Posted on

Tropical Breeze Slim Sangria CockTeas™ Recipe

Temperatures are hitting their zenith, calling for the ultimate summer refresher, and sangria is simply perfectly suited. But wait, it’s still swimsuit season, all that wine and juice and soda really rack up the calories. What if there was some way to enjoy the perfect hot weather libation without all the added sugar and calories? Here comes the other ultimate summer beverage to the rescue. Iced tea saves the day.

Tea Phactory’s Tropical Breeze Slim Sangria combines the benefits of healthy, zero-calorie, green tea with the magic of sangria. This recipe delivers about half the sugar and calories of a traditional sangria without the artificial sweeteners and chemical craziness of diet soda.

Our Tropical Breeze tea is a Chinese Sencha, a green tea with slender leaves that gives a natural, lightly-sweet flavor. The green tea leaves are combined with pineapple pieces and blue malva flowers for a delightful brew. Paired with pineapple wine, pineapple juice, and fresh fruit, it’s an enchanting alternative to heavier sangrias. Choose a coconut rum if you prefer a more pinacolada type flavor or go with spiced rum if coconut isn’t your thing.

Tropical Breeze Slim Sangria CockTeas™ Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs. Tea Phactory Tropical Breeze loose leaf tea
  • 1 bottle (750 mL) pineapple wine
  • 1 can (6 Fl Oz) pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup coconut or spiced rum
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced

Directions:

  1. Brew 3 Tbs. of Tea Phactory Tropical Breeze loose leaf tea in 1 liter of water, chill.
  2. Combine chilled tea, pineapple wine, pineapple juice, rum, and sliced lime, lemon, and orange in a large pitcher, reserve some fruit for garnish.
  3. Refrigerate Tropical Breeze Slim Sangria for 2-4 hours.
  4. Stir before serving, pour over ice, garnish with fruit.

If you’re anything like me, when the temperature spikes cloyingly sweet drinks become intolerable. In addition to being lower calorie, Tropical Breeze Sangria is also less sweet. It strikes the ultimate balance.

Enjoy this refresher poolside or with a seasonal brunch or picnic. It’s the perfect summertime sipper.

Posted on

Iced Teas Kids Love

I don’t know a single family not trying to reduce the amount of sugar in their diets. I talk to my friends and family members and they’re concerned for themselves, but they are especially concerned about their kids. We hear all kinds of conflicting information these days on how sugar is impacting kids; everything from hyperactivity and childhood obesity to Type 2 diabetes. One thing we all can agree on is that it can’t hurt to reduce sugar consumption.

One simple way parents can help cut sugar from kid’s diets is by eliminating or reducing sugary drinks. The question becomes, what replaces them? Many kids love soda, soft drinks and sports drinks. Yet as any parent knows, kids can be finicky and resistant to change. It’s not easy to replace sugary beverages if you can’t get them to drink something else. Why not try iced tea?

Tea Phactory has several kid friendly teas that we have tried on kids of all ages. These teas are honestly delicious, full of flavor and some are even naturally sweet. Any of our teas can be made sweeter without the addition of sugar or artificial sweeteners by brewing them with the naturally sweet and calorie-free stevia leaf.
We typically recommend decaf or herbal teas for the little ones. These teas are completely caffeine free and some have other health benefits as well.

Kid Friendly Decaf Iced Teas

Ragtime Root Beer

It’s unmistakable…that unique combination of flavors…a hint a licorice, a touch of cherry, a dash of cinnamon, a bit of orange peel. It’s root beer, remarkably rendered with all of the pleasure and none of the guilt. Kids love this naturally sweet, calorie and caffeine free, herbal infusion treat. If you have a SodaStream, you can use it to add bubbles.

Splendiferous Rooibos

If your kids enjoy powdered drink mix this is the tea for them. Splendiferous Rooibos makes a flavorful impression with its extraordinary fruit flavor and light note of mint. Organic green rooibos is blended with hibiscus petals, peppermint and elderberries for a burst of fruit flavor followed by cool mint.

Raspberry Rush

If you’re a kid, or a kid at heart, try Raspberry Rush. This Tea Phactory Signature Blend has a burst of “fresh from the garden” fruit flavor and a light citrus twist that is sure to please everyone.
For older kids who can have some caffeine we have two teas that are great for tweens and teens. Even with the naturally occurring caffeine, these teas have less caffeine than many caffeinated sodas.

