If you had asked me a year ago for my opinion on iced tea, I probably would have said “meh.” The only strong emotion I could conjure up was that I really hate sweet tea – always have, always will. But then I started cutting back on my soda intake and I needed a new source of caffeine. That was when Mr.B introduced me to the wonders of homemade iced tea.
You may think that tea is tea, but I’m here to tell you that that is just not true. When you start to experiment, you can discover a world of flavors. Now I feel like a mad scientist every time I make a new batch. We have a crapload of teas to play around with. My favorite hot tea, I Love Lemon, isn’t sold anywhere around here so we order it from Amazon in six-packs. On top of that, we have pomegranate, blueberry, orange spice, peach, PG Nips and plain old Lipton. I’ve found that by mixing plain iced tea with a little fruit flavor, the result is just sweet enough to stop my soda cravings with no sugar at all.
I was nervous when I first started making my own tea. Tea drinkers can be almost as bad as barbecue lovers in terms of sheer fanaticism and listening to multiple rants about poorly made tea had left me pretty intimidated. I had never made more than a cup at a time and I was afraid I was going to do it all wrong. After all my experimentation, however, I believe I have come up with a foolproof formula for making delicious iced tea. If you too would like to serve tea that elicits a surprised “Wow, this is good,” all you need to do is follow these simple steps:
- Boil up a kettle of water. A full kettle fills our tea pitcher just under half-way.
- Use a plain old Lipton Iced Tea Blend bag as your base. There’s a reason it’s still around – it’s good stuff.
- Add a bag or two of lemon tea. It lightens the overall flavor and makes it more refreshing.
- Finish with whatever additional flavors sound good to you today. My current favorite blend is lemon/orange/pomegranate.
- Steep for 5 minutes, add cold water to fill the pitcher and chill.
Mr.B says I use more tea bags than necessary. You can get away with three or four to a gallon, and I usually use five or six. The way I see it, tea is pretty cheap compared to soda and even he can’t argue with my results, so I’m going to go on using just as many as I please.
Photo by By Evan Swigart from Chicago, USA, via Wikimedia Commons