Chilling out: how to make iced tea


July 05, 2006|By ERICA MARCUS


Most tea producers sell blends especially suited to serving cold. The designated iced-tea blends are more commonly found in Southern markets than in local ones, but you can make perfectly good iced tea from regular hot-tea blends. I did that with three mass-market teas: Lipton, Tetley Classic Blend and Bigelow English Teatime.

But pouring hot tea over ice results in an unpalatably weak solution. To do it right, you have to cool your tea to room temperature. Hence the question: Is there a quicker way to make iced tea than by cooling an equivalent quantity of hot tea?

There is. I put four tea bags in a heat-proof glass container and steeped them in a cup of boiling water. After 5 minutes, I took out the tea bags and let the tea rest for about 30 minutes, until it came to room temperature. Then I cut it with cold water and served over ice.

This method of making a very concentrated brew and then diluting it with cold water has two disadvantages: The resultant tea has a tendency to be somewhat cloudy and it has a definite bitter edge. But the bitterness worked well if balanced with sugar. (To make sweetened iced tea, add the sugar to the still-hot concentrate once you remove the tea bags. This way, the sugar will dissolve completely.)

If you have a little more time, I suggest you try the following method, which produces a flavorful but mild tea that is perfectly clear: Cover 4 regular tea bags with 2 cups of cold water and let stand for 2 hours at room temperature. This is, in effect, sunless sun tea.

Erica Marcus writes for Newsday. E-mail your queries to, or send them to Erica Marcus, Food/Part 2, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Road, Melville, NY 11747-4250.

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