One of the classic summer drinks that we tend to go for is Iced Tea. Simple, easy, delicious and refreshing, it’s amazing how it just seems to hit the spot. One of the problems though that I seem to find though when I brew it is that it sometimes takes on a bitter taste from the tea itself. I found a tip online years ago that alleviates this problem. Simply add a pinch of baking soda to the hot water when brewing the tea. It magically counterbalances this acidity/bitterness from the tannins in the tea, and leaves you with a smooth taste.
The collection of teas below are all of a sweet variety, but you can leave out the sugar in any of them if you prefer unsweetened tea. Another tip, if you plan on keeping tea in the fridge for several days, don’t leave citrus (lemons, limes, etc.) in it with the rind/peel on. The natural oils in the peel of the fruit will leech into the tea and give a bitter taste. It is best to add fresh citrus to your glass, or to the pitcher, and then remove it before storing it for the next day.
Smooth Sweet Tea
1 pinch baking soda
2 cups boiling water
6 tea bags
¾ cup white sugar
6 cups cool water
ice and lemon for serving
Sprinkle a pinch of baking soda into a 64-ounce, heat-proof pitcher. Pour in the boiling water and add the tea bags. Cover, and allow to steep for about 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags, and discard them. Stir in the sugar until it has dissolved. Pour in the cool water, then refrigerate until cold. Serve over ice with a wedge of lemon.
Sweet Lime Iced Tea
1 pinch baking soda
1 gallon boiling water
6 black tea bags (such as orange pekoe)
1 ½ cups white sugar
4 limes, juiced
lime slices for serving
Sprinkle a pinch of baking soda into a heat-proof gallon sized pitcher, then add the water and tea bags. Allow the tea to steep for about 45 minutes. Remove and discard the tea bags. Stir in the sugar and lime juice until the sugar has dissolved. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate until cold before serving. Serve over ice with slices of lime.
South Asian Iced Tea
This is a bit of different kind of ice tea, in that it’s a sweet milky tea. Trust me though, once you try it, it will quickly become a favourite!
9 cups water
8 tea bags black tea (such as orange pekoe)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons white sugar
½ cup sweetened condensed milk, divided
½ cup half-and-half, divided
Bring water to a boil in a kettle and pour over tea bags in a heat-proof pitcher. Steep the tea for about 5 minutes and then remove the bags from the pitcher. Stir in the sugar in until it has dissolved. Cool the tea to room temperature. To serve, fill a glass with ice, then pour in the cool tea until almost full. Then add 1 tablespoon condensed milk and float 1 tablespoon of half-and-half atop the iced tea.
Hawaiian Plantation Iced Tea
1 quart barely boiling hot water
4 orange pekoe tea bags
1 quart ice cold water
1 (16 ounce) can pineapple juice
½ cup simple syrup (optional)*
1 fresh pineapple – peeled, cored, and cut into spears
Pour the hot water into a large pitcher, and add the tea bags. Steep the tea for about 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags, and pour in the ice water and the pineapple juice. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 1 ½ hours. Pour the tea over ice, garnish with pineapple spears, and serve.
* To make simple syrup heat ½ cup of water with ½ cup sugar over low-medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Peach Orange Iced Tea
This fruity tea is a nice twist on traditional ice tea. If you don’t have peaches or clementine, you can use a nectarine or mandarin.
1 pinch baking soda
1 large fresh peach, sliced
1 clementine, peeled and segmented
1 tablespoon white sugar, or to taste
8 cups boiling water
4 Earl Grey tea bags
ice and peach slices for serving
In a large heat-proof pitcher, and the sliced peach, clementine and sugar. Muddle the fruit and sugar to break it down. Add the baking soda, boiling water and tea bags and stir. Refrigerate the tea until cool, about an hour. Using a slotted spoon, remove the fruit and tea bags. Serve over ice with a few slices of peach.