold Palmer half-and-half ratio. However, you get a slight kick of flavor and sweetness by adding 1 cup to 8 to 10 cups of iced tea. You can add sugar to your pomegranate juice for a bright, vibrant color boost.
Get wild with fruit.
Depending on your creativity, you can add many other ingredients to your sugar substitute. Try any fresh, local, sweet fruit you can find at your local farmers’ market. Once the tea is brewed, allow it to cool at room temperature for 4 to 5 hours before adding fruit. It can be drunk immediately or left to steep for a few hours, similar to sangria.
Watermelon is my favorite fruit, as it adds natural sweetness and beautiful colors. Apricots are great too. They absorb all the bitterness and then release tons of sweetness. Amazing figs. You can freeze figs, then put them in a Vitamix along with your daily dose of tea.
Lemons and oranges make a great accompaniment to tea. They can be bitter if they have skins.
Blueberries could be more flavorful due to their skin. However, they look pretty on top of iced tea or frozen in ice cubes.
Strawberries and raspberries taste great, but they can become brittle. Try straining the fruits after steeping them and adding fresh fruit last minute to increase visual appeal.
Get creative with herbs.
People don’t like sugar when things are rich in flavor. Herbs can also add flavor to fruits. Lavender is beautiful and adds a unique flavor to everything. There are many varieties of mint you can experiment with: spearmint, chocolate mint, mint basil, and lemon mint. Rosemary, chamomile, and lemon mint are all attractive. Iced tea can be thought of as a cocktail. Iced tea doesn’t need to be bland and out of the bottles.