Kid Friendly Caffeinated Iced Teas

Carnival

This aromatic tea embodies the color and playfulness of a summer carnival. Sweet with a hint of tanginess, Carnival is a unique blend of black and green teas, dried papaya pieces, rosehips and sunflower petals.

Why not have a little fun and try one of these iced teas as an alternative to your kid’s favorite soda or sports drink? We suggest brewing the tea together following our brewing guide. It’s a fun family activity and helps your child buy into the idea of trying something new. It’s also more exciting than just mixing up your usual powdered beverage.

Let’s be sensible; always supervise children when using hot water brewing methods. However, kids can use our cold brew method to make iced tea on their own.

Oh, and hey, these teas aren’t just for kids. Adults love them too and find them a great substitute to regular or diet soda. As grownups, many of us not only want to cut down on sugar but are also looking to reduce the chemical craziness of artificial sweeteners.

Posted on

How to Keep Iced Tea Fresh

Once you’ve brewed iced tea, in order to maintain ideal taste, quality, and freshness, it’s important that it’s stored properly. If you’ve made iced tea for a crowd and find you have leftovers it can be saved to enjoy later.

While it’s nice to have a cold, refreshing glass of iced tea readily available, especially on a hot summer day, it’s best not to make more tea than you can consume in a reasonable amount of time. Stored properly, iced tea should remain good in the refrigerator for at least two days and up to a week, at most. Discard any tea that has turned cloudy or has an off taste or smell as it has likely begun to ferment.

Fresh Iced Tea Is Best

Let’s face it, fresh brewed iced tea is an all natural product. That’s why we love it. It’s free of the artificial preservatives that make processed, commercial, and chemical products keep for a long time. Part of enjoying iced tea is respecting that it has a short shelf life. Fresh is best.

Iced Tea Preparation Counts

If cold brewing was the preparation method, the iced tea will already be in the refrigerator. If traditional hot water steeping methods were used, allow the finished hot tea to cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator to chill. This prevents the brewed tea from clouding and serves up a clean glass of iced tea. It is not recommended to leave brewed tea at room temperature longer than eight hours.

Iced Tea Lasts Longer with the Right Container

No matter by which method the tea is brewed, make sure that a clean dispenser or pitcher is used. When storing iced tea, a glass vessel is preferable to preserve optimal taste. Many types of plastic can absorb and transfer flavors. Ideally, use a container with a tight fitting lid to reduce the amount of oxygen the tea is exposed to. Exposed teas can oxidize resulting in flavor changes and reduced freshness.

Before Iced Tea Turns, Re-purpose

If you’ve honestly made more tea than you can truly drink, don’t let it go to waste. Simply pour it into ice cube trays and place in the freezer. Once the cubes are frozen solid, they can be removed from the ice cube trays and placed in freezer bags. These frozen tea cubes are perfect for adding to a smoothie in place of plain ice.

Posted on

How to Make Iced Tea for Large Groups

It’s easy enough to make a single pitcher of iced tea for yourself and a couple friends. But what do you do if you need enough iced tea for a large gathering like a 4th of July BBQ?

Making enough iced tea for a large gathering is basically a “rinse and repeat” type of process. The benefit however, is that a high quality, loose leaf tea can be steeped more than one time to double or triple the amount of iced tea made.

The key is efficiency. The last thing you want to do is spend hours in the kitchen making iced tea. Wouldn’t you rather enjoy that time with friends and family?

Simply use an electric kettle to heat the water in a quick fashion, a large pitcher with a strainer or large infuser basket to brew up large quantities of tea, large glass or plastic jugs to store the iced tea, and a timer so you get the steeping time just right. I use the timer app on my phone and it works great.

Ideally, if you have the opportunity, I suggest making the tea the night before, allowing it to cool to room temperature to prevent clouding, and put it in the fridge to chill overnight. If you’re in a hurry though, it’s not a problem. You can serve freshly brewed iced tea when it’s still hot over a full cup of ice and still get great results.

