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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.

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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.
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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.

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The Copywriter…Edited CockTeas

You’ve been adding honey and whiskey to your tea since your grandma told you it could cure a cough. It’s time to take your tea and whiskey game to the next level just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Get there with this Irish whiskey inspired cocktail.

Copywrite ingredients tea cocktail recipe

I’ve been a fan of The Copywriter, and thankful to its creator Steven Weiss of Craftbar in NYC, since I stumbled across this refreshing little gem. After all, this tasty concoction is an easy-drinking blend of Irish whiskey, lemon, and honey syrup. What more could you ask for in a drink?

Well if you’re me…tea.

This flavor profile is just begging for one more Irish addition. Since you can almost never go wrong with a standard like Irish breakfast tea, and you’re making a honey syrup anyway, may as well go for the gusto.

This edited version has everything you could want in a whiskey cocktail.

Copywriter Edited CockTeas

The Copywriter…Edited CockTeas™ Recipe:

15 mins Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Irish whiskey, such as Jameson
  • ¾ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 oz Honeyed Irish Breakfast Tea syrup
  • Seltzer, chilled
  • Garnish, lemon twist

For each cocktail add whiskey, lemon juice, sweet vermouth, and honeyed tea syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with seltzer. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Copywrite ingredient lemon juice

Honeyed Irish Breakfast Syrup

Bring water to a boil. Steep tea for 2-3 minutes. Mix 1/2 cup hot, brewed tea with honey. Combine well. Chill.

You’ll be singing Danny Boy in no time.

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Yerba Mate Double Berry Booster

Yerba Mate Double Berry Booster

We understand, it’s early spring and the last of the winter doldrums are still lingering. You’ve lost enthusiasm for your New Year’s resolution to get healthy but you realize swim suit season is still right around the corner. You need something to boost your metabolism and your spirits. We have just the thing.

Enjoy Tea Phactory’s Yerba Maté Double Berry Booster which starts off with yerba maté, well known for providing a smooth increase in energy, and combines it with the metabolism-enhancing punch of goji and maqui berries.

This powerful brew, with delicious berry notes, is made slightly sweet with the addition of stevia. We recommend enjoying at least two cups a day to get the full energy enhancing and metabolism boosting benefits. Replace your morning coffee or tea routine to get your day started right and repeat the ritual in the afternoon for the perfect pick-me-up.

Yerba Maté Double Berry Booster Recipe:

15 mins
Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2tsp Yerba Maté
  • 1tsp Stevia leaf
  • 1tbsp Dried goji berries
  • 1tsp Maqui berry powder

Heat 16oz fresh, cold water to a boil then cool to 160°F. Place yerba mate, stevia leaf, dried goji berries, and maqui berry powder into infuser basket. Steep 5 minutes, strain.

Tip: Take care not to use boiling water and always remove leaves from water to prevent the brew from becoming bitter.

yerba-mate

Tea Phactory’s high quality Yerba Maté is made from the dried leaves of the evergreen holly Ilex paraguariensis. It offers the health benefits of tea while providing the kick of coffee without the irritating jitters. It boasts a clean, calm energy and promotes a state of alertness.

goji-berries

Maqui berries are small, dark purple berries grown on evergreen shrubs in southern Chile’s Patagonia region. This ancient, antioxidant-filled berry was used for centuries by Mapuche Indian warriors to improve strength and stamina. The slightly tart flavor offers hints of blackberry and pomegranate.

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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.

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Top Five Strongest Black Teas

Strongest Black Loose Leaf Teas

Black tea accounts for more than 90% of all teas sold in the West. Americans drink black tea hot throughout the day, as an alternative to coffee. We also enjoy iced tea, most of which are made from black tea. Earl Grey, English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast are all popular blends made from black teas.

Black teas offer a bolder, stronger flavor range due to their longer period of oxidation during manufacture.

If you like your teas bold and strong you will definitely want to have these teas in your collection:

  • Yunnan – fully bodied and slightly peppery, but with a light maple sweetness. Yunnan comes from a remote region in China.
  • Assam – slightly malty, rich and dark. The Assam region is the largest tea producing district in India, and their black tea is a standard in the industry for its rich, heavy liquor. It’s also a good tea for blending.
  • Ceylon (Sri Lanka) – medium to strong, depending on region. The island of Sri Lanka is known for producing three types of tea depending on the altitude where they are grown: low-grown, medium grown, and high-grown. Teas grown in the higher elevations (5,900-6,500 ft.) of Sri Lanka have a good balance of flavor.
  • Darjeeling – a light tea, with a nutty, fruity, and/or floral flavor. Produced only in the Darjeeling region of India, Darjeeling is also known as the “champagne” of teas. It’s a great tea to enjoy in the afternoon because it’s lighter than many other black teas.
  • Oolong – flavors of apricot and peach – Oolong teas fall between green and black teas, with the lighter varieties being closer to green, and the darker ones closer to black teas. Choose a dark oolong for the strongest flavor. Mid-day is a good time to brew oolong, when you can best enjoy the complex flavors and aromas. Oolongs improve with multiple infusions.
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What is Matcha?

