Refresh your routine with this summer drink
It’s the middle of the day, and your morning caffeine rush has sputtered to a slow crawl. You’re starting to slump but don’t want another turbocharged cup of coffee. Why not turn to a refreshing glass of iced tea?
“It’s a wonderful pick-me-up, but not so much of a boost that you won’t be able to sleep that night,” said Annelies Zijderveld, author of “Steeped: Recipes Infused With Tea.”
As the heat and humidity rise, iced tea seems like the perfect antidote for sticky weather. First, a quick tea primer: “Tea in general comes from the camellia sinensis plant,” Zijderveld said. “The varieties come from how the tea is processed and how long.”
Black tea is the most processed and has the most caffeine; green tea is less processed and lighter in caffeine, and white tea the least processed.
Herbal teas, on the other hand, are not technically “tea” because they are not made from the camellia sinensis leaves — and most do not contain caffeine. Chamomile tea, for example, is made from chamomile flowers, and mint tea is made from mint leaves. “We call it tisane or an infusion,” Zijderveld said, to differentiate the two types of drinks.
While you can make iced tea from any variety of tea or tisane, Zijderveld recommends two techniques to make the most flavorful cold tea. With either of these methods, you can play with different flavor combinations, such as green tea and mint tea, hibiscus tea and rooibos tea, black tea and citrus tea or jasmine tea and oolong tea.
How to make an iced tea concentrate
Iced tea concentrate is simply a stronger brew that can be diluted to your liking, similar to a cold coffee concentrate that can be cut with water or poured over ice. This method ensures that your iced tea won’t taste too weak or watery once the ice in your glass starts to melt.
To make tea concentrate, simply use twice the amount of loose-leaf tea or number of tea bags as you normally would when brewing hot tea. If you typically use one tea bag per 12 fluid ounces of water, use two bags for a stronger concentrate. Concentrates can also be scaled up for larger quantities.
To serve, you can either pour the concentrate directly over ice and allow it to dilute the tea as it melts or dilute the concentrate further with water or milk for a tea latte. Start with a 1:1 ratio of tea concentrate to water or