What You Need:

  • Your favorite loose leaf tea: Be sure you have enough. For a large group of 10 or more you’ll need about 5 tablespoons
  • Fresh water
  • Electric tea kettle for quickest results, or a traditional tea kettle on the stove – just takes more time for the water to boil
  • 2 or more large glass or plastic jugs for storing and/or transporting the iced tea
  • Cups, glasses
  • Ice

How to Make Iced Tea for 10 or more People

  1. Heat the water just to a boil and pour the hot water into your steeping pitcher.
  2. Measure out your loose leaf tea into the infusing basket and insert the basket into the hot water. You want to double the amount of tea you would use for hot tea when making iced tea.
  3. Alternatively, you can add the loose leaf tea directly to the hot water in the pitcher. You’ll need a strainer to remove the tea leaf after steeping.
  4. Set and start your timer for 3 minutes.
  5. Remove the infuser or strain your tea and pour the hot tea into one of your large jugs.
  6. Repeat this process until you have enough tea for your event. Refresh your tea leaf after 2-3 steepings.

Tips for Making Iced Tea for Large Groups:

  • Re-steeping tea: You can re-steep, up to 3 times, a high quality loose leaf tea and achieve great results. It’s far more effective than bagged tea and makes a better tasting iced tea.
  • Control Flavor: Adjust the amount of measured loose leaf tea to your desired strength of flavor. If you want a strong tea, use more tea, a weaker tea, measure out less tea. This method is more effective for controlling flavor than steeping the tea for longer periods of time and expecting a stronger brew. In fact, over steeped black tea will become bitter.
  • Prevent Cloudiness: If you have the time, allow the finished hot tea to cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge to chill. This prevents the brewed tea from clouding and serves up a clean glass of iced tea.
Posted on

How to Cold Brew Loose Leaf Tea

Sometimes it’s just too hot to put on the tea kettle, which probably means iced tea is needed more than ever. Good thing there’s a perfect solution – cold brew. In addition to beating the heat, the cold brew method can produce superior results reducing both dilution and bitterness. The result is a sweet, smooth tea with increased clarity.

By not exposing tea leaves to hot water, fewer catechins and tannins are steeped out. The benefit is a less astringent brew which allows more delicate and elusive flavors to shine. However, the same holds true for caffeine, so keep that in mind if iced tea is a go to pick-me-up or an evening elixir.

Cold brewing works with most every type of loose leaf tea including green, white, black, and oolong. It’s a fantastic way to breathe new life into old favorites. The subtle to dramatic shifts in flavor achieved by cold brewing is worth the wait. Since the method can take up to eight hours it’s essential to plan ahead.

Other than the time spent waiting, cold brew is one of the simplest methods. Just place cold water and tea leaves in a vessel, refrigerate, wait, and strain. However, it doesn’t hurt to know the details.

How to Cold Brew Tea:

  1. Measure 2 tablespoons of loose leaf tea in a vessel.
  2. Add 48 ounces of cold, clean water.
  3. Place in the refrigerator and steep for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  4. Strain and add sweetener if desired.
  5. Serve over ice or drink it cold, straight from the fridge without any ice to dilute the flavor.

Cold-brew Iced Tea Brewing Tips:

  • Use double the amount of loose leaf tea used for brewing hot tea.
  • Use fresh, cold water. The quality of water will affect the taste of the tea.
  • Be sure to strain the leaf from the tea once steeping is complete.

Now that basics are covered, experimentation is key to developing unique and delicious cold brews. Again, since the chances of bitterness and clouding are significantly reduced, it’s hard to go wrong. Feel free to increase the amount of tea, don’t be afraid to use more leaf, or vary the steeping time.

Already cold brewed a tried and true favorite? Try something new. This method is particularly suited to delicate white teas like White Peony or Snow Buds. The mild flavors of these refined and understated teas are truly enhanced by cold brewing.

For those who like sweet teas try our Tropical Breeze or Black Currant. Keep in mind this method brings out more of the tea’s natural sweetness, so sample the batch before adding additional sweetener. If needed, try honey or agave, both dissolve more easily in cold liquids.

Already have a pitcher of cold brew that’s not quite ready? Need tea now? Try this alternative hot brewing method for flavorful iced tea.

