Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Iced Tea Experiment


Even though Tea Week is over, and there is over a month until the deadline for the amazing Tea Week Contest, I have make an important discovery that I must share with my iced tea-loving readers.  I have conducted an experiment to see what, to me, is the best way to brew iced tea.  There are lots of methods, many of which I've researched online (including steeping in the refrigerator, in the sun, etc), but I tried out a couple to compare side by side which way works better.

I usually will brew tea exactly as I would for hot tea, and then let it cool and refrigerate it.  I have read many instructions advising people to brew the tea twice as strong (use twice as much tea leaves as you would for the same amount of water) and then pour it in a pitcher with an equal amount of ice.  This will cool the tea immediately and dilute it to achieve the same volume of iced tea.  So which method is better?  The method that takes longer to cool, or the one that is faster?  Honestly, just as expected, the LESS fast method yielded far superior results.

I honestly didn't think it would make much of a difference, but it sure did!  The pitcher of iced tea that was made the tradition way of brewing tea and then allowing it to cool on its own was crystal clear, lighter in color, and had a very light and flavorful liquor (this is pictured on the left in the photos).  The pitcher made by steeping it with twice as much tea and then diluting with ice (the method I've read just about everywhere) resulted in a cloudy, darker, and extremely bitter iced tea (this is pictured on the right in the photos).  I have read that some teas will become cloudy when iced, but I used the exact same tea leaves to prepare the iced teas, so that is not a variable to consider.  I ended up adding quite a bit of sugar to the second batch and it tastes okay now, but was completely undrinkable without added sweetness, while the first batch is fine with or without sweetness and is more aesthetically pleasing.

Just a little iced tea making tip from me to you, since I know in these summer months it is almost essential to have some iced cold refreshing drinks at the ready.  Cheers!



8 comments :

C and C Dish said...

Great experiment, thanks for sharing the results, I personally do the longer, traditional way and make wonderful sweet tea;)

Victoria K. said...

Good to hear I'm not the only one who prefers the traditional method :) At least now I'm absolutely sure that the other way is NOT a good way and that it will not yield acceptable results, at least not to me, haha.

Jessie said...

brewed tea is so much better than using the packaged stuff to make iced tea! at least you can control how much sugar goes into your tea :)

Magic of Spice said...

Thank you, very informative!

Biren said...

I normally take my tea warm even in the summer. It's good to know though that the slower method yields a superior tea. I'll have to make some flavored iced tea this summer. Thanks for sharing!

5 Star Foodie said...

Fun experiment with different methods of making ice tea! It's such a refreshing drink for the summer season!

Lucine said...

A picture is really worth a thousand words - I cannot believe the drastic difference between the two methods! Cool experiment, Vic!!

Victoria K. said...

I was really surprised as well, but really glad to know that I've been making it the preferable way all this time :)

Post a Comment

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...