There are few things more refreshing than a cold glass of good iced tea. I’ve tried iced tea from a lot of places, but the best I’ve had to this day is my own recipe. It’s so easy that I can’t in good conscience keep it secret. It’s also far cheaper than anything you can buy in a can or bottle, and a lot healthier because it doesn’t require any kind of sweetener. The only down side is that it takes a few hours to cool.
The short version: Make good tea with boiling water, then let it cool slowly before serving.
The long version:
Any decent black tea should work, but my favourite is loose Twinings Earl Grey (Amazon.com). The loose version tastes quite different than their tea bags, so do put in the effort to find it.
You will also need a fine strainer to remove the tea. I use a cloth tea sock (Amazon.com).
Also, be careful that you brew the tea in a container that can handle boiling water. A heat-safe glass pitcher is nice, but a regular metal pot from your kitchen will do just as well. Once it’s down to room temperature, you can transfer it to any container you like.
I add 25 mL of loose tea for every 1 L of boiling water. Make sure the water is actually at a rolling boil. The hot tap on your water cooler is not going to work for this.
Set a timer for 5 minutes. At about 2 minutes, stir the tea. At 5 minutes, remove the tea strainer gently without stirring. The tea seems to produce the most flavour about two minutes in, and the most bitterness at the end of the steeping. Stirring only the once yields the smoothest flavour for me.
Let the tea cool slowly to room temperature, then put it in the fridge to cool the rest of the way. Adding ice while it’s hot can disturb the flavour, and dilutes the tea.
Once it’s cold, pour a glass, add ice if you like, and enjoy.
You can experiment with different teas. Green or white tea should work, but follow their proper brewing instructions. Only black tea should be brewed with boiling water. My second favourite mix is using a plain black orange pekoe, inserting a couple springs of fresh mint after removing the tea.