Iced Tea 101 - Loose Leaf Iced Tea

It’s summer! The cold winter days of drinking a steaming cup of tea are behind us. However, this does not mean that tea is gone for good! Make the simple switch from hot tea to iced tea, without losing the flavors and aromas that you enjoy about a good quality cup of tea.

Here’s everything you need to know about summer’s most famous drink!

Iced Tea's History

While tea has an extensive history, iced tea has only been around since the preservation of ice. Ice was considered a luxury item in the early 1800s, because of the difficulties preserving chunks of ice cut from frozen ponds and lakes. Southern states had no chance at gathering ice due to their hot summer temperatures. Fortunately, the Northern states started to become big contenders in the global ice trade in the early 19th century and were able to ship ice to the South. 

With tea plantations popping up in the Southern states at this time, it was only fitting that they were the ones who came up with the first versions of iced tea. Common English and American tea punches used cold green tea and alcohol, very different to the black tea used today. The first recipe for iced tea was published in 1879 by Marion Cabell Tyree which called for “green tea to be boiled then steeped throughout the day. Finally, fill the goblets with ice, put two teaspoonfuls granulated sugar in each, and pour the tea over the ice and sugar.” 

Iced Tea became commercialized during the World’s Fair in St. Louis by Richard Blechynden when people were wishing for a cold drink as opposed to his hot tea samples, even though iced tea is now known to have existed prior to this event. 

Brewing Methods

Iced Tea - Quick Brew

This is a traditional method where tea leaves are steeped in hot water. After you brew the leaves for the appropriate time, it is chilled in the refrigerator. You can also pour it over ice right after brewing. Make sure you use 1.5 times the amount of tea leaves than normal because the ice with dilute the tea. Boiling water and then cooling it down can result in a more bitter flavor of tea, which makes this a good method if you are looking to add sugar and make a “sweet tea.”

Cold Brew Tea

This is a one-step method that takes a longer time to brew than the traditional technique. Steep your leaves in cold, filtered water and refrigerate it for 4-10 hours. It is important to note that time is the deciding factor on how the flavors are extracted, so use 1.5 times the amount of tea leaves than you would when making traditional iced tea.


Kouridashi Style

This method of brewing comes from Japan where umami is one of the basic tastes. Here, fine tea leaves (typically white or green) are scattered over ice cubes. As the ice melts, it allows the flavors within the tea leaves to be distributed evenly. This can take from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Make sure you use high quality tea to achieve the best umami flavor. 

The main taste difference between iced and cold brewed comes from the water temperature. While heat helps extract flavors, it also brings out the bitterness in the tea leaves. With the cold brew method, there is no heat involved which results in a sweeter and more refreshing tea. 

The Best Iced Teas

Typically, cold teas are made with black, green or white tea, with herbal tea sprinkled in the mix. Here is a list of our favorite teas that can be made cold for a hot summer's day!

Strawberry Hibiscus:  This fun and vibrant tea is a smooth and fruity tea bursting with tart berry and sweet strawberry flavor. Strawberry is a powerful antioxidant renowned for its ability to ward off natural diseases. Also, it contains additional nutrients such as fiber, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and folate.

Peach Oolong: A peachy oolong tea for fruit tea lovers. Dark Taiwanese Oolong, Apple Pieces, Marigold Flowers, Apricots, Natural Peach Flavor

Moroccan Mint: Symbolic of Morocco's cuisine and hospitality, this is a refreshing green tea with a natural  mint flavor.

Turmeric Dawn: A unique fruity tea that is great warm or iced, due to the fruit and warming spices like cinnamon. 

Stay tuned for Open Door Tea's Iced Tea recipes! Click here to view all our other tea products!

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