Posted on

How to Make Iced Tea

Summer time is tea time and what better way to kick off the season than by brewing up your favorite iced tea? It’s easy, here’s how.

Start by choosing the perfect tea. While black teas are most commonly used for iced tea, almost any type of loose leaf tea or herbal blend can be chilled and made into a refreshing iced tea.

What You’ll Need:

  • Your favorite loose leaf tea
  • Fresh water
  • A way to heat the water: electric tea kettle, stove with a tea kettle, a campfire
  • A vessel to put the water and tea in for steeping: a large pitcher
  • A method of straining the tea: coffee filter, tea strainer
  • Cups, glasses
  • Ice

How to Make Homemade Iced Tea:

  1. Heat the water to just a boil and pour the hot water into your steeping vessel.
  2. Measure out the tea and add it to the pitcher of hot water. You want to double the amount of tea you would use for hot tea when making iced tea. Allow the tea to steep for 2-3 minutes and strain.
  3. Pour over ice and enjoy.

Once you’ve got that delicious beverage in hand find a cool, shady spot and enjoy the summer months.

Posted on

3 Easy Steps to Flavorful Iced Tea

When the weather heats up it is important to stay hydrated. The healthiest and most delicious way I know to keep my family drinking fluids is with homemade iced tea.

I use my MIST Ice Tea Jug to brew up several jugs of refreshing iced tea throughout the day. The simple hot-steep method using the MIST Ice Tea Jug makes 1½ quarts of iced tea in about 10 minutes.
You can use any loose leaf tea, including green, black, white or oolong. Herbals like Rooibos and Yerba Maté make delicious iced teas as well. Iced tea made with loose leaf tea is more flavorful and healthier than powdered mixes, bottled iced tea, or grocery store bagged tea.

Easy 3 Step Iced Tea Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 3 C water, heated to the temperature recommended for the tea or herbal of your choice
  • 2 to 4 Tbs tea leaf or herbal, depending on personal preference
  • 1 Tbs stevia leaf
  • 2 C cold water
  • Ice

Directions

  1. Add tea leaf or herbal and 1 Tablespoon stevia leaf to MIST Ice Tea Jug.
  2. Pour 3 cups heated water into MIST Ice Tea Jug and steep for recommended time.
  3. Add 2 cups cold water and ice to fill MIST Ice Tea Jug. Stir to melt ice and chill for 30 minutes, or serve immediately over ice.
Posted on

Raspberry Rosé Mother’s Day CockTeas™ Recipe

When I think of mom, I think of herbal tea. I can’t help myself. It must be all the childhood memories of peppermint tea for tummy aches or chamomile for restless nights. Although I myself am a bit of a purist preferring a nice loose leaf oolong or green tea, if I’m brewing up a cup for mom it’s still likely to be herbal.

There is one thing mom and I do have in common though, and that’s enjoying a well-crafted cocktail. In the spirit of celebrating mom, me, and tea I’ve whipped up a Mother’s Day CockTeas™ recipe sure to please generations young (but not too young) and old.

I had to start with Tea Phactory’s signature herbal blend, Raspberry Rush. We created this one with moms in mind and it’s only available from us. This herbal infusion, with a burst of “fresh from the garden” fruit flavor and a light citrus twist is sure to delight everyone. Raspberry Rush starts with the tang of hibiscus petals and cranberries and finishes with a sweet raspberry flavor. Combine with the bright floral notes of elderflower liqueur and you’re well on your way to a perfect Mother’s Day.

Raspberry Rosé Mother’s Day CockTeas™ Recipe

15mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz Raspberry Rush syrup
  • 2 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • Brut Rose Champagne

Add Raspberry Rush herbal tea syrup and St. Germain liqueur to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into four champagne saucers. Top with Brut Rosé Champagne. Garnish with orange peel and fresh raspberries.

Raspberry Rush Syrup

Ingredients

  • 2tbs Tea Phactory Raspberry Rush loose leaf herbal tea
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup sugar

Bring water to a boil. Steep tea for 2-3 minutes. Mix hot, brewed tea with sugar. Combine well. Chill.

