Like in many parts of North America, July in my home city is shaping up to be one of the hottest on record. As a result, my current summer job as a gardener for an all-female gardening and landscaping crew has become a very hot and very sweaty time. Now, I am a tea fanatic, my love affair with the tasty infusion beginning at the tender age of 10 when my Mom would give me a cup of warm milk with a bit of tea and sugar in it before school. Historically, I’ve been hardcore enough to drink hot tea as the thermometer climbed into the 80s and 90s (or 30s and 40s if you live in Canada like me) but not so much this year. To continue my large scale tea consumption despite this unusually hot summer, I’ve been exploring some tasty iced tea options. Here are two recipes that are a result of my iced tea experimentation:
Refreshing Citrus Ginger Green Tea:
- 3-4 Tea Bags of Green Tea
- 1 inch long piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- 1 Lime
- 2L (or Quarts) of Water
- Your favorite sweetener, to taste (I used honey for this recipe)
- A large pot
- A pitcher that fits the amount of tea you are making
- Fill your pot with the correct amount of water and add the piece of ginger, bring to a boil. Once boiling, take off the heat and allow to cool a little bit before adding the green tea. Green tea is best brewed at slightly boiling (somewhere between 140-170° F), so let the water cool until the steam is no longer rising off it rapidly. Throw in your tea bags and let steep for 3-6 minutes.
- Once the tea is steeped, remove your tea bags and the piece of ginger. Now it’s time to add the lime and sweetener. Roll the lime on the counter top to ease in the juicing process. Cut it in half and juice directly into the pot of tea.
- Stir in your sweetener. I tend to prefer less sweet or completely unsweetened tea. I added 2 tablespoons of honey to this recipe and it has a slight twinge of sweetness and a bit of honey flavour. But you can add more sugar, honey, or agave depending on your preferences.
- Allow the tea to cool to just above room temperature in the pot on the counter top. Pour into pitcher and place in the fridge for further chilling.
- It should take a couple of hours to get completely chilled. Once chilled, drink and be refreshed!
Classic Lemon Iced Tea
- ½ Lemon
- 4 Bags of Orange Pekoe Tea (I use 4 of the little round Tetley Tea Bags, but if you live somewhere where the giant iced tea bags are sold, use two of those.)
- 2L/Quarts of Water
- A Large Pot
- Fill your pot with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and add four tea bags. Allow to steep for 5-8 minutes (or longer if you like).
- Cut the lemon in half and juice half of it into the pot of tea. Stir in sweetener (I use ¼ of a cup of white sugar for this type of tea).
- Allow to cool on countertop until close to room temperature. Pour into pitcher and let chill in the fridge.
- Once it’s chilled, drink and enjoy!
Other Iced Tea Tips:
To prevent your tea from being cloudy in appearance, allow it to cool to close to room temperature before pouring into the pitcher and chilling in the fridge.
When making large amounts of tea (like we are doing with iced tea) use more tea bags and allow the tea to steep for a shorter amount of time. If you only use one or two bags and have it steep for longer the tea can become bitter.
You can also make herbal iced tea. I tend to think of herbal iced teas as either mellow or refreshing. Iced rooibus tea tends to be mellow, while teas with hibiscus, ginger, or mint are more refreshing.