We’ve all had the super sweet iced teas offered in restaurants or minute markets and they make our stomachs sour or our blood sugar spike from too much sugar. In many cases, there is just as much sugar or artificial sweetener in bottled tea as there is in soda. In the end, let’s be honest, these iced teas don’t really taste very good.
So how do you make a great iced tea that’s not only healthier for you and your family, but also one that everybody will love?
- Quality loose leaf tea. Start with a high quality loose leaf tea. Quality is essential but when a glass of iced tea made from loose leaf can be as little as $0.20, it seems too good to be true. You can make 2 gallons of iced tea for as little as $2 vs. $3 or more for a 12 ounce bottle. Essentially, a 12 ounce glass of fresh iced tea can cost you as little as $0.20.
- Value. Superior loose teas can be steeped more than once, giving you more bang for your buck in comparison to bagged teas. With bagged teas you can easily go through an entire box just to make enough tea for yourself or a small group.
- Purity. Loose teas typically are whole leaf and infuse more flavor and health benefits into your iced teas. Most bottled iced teas are made from instant powders with little to no health benefit. Add on that bottled teas are loaded with sugar and artificial flavoring. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative, loose leaf teas are a great option with many naturally sweet teas to chose from.
- Variety. There are thousands of flavors of pure loose leaf tea and tea blends so you’re bound to discover a favorite. Loose teas offer everything from minty to fruity flavors; pure teas like black, green and white teas; blends with different herbs and spices; and so much more. If you’re not sure where to start, I have a few recommendations below.
- Flavor control. With loose leaf teas you can determine the strength of flavor by simply measuring out more or less tea to be steeped. Begin with the amount of tea recommended on the brewing guide and make adjustments from there. For iced teas you want to brew them strong so the ice doesn’t dilute the flavor too much. I start with doubling the measured amount recommended for brewing the hot tea.
- Water. Water quality can have an impact on how your iced teas turn out. Especially in large cities where water is put through purification processes and can impart a chemical taste to your iced teas. To improve your water quality and the flavor of your iced teas, use a filtration or purification system to remove the chemical taste.
- Time. Steeping times are an important aspect of brewing tea. It is a common misconception that steeping tea leaf for longer periods of time will make the tea stronger in flavor. In reality, this actually makes the tea bitter in taste. Follow the brewing guide recommended by your tea supplier regarding steeping times.
Loose Teas that Make Great Iced Teas:
- Pure Leaf Teas: Traditional iced teas are made with pure leaf teas like black, green, or oolong.
- Black Tea – The traditional iced tea, tea. For making iced tea you want a strong flavored black tea blend. China Black Tea, English breakfast, or Irish breakfast.
- Fruit Teas: If you’re looking for something that is naturally sweet, a loose leaf tea blended with real fruit pieces make delicious iced teas.
- LGBTea, with a black tea base and endless fruit pieces, including apple, passion fruit, mango, and more. (We made this special Signature Blend to celebrate Pride and is only available for a limited time. You’ll want to get your hands on this before it’s sold out.)
Best Loose Leaf Teas for Caffeine Free Iced Tea:
There are a number of herbal blends that make great iced teas and all are caffeine free.
Rag Time Root Beer – If you’re looking for something a little different, brew this tea extra strong, pour over ice and you will have a guilt-free pleasure.