A lot of tea companies will guide you these days towards home-made ice teas, because: easy to prepare and a better thirst quencher than the well-known sugary beverages from the supermarket. But do I have to sweeten? And how?
For weeks the heat is scourging The Netherlands. Before I started typing this message I just read an article that the Dutch Water Authorities were gathering and making agreements to pump up extra water. The National Heat Plan has been in effect for a few weeks and today (27 July) is probably going to be the warmest day ever measured in Amsterdam. So: not too much exertion today, keep hydrated and take it easy. For a lot of people a cold beer or a prosecco seem to match this weather, but it’s way more fun (AND more refreshing) to get to work and create your own ice tea.
A so called “coldbrew” is probably the most easy way to prepare your ice tea. It’s very simple: a measured amount of tea leaves is put in cold water and will steep in your refrigerator all night long. The next morning you filter out your tea leaves and your ice tea will be ready to drink! Really: high quality tea leaves will perfectly steep in cold (!) water! Varieties containing essential oils from fruits are delicious to prepare as a cold beverage, but – of course – that’s also a matter of personal taste. (You can find a number of suggestions on this page).
Suger (but be moderate)
During these hot summer days I prepare several litres in the evening, so I can enjoy my home-made ice tea the next morning. I’ll admit it: I have a sweet tooth. In may ways (chocolates, biscuits), but not in my ice tea. I like to drink this fresh, but with a little sweet edge to it. In contrast to what I read in a lot of media, I’m not afraid of sugar, provided that I don’t use too much of it. For my basic recipe of ice tea I use about one-and-a-half to two table spoons per litre of water. This is approximately equal to three to five lumps of sugar. An average ice tea from your local supermarket contains roughly 21 (!) sugar cubes per litre, so – depending on the variety that I prepare – about four to seven times as much! Also, my ice teas are prepared with the lovely varieties of Maison THEODOR, so: natural, pure tea leaves, herbes and perfumes, no preservatives or artificial flavourings, et cetera.
Hint: I prepare my ice teas with the tea leaves in filter bags. This way I don't need to filter out the leaves when the ice tea is ready.
In the past few weeks I’ve been experimenting with agave nectar. This is a syrup that is extracted from the agave cactus. This syrup (or nectar) is sweeter than sugar, but doesn’t give you an insulin peak when using it. That is why agave nectar is regarded as a “more responsible” sweetener, butttt…. the components of the syrup have the same effect as regular sugar syrup. (Eventually it will get on your hips, so it’s better to use it in a moderate way ;-)
The text above naturally is a personal contemplation. I always advise my customers to experiment! In the last couple of years I tried several ways to give me that edge of sweetness. Personally, I don’t like the popular stevia (because of the bitter side taste), but maybe you would. Honey won’t nicely dissolve in cold water and also gives an overpowering honey flavour to your ice tea. (Too bad, but I really would like to taste my tea). Or maybe you like your ice tea in most purest form: coldbrew tea leaves without any sweetener added to it. A lot of fruit flavoured teas or compositions of herbs from THEODOR contain sweeter notes; maybe that’s how you like it best!
Curious to see more? I have created a selection of my favourite varieties in a separate category in the online store. In addition, anyone who orders tea from me in these hot days will receive my basic recipe on a handy card.