What is matcha

Matcha is a powdered green tea that was brought to Japan from China by Zen Monks around the seventh century. Buddhist monks used matcha for their Japanese tea ceremony, Cha No Yu, which the people of Japan still perform daily. Harmony, respect, purity, and serenity define the principles of the Cha No Yu.

Matcha is derived by grinding green tea leaves in a stone mill to form a fine powder. Powerful and concentrated, Matcha is rich in vitamin C. Somewhat bitter, with a slight aftertaste of spinach, Matcha is traditionally served with something sweet just prior to drinking the tea.

Brewing Matcha Tea

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 8 oz of water, heated to 175°

Directions:

  1. place matcha powder in bowl
  2. pour in warm water
  3. whisk slowly, at first, and then faster, in a ‘W’ formation until tea is frothy (about 1 minute)

I like to drink Matcha in the early afternoon as a quick all-natural energy boost.

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Three Tips to Prevent Cloudy Iced Tea

Tips Preventing Cloudy Iced Tea

Spring is here and we can start looking forward to sunshine, warmer weather, and drinking plenty of refreshing iced tea. There are many bottled or ready-to-drink iced teas on the store shelves, but they can be loaded with sugar and preservatives.

Brewing your own iced tea is fun and allows you to control the ingredients. You can personalize your iced tea by adding fresh or frozen fruits, different herbs and spices, and sweetener to your taste.

Sometimes iced tea can turn out cloudy or foggy in appearance, referred to as clouding. This happens randomly and is purely cosmetic – it doesn’t change the flavor or reflect the quality of the tea.

Solutions to Three Causes of Clouding

  1. Hard water contains high concentrations of minerals that can form visible solids which are not easily dissolved in cooler water temperatures.
    Solution: Use filtered water.
  2. “Shocking the iced tea” (a term coined by tea industry consultant Richard Guzauskas) is a phenomenon that occurs when black tea is cooled too quickly.
    Solution: Allow the brewed tea to come to room temperature naturally prior to refrigeration.
  3. Black teas are most prone to clouding due to the oxidation during production.
    Solution: Use green loose leaf teas, herbals, rooibos, or yerba maté, all of which make tasty iced teas.

TIP: If your tea does become cloudy you can save it by adding a small amount of hot water. This will reorganize the chemical structure of the tea and remove the cloudiness. Take care not to add too much hot water or the tea flavor will become diluted.
To avoid cloudiness all-together try the cold-brewing method.

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Stevia – Nature’s Sweet Herb

Stevia Natural Sweetener

Are you looking for a natural, calorie-free way to sweeten your tea without the use of sugar and its empty calories? Give Stevia leaf a try. You can add a pinch of natural stevia leaf to all loose leaf teas and herbals as they steep to enhance their flavor. Stevia is especially effective in eliminating the astringency of some black and green teas. I also enjoy stevia brewed on its own as a sweet, zero-calorie tea.

The herb Stevia rebaudiana is a member of the sunflower family and has been used as a natural sweetener for hundreds of years in South America.

Stevia is sold in the United States as a dietary supplement and is available in two forms:

  1. Natural whole leaf, dried or powdered, is about 10-30 times sweeter than sugar.
  2. Pure stevioside extracts in white powder or clear liquid form that are 200-300 times sweeter than sugar.

I prefer to use the whole leaf stevia to sweeten my tea.

What you Need to Know About Stevia:

  • Stevia has been tested extensively for safety with no known toxicity associated with stevia herb.
  • Glycoside molecules in stevia produce a sweet taste that adds 0 calories and no carbohydrates, making it a great alternative to those who cannot tolerate sugar or other sweeteners.
  • Stevia is stable when heated, making it suitable to use in recipes.
  • Stevia sweetens and enhances the flavor of other foods.
  • Stevia accounts for 40% of the commercial sweetener market in Japan, sweetening products such as chewing gum, candy, soft drinks and juices, baked goods and other low-calorie foods.

Health benefits of Stevia:

  • Stevia is sold in some South American countries as an aid to diabetes and hypoglycemia.
  • Stevia has been traditionally used to lower blood pressure, relieve nausea, aid in digestion and to reduce obesity.
  • Stevia increases energy levels and mental focus.
  • Stevia herb, used as a mouthrinse or added to toothpaste, has been shown to inhibit the growth and reproduction of bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay for better dental health.
  • Stevia concentrate may be applied directly to blemishes, acne, or lip and mouth sores, and is also effective for dermatitis and eczema.

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Sources: The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine by Brigitte Mars, A.H.G. Stevia, naturally sweet recipes for desserts, drinks and more! by Rita DePuydt