iced tea and lemonade

Does anyone have a good recipe for iced tea or for lemonade? I tend to prefer both on the less-syrupy side, which means making my own, but I've not had much success.

When I tried this before, I used good quality tea, so I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. Is it absolutely essential to cool the tea immediately? I almost never have enough ice on hand.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Tips?

Posted by naomi on June 23, 2003 | TrackBack

I cold-brew my iced tea - you use a few more tea leaves, in a quart pitcher in the fridge, and let it sit for a couple of days. It almost never gets bitter when i do it that way. Same thing with iced coffee brewing.

If i'm in a hurry, i pour the hot tea over ice immediately, but brew my tea STRONG. How do you brew your tea?

Posted by: meriko on June 23, 2003 2:39 PM

I'd been brewing it strong -- 4-6 tea bags for a quart, left 3-5 min.

But it always came out very bitter... I wonder if the water was too hot...

Posted by: on June 23, 2003 2:42 PM

Aha. Success!!!

Sun-warmed tea:

Fill a quart pitcher 3/4 full of cold water.
Add 4 English Breakfast teabags.
Agitate. :)
Cover pitcher.
Set on front steps, roundabout 10am. When the sun has shifted the pitcher into shadow, tea is ready (about 2pm in June).

Remove tea bags. Set pitcher in fridge.
Drink tea.

Post success to gastronome. Hurrah.

Posted by: naomi_traveller on June 24, 2003 3:23 PM

my Iced Tea recipe:

boil water 1 or 1.5, let cool 30 seconds.
Add a tea ball with 2 TBSP Lipton loose tea. Dunk tea ball 100 times in water. Let steep for 20 minutes. Add 1/2 cup sugar to still-warm tea, and add ice or water to fill to 2 quarts tea.

Posted by: heather on June 24, 2003 6:52 PM

er, that was 1 or 1.5 quarts of water.

Posted by: heather on June 24, 2003 6:52 PM

Mariage Frères, the delightful Paris tea salon, serves this refreshing take on a classic iced tea at their brunch service. (The recipe is mine of course, I couldn't wrestle it out of them! Merde!)

32 oz water (about 4 cups)
5 heaping tsp of best quality Earl Grey tea--loose leaves of course, preferably Mariage Frères French Bleu. Should you only have tea bags, use them to scrub your tupperwares, not to make tea. They are wonderful at getting rid of the smelly and slick oily residue on plastic containers, but are awful to drink!
3 tbsp of mild honey (or to taste)
1.5 cups of fresh squeezed orange juice.

bring 32 oz of water to just boiling temperature, brew the tea for exactly 3 minutes. Strain the tea into a large pitcher, mix in the honey, then the orange juice. Let cool in the fridge for a bit before serving with ice---if you pour immediately the ice will melt and dilute the magic from the tea. Cover it while in the fridge or the use of the aromatic and, bien sur, expensive tea will be pointless.

A note on the tea pot: Make sure that there is enough room in your brewing basket for the leaves to unfurl properly. This means your tea ball, unless it's a giant one, should go the way of the bin. Most of the pots on sale in the US have brewing baskets that are too small, so be warned. The best thing to do is brew the tea loose in the pot and strain it into a pitcher after 3 minutes. This way your tea leaves will have all the room they need to do their magic.


Posted by: pim on June 25, 2003 5:54 PM

oops, did I say 3 minutes, I meant 5. Three minutes is how long I brew my first flush darjeeling every day, so I my fingers sneaked in the 3 without passing through my brain.

Posted by: pim on June 25, 2003 9:48 PM

ooo luscious, both of them...

i shall experiment further and report!

Posted by: naomi_traveller on June 28, 2003 11:25 AM

About that lemonade...
the nicest I've come across is also the simplest: Squeeze a few lemons, say 10 or 15, and simply add sugar to taste. I like things bitter, so I always add less than recommended. My aunt adds equal volumes of sugar: one cup of juice with one cup of the sweet stuff, which always seems very OTT, but tastes nice. This also makes terrific limenade, probably with less sugar.

Posted by: Chris on July 14, 2003 1:31 AM

You can also use Crystal Light Lemon flavor to cut out the sugar for people on low carb diets and diabetics like me, definitely!

Posted by: RainMan2 on October 24, 2004 8:37 AM

2 qt iced tea:

1) heat up about 1/2 qt water
2) turn off stove
3) insert 6 bags
4) brew for about 6-10 min
5) while it is brewing: fill 2 qt container to about 1/3 way up with ice and water.
6) remove bags
7) pour into 2 qt container which you've already prepared earlier.
8) add 1 cup sugar
9) add 1/3 cup lemon juice
10) stir until sugar is disolved
11) if the container didn't fill up all the way, top it off with cold water.
12) refrigerate.

The smaller amount of ice will make it still luke warm, but if you need it in a hurry, fill the container nearly all the way up with ice, and only add water at the end to top it off.

We happen to have this glass "whisler" kettle, and I brew the tea directly in it.

We have an iced tea machine by mr. coffee. I find if I don't remove the tea from the bags first, (eg put the whole bags into the basket) sometimes the tea is weak. So I figure if I brew it one the stove, I don't have to bother with cutting open the bags first.

Posted by: JM on July 23, 2005 1:23 AM
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