My wife and I are giving up Soda after thinking about the costs and the potential negative health issues. We basically drank it for the caffeine and because we don’t’ care for plain old water. Plus, by going to Iced Tea I think we’ll be drinking something that might have some health benefits (Green tea, Flavinoids).
All we’ve ever used was Lipton basic Tea and Green Tea. We’re going to mostly buy loose tea since the little bags are unnecessary in our Ice Tea Maker. I don’t care for coffee because of its bitterness, but if anyone has some suggestions on some kind of Iced Coffee that’s not so bitter I’d be happy to try that out too (as long as it’s not expensive).
So hopefully some of you are big on Brewed Icy Drinks and can offer up some good stuff!
I’ve recently been introduced to the wonder of Hibiscus (Jamaica) Tea. I’d rather not drink straight up water, but regular teas and juices tend to have too much sugar in them which give me headaches. Hibiscus Tea tastes kind of like cranberry juice, but without the “tartness.” You can buy packs of it (dried) at any Hispanic grocery store, or even some major grocery stores (Walmart).
You boil the Hibiscus leaves in as much water as you like depending on how strong you’d like the tea to be. Add as much sugar as you’d like (I add maybe 2 spoonfuls?) Then you put the mixture in the refrigerator for it to cool down. You’ll have a nice pitcher of Hibiscus tea within no time. It’s tasty, basically only water, hibiscus, and however much sugar you’d like to add yourself. You can Google the health claims too.
What’s nice is that even afterwards you can add water/sugar to alter the taste.
I suggest finding a local tea shop, because in my experience the people who work at tea shops are fanatical and love to share their knowledge. I’m sure they’d be able to tell you a great green tea for iced tea, the best way to prepare it, and the entire history of that variety of tea.
Pretty much any iced coffee is going to be bitter as hell without cream and sugar, which I imagine you want to avoid.
Earl Grey and green tea are my favorites. If you are buying pre-brewed stuff, always check the label for that damn “high fructose corn syrup”. Hard to find unsweetened tea in a bottle (if I want sweet, I’ll drink my Coke, thank you very much).
And I disagree re iced coffee - I have it quite often, black, and it’s quite tasty. In a way it’s more flavorful - a lot of the roasty notes come across more prominently. I actually prefer the flavor, when push comes to shove.
Apparently you can cold brew coffee in a french press - it takes more, and you have to let it sit in the fridge overnight; but you end up with coffee that apparently has some really rich flavor. I have yet to try this; when I do I’ll report in.
Tea- I mix up some(I like Nestea), then squeeze a fresh lemon into it. Toss in some ice cubes and you’re done. I have a lemon tree in the backyard so it works out pretty well.
Coffee- I brew my coffee(I like Timothy’s) in my Keurig, then when it’s done I put a cup with ice under the spout. The coffee comes out steaming hot, hits the ice, and is cold by the time the machine is done pouring the cup. You need to make sure the creamer and sugar, if you use any, is already in the cup. If you try to add it after, the coffee is already too cold to dissolve it.
For iced tea, keep everything as generic as possible. Any higher end tea is going to basically lose its character when chilled. I do recommend getting to know tea in general. Any good tea snob will giggle when somebody says “I like green tea.” Simply because, there are dozens of different kinds of green teas, and their taste runs a huge spectrum. My favourite is Pearl Jasmine tea, or Bailin Gongfu. Edit- Note that neither of these teas are green, because I don’t care for ‘real’ green tea very much. I am even leery of many Oolongs.
I know maté is one of those teas weird alt-med types latch on to (they even call the caffeine in it by the made-up chemical name mateine). But I was introduced to it in high school by an Argentine friend and it’s good stuff.
Yeah, it’s nice. Kinda smoky, yet not overly so, like Lapsang Souchong.
For iced tea, I like the fruit blends of St. Dalfour. Non-artificially flavored, and far from cloying, they have just the right amount of fruit to give it some character, yet not so much that you lose the taste of the (organic, Ceylon) tea. The lemon tea is particularly nice.
I don’t really care very much about which tea it is for iced tea. I brew it super-strong, and that wipes out any nuances anyway. I like most of the common store varieties of green and black tea equally as iced tea, so whichever cheap tea happens to be there is what I use.
Sun-brewing, meh. I just take a 4-liter erlenmeyer flask, heat it on the stove till it starts to simmer, drop in 8 or so teabags (tied together with a thread to make them easy to get out) and leave it simmering for a while, then plunk it in the refrigerator to cool down. I only take out the teabags after it gets cold to get the most out of them. So pretty much everything is done wrong in any normal sense of brewing tea, but it’s the easiest and quickest way for me to make a lot of iced tea at once, and it tastes fine to me.
I’d love to try some authentic maté sometime, but I don’t know any restaurants offhand that serve it in the traditional way, and just buying some and pretending it’s tea seems kind of lame.
I tried Yerba Mate for the first time last week. It tasted like dirty hay. More specifically, it reminded me of the stuff horses leave behind as they trot. But then I ordered it again this week, and liked it more. It has an earthy taste that definitely grows on you.
Since the weather finally cheered up here, I started brewing batches of lemon grass and peppermint (equal parts, but I’m still experimenting). I’m just copying something I once had at a cafe. Sometimes I throw in a little squeezed lemon and natural sweetener for extra flair, and sometimes turn it into an Arnold Palmer (non-alcoholic).