Now, a suggestion if I may. This is mom we’re celebrating and we are using Tea Phactory’s signature herbal tea blend, so let’s keep the trend and choose a proper Brut Rosé Champagne. Might I recommend the Louis Roederer Brut Rosé, the Moët & Chandon Rosé Imperial, or the lovely Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut Rosé. Now, if you have a relationship or budget that far exceeds mine, by all means consider the Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades Rosé.

Whichever Rosé Champagne you choose, this herbal tea infused cocktail is pretty in pink just like the blanket mom wrapped me in the day she brought me home from the hospital. So raise your glass to the lady who gave you life. Cheers!

Oh wait, wait. I can’t disappoint mom, so before I let you go, one little lesson. Just like mom would have taught. Herbal “tea” isn’t actually tea you see. Only the beverage brewed from the leaf of the Camellia sinensis bush is actually tea. Remember from earlier? I’m a bit of a purist that way, loving the black teas, green teas, oolongs, and the like. Herbals, like our Raspberry Rush, are more technically referred to as herbal blends, herbal infusions or tisanes. But let’s not get too technical.

Enjoy the Mother’s Day CockTeas™, and don’t worry if you overindulge just a little. After all, you can always cure what ails you with some of our loose leaf Ginger Peach black tea. Just perfect to soothe the tummy and the soul. Unless mom talks you into some of the Peppy Mint.

Posted on

Champagne Love Song CockTeas™

What better time than Valentine’s Day to launch our CockTeas™ line of tea based and tea inspired cocktail recipes? Also, what other spirit than Champagne would do for such an occasion? The only question remaining was which of the amazing blends of Tea Phactory tea would be ideal to craft the perfect love inspired libation?

The answer was clear; Sweet Symphony. Its herbal bouquet, scented with wildflowers and roses, finishes with a sweet minty note. Roses are a traditional means of evoking affection and with the addition of mint you can seal each sip with a kiss.

Build this romantic cocktail right and its gorgeous red and pink ombre effect makes it a visual treat and a feast for all the senses.

Champagne Love Song CockTeas™

15 mins Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz Tea Phactory Sweet Symphony syrup (recipe below)
  • 1 oz Pama pomegranate flavored liqueur
  • 4 oz Champagne
  • red rimming sugar
  • pomegranate seeds for garnish

Directions:
Dampen rim of champagne flute with Sweet Symphony syrup and rim with red sugar. Add Sweet Symphony syrup and Pama to cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into rimmed flute. Top gently with champagne for a layered or ombre effect. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Sweet Symphony Syrup

  • 4 tbs Tea Phactory Sweet Symphony herbal tea
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 cup sugar

Bring water to a boil. Steep tea for 3-4 minutes. Mix 1 cup hot, brewed tea with sugar. Combine well. Chill.

Posted on

Five Health Benefits of Rooibos

Rooibos has been receiving a lot of attention in the tea world recently, and rightly so. Rooibos is a naturally sweet, caffeine free herbal tea safe for anyone to consume, from infants to the elderly. The people of South Africa have been drinking Rooibos tea for centuries.

Red Rooibos

Rooibos, or “Red Bush”, derives its name from the color of the leaves after the oxidation process, which turns the leaves red. Rooibos brews up a deep copper-red tea that is also known simply as “Red Tea”.

Green Rooibos

Green Rooibos, the unprocessed leaves, has the same health properties as “Red Tea”, with some of the benefits increased by as much as 30 to 40 times.

5 Things You Should Know About Rooibos:

  1. Rooibos contains over 40 polyphenol compounds that exhibit antioxidant effects.
  2. Rooibos is rich in vitamin C, and minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, and zinc.
  3. Rooibos contains a compound called Superoxide Dismutase, which has been known to boost the immune system.
  4. Rooibos contains a natural substance called Quercetin, an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties that may help those suffering from seasonal allergies.
  5. Rooibos tea maintains the balance of sodium and potassium mineral salts in the body after exercise.

Rooibos is a very versatile herbal tea. You can:

  • serve Rooibos tea hot or cold
  • refrigerate and reheat it without a change in flavor or appearance
  • steep it for long periods of time without bitterness due to the low tannin content
  • flavor it with lemon or milk, or add cooled Rooibos tea to fruit juices and smoothies.

I use Green Rooibos tea in Splendiferous Rooibos popsicles, a healthy sugar-free popsicle that I enjoy making for my nieces and nephews.