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Simple iced tea

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:20 am
by Neptune

I'm a coffee geek / home roaster and a home brewer. I like flavor diversity. I have always had respect for the tea world, but haven't really pulled the trigger on investigating it thoroughly. It's something I'm starting to dabble in a bit more. Baby steps.

In the meantime, I'd like to make iced tea for my wife and could use some suggestions. It's her go-to drink. Not herbal, not flavored, not sweetened, just straight-up black iced tea. While it might viewed as heresy among the tea elite here, one of her favorites is Pure Leaf - yep, the stuff in the plastic bottle. So that's the target I'm intending on replacing for a number of reasons: reduction of plastic waste, knowing what's in it, being in control of the process so I can tweak the flavors, etc.

Besides the addition of citric acid for that tang, I'm intending on starting with our unfiltered well water (tastes good) and an organic loose leaf black tea- initially something as middle-of-the-road as possible. As time goes on, I would like to try variations, but I want to cover the basics first.

What might you steer me towards for a good tea to start with? Maybe Ceylon?

Thank you for your time.

Re: Simple iced tea

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:31 pm
by rdl
I think you cannot go wrong with the choice of a Ceylon tea, the better the tea the better iced tea, but I don't use anything very expensive. Kenilworth is nice. I did want to give you two possibilities for the future. Jasmine iced tea is really delicious, as long as it isn't the cheap stuff, and Thai Nguyen tea from Vietnam is fantastic iced, with a very distinct taste.
I'm not thinking about cool drinks for a few more months but I'll be curious what you decide on.

Re: Simple iced tea

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 5:06 pm
by Neptune
Thank you kindly for your response! I will indeed start with a Ceylon and go from there. I do appreciate the other suggestions. I love Jasmine tea and I'm curious about how that would turn out iced (doubt my wife would like it but who knows, possibly!).

I realize that asking for suggestions on making a straightforward iced tea is akin to asking a home brewer to make Coors Light, but what the heck. Should be fun for my wife and I both to tinker with.

Re: Simple iced tea

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 6:42 pm
by Andrew S
@Neptune: welcome to the forum. You should feel free to experiment with iced tea, since you and your wife might find something that you did not think you'd enjoy.

Perhaps asking for suggestions on tea bags for iced tea would be like asking how to make Coors Light, whereas you're rather looking at how to make something a little bit more interesting and special than that.

I'm not much of an iced tea drinker (nor much of a black / red tea drinker), so others here would know better (and I'm conscious that I'm not answering your question directly), but when it is oppressively hot and humid down here, I sometimes put white tea (a bai mu dan style) into a French press coffee plunger with room temperature water, put that into the fridge, and let it steep overnight.

Perhaps a Darjeeling could be interesting to try if you want something a bit 'lighter', fruitier or more refreshing than a typical Ceylon style of black tea. You might need to add less tang that way as well.


Re: Simple iced tea

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:05 pm
by Baisao
Welcome to the forum!

I think you are already on the money for where to start. I'll add my two cents on iced tea.

I'm from the South and like iced tea in the summers because the bitterness gives a feeling of coolness. It's a cool feeling like a G&T or a plate of sliced cucumbers. I like iced tea without sugar or lemon. I prefer it with the "good ice" so I can chew the tea flavored ice afterwards. Most Americans will instantly know what the "good ice" is. It's a near perfect beverage for hot, humid summers. Stimulating, thirst beating, and cooling.

To me it is a perfectly valid tea even if the leaf quality is unexceptional.

One thing I like to do in the summer is to cold steep spent gaoshan overnight. Talk about cooling! I simply take the gaoshan leaves from the end of a tea session, place them in a jug of water, and let them steep in the fridge overnight. The leaves are usually good for two rounds of cold steeping. Best cold tea ever.

Re: Simple iced tea

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:28 pm
by Bok
@Baisao lol I did not even know what “bad ice” was until I visited the US for the first time… :lol:

I took chlorine free water for granted before that. Even coke can’t cover up that disgusting taste.

I second Gaoshan for cold/iced tea, although I use fresh leaves just chuck in the fridge for a day or two. To speed it up one can brew half volume with hot water, let sit, add ambient water and put in the fridge or just add the equivalent in pure ice cubes.

Baozhong works a treat as well. Even teas I’d normally avoid like the pest in their hot state, aka Sun Mon Lake Hongcha n.18 become something drinkable iced.

Re: Simple iced tea

Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2022 6:38 am
by Neptune
Thank you all for the welcome and the suggestions!

I will be starting with a Ceylon for the iced tea experiments, and I'll report back.

But man... these words! It's all so new to me, it's exciting.

Thai Nguyen
Bai mu dan style

Yeah, I feel a deep dive coming on. Found myself waking up at 3am and reading about tea regions. I think 2022 will be The Year of Tea for me.

Thanks again.