Iced tea is a beloved beverage that can be enjoyed in many ways. There are two popular methods to make iced tea: hot-brewed and cold-brewed. In this article, we will explore the traditional hot-brewed method of making loose leaf iced tea. So grab your tea leaves and let’s get started!
Measure Your Loose Tea
To begin, measure your loose leaf tea. The general rule of thumb is to use 1 teaspoon of loose tea per cup of iced tea. However, keep in mind that fluffier blends like white teas or Chamomile might require more, while denser teas like Gunpowder may require less. Refer to the suggested serving size on your tea package to get a precise measurement.
Heat Your Water
Next, heat your water to the recommended temperature for the type of tea you’re using. Fresh water is preferred to avoid any stale or flat tastes. Be careful not to over boil the water, as it can affect the flavor. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can estimate the temperature based on the behavior of the water.
- 180°F: Bubbles form on the bottom of the pot
- 195°F: The first bubbles begin to rise
- 212°F: Full rolling boil
Infuse Your Tea Leaves
Now it’s time to infuse your tea leaves. Make a double strength infusion by steeping your tea for the suggested time using half the amount of water you would typically use for hot tea. This extra strength is crucial to prevent your tea from becoming watered down when poured over ice.
For example, use 1/2 cup (4 oz) of hot water for every final cup of iced tea. Pour the heated water over the tea-filled paper filter bag or infuser, ensuring that the tea is fully submerged. When the appropriate time has passed, remove the paper filter or infuser.
Remember, steeping time matters! Brewing your tea for too long can result in bitterness. If you prefer a stronger brew, use more tea instead of extending the steeping time.
Sweeten and Chill Your Tea
If you enjoy sweetened iced tea, dissolve sugar or honey in the hot brew. Then, let your tea chill. If you plan to drink it immediately, pour the double-strength infusion directly over an equal amount of ice. If you want to enjoy it later, dilute the double strength infusion with room temperature water in a 1:1 ratio. Let it stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before refrigerating. This gradual cooling process helps prevent cloudiness, which can occur when tea is chilled too quickly.
It’s important to note that cloudiness in iced tea is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, it indicates a higher quality tea with desirable tea solids. Teas from the Nilgiri region of India are known to resist clouding better than others.
And there you have it! The art of making perfect loose leaf iced tea using the traditional hot-brewed method. It’s a refreshing beverage that can be customized to suit your taste preferences. So go ahead, experiment with different tea blends, and enjoy the delightful experience of sipping a glass of homemade iced tea.