Preparing Loose Leaf Tea, History & Culture -- Please Wait...  Preparing Exceptional Loose Leaf Tea Experiences... Please Wait.

Iced Tea – A Summer Treat

FORLIFE Mist Iced Tea Jug 50ozIced Tea is certainly a favorite in the United States. Some estimates suggest that as much as 90% of all tea consumed in the US is iced tea. Much of this is either bottled iced tea or iced tea served at restaurants around the country. It's so popular in American culture that we have even dedicated June as National Iced Tea Month.

Iced tea came into the mainstream in the United States when it was served, out of necessity, at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904. However, iced tea had been a regular fixture in American homes as a green tea cocktail as early as the 1800’s.  Iced tea back then was more of a cocktail than a refreshing drink. Cookbooks in the later-half of the 1800’s started to talk about iced tea in the forms most American’s think of today – tea, ice, lemon and sugar.

Today specialty, loose leaf, tea provides an excellent way to expand your iced tea options. Loose leaf tea, on its own, provides a vast array of flavors from which to choose.  It's easy to to make homemade tea using any one of two different methods, each providing a different taste experience, even using the same loose leaf tea!

Cold Brewed Iced Tea

Cold brewed iced tea is easy to make, and unlike brewing iced tea with boiling water, produces some great green iced tea. Simply add some loose tea to water, place in the fridge and let sit. Specifically, add roughly 7-10 teaspoons of loose leaf tea to 48 oz of water. Put the loose tea and water into the pitcher and put it in the refrigerator for about 8-10 hours and then strain off the loose tea. The timing isn't necessarily exact so making a batch the night before is perfect for having cold brewed iced tea first thing in the morning.

While a pitcher and kitchen strainer works fine, accessories like the FORLIFE Mist Iced Tea Jug make preparing cold brewed iced tea much easier. Add loose leaf tea to the jug and place in fridge.  When you are ready to enjoy simply pour the tea directly into a pitcher or glass. The FORLIFE Mist Iced Tea Jug has a fine mesh strainer built into the top that strains off the loose tea leaving only the iced tea itself.

This cold brew method has been used in Japan for many years and is only recently becoming popular in America. Most Japanese green teas work well cold brewed. Japanese green teas that work well cold brewed include SenchaBancha, and Kukicha.  Other green teas like Chinese BlueberryGunpowder, and Jasmine Green work well using the cold brew method as well. Even oolong teas like our Pick Your Own Oolong and our Summer Oolong work well as cold brewed iced tea.

Summer Oolong Tea Dry Leaf and LiquorWhen making cold brewed iced tea, you can still use black teas.  They will brew well using the cold brew method, however they will have a significantly different taste and aroma. Experiment with different amounts of water or tea to find the taste that works best for you.

Traditional Iced Tea

Iced tea is traditionally made by infusing tea with hot water and pouring over ice.  Iced tea machines generally are designed for tea bags and apply boiling water to the bags before discharging over a pitcher of ice. This probably isn't the best choice for making iced tea with loose leaf tea though. The tea in tea bags is normally fannings and dust. These are small pieces of tea that infuse very quickly, usually in seconds.  Loose leaf tea, on the other hand gives a wider variety of flavors than one will generally find in tea bags, but does take a bit longer to infuse.

To make iced tea using hot water, follow the same general directions as you normally would but with half the water.  So to make Lemon Iced Tea using the traditional iced tea method infuse 4 teaspoons of loose tea with 2 cups of water for 5 minutes.  Strain off the tea leaves and pour over approximately 2 cups of ice.  Similarly, if you wanted to make an iced green tea, like Vietnamese Green, using the traditional method then infuse 4 teaspoons of loose tea with 2 cups of 180°F water for 3-5 minutes.  Then strain and pour over approximately 2 cups of ice.

Great Iced Tea with Tisanes

Adirondack Berries Tisane Dry Leaf and LiquorWhite great iced teas can be made from loose leaf tea, its also possible to make great iced tea from tisanes and herbals. Tisanes and herbals, most of which are naturally caffeine free, provide even more possibilities for a refreshing iced beverage.  Generally when using the traditional hot brewed method, tisanes should be steeped for 7-10 minutes with boiling water before pouring over ice.  Just be sure the blend doesn't include green tea as this will turn bitter when brewed with boiling water.  Cold brew tisanes using the same method as with loose leaf tea.  Some of our favorite iced tisanes are Adirondack Berries and Dulce de Leche.