Wednesday June 10 is National Drink Iced Tea Day! I apologize for the short notice. I realize the best iced teas are ones that take some time to brew. My personal favorite ice tea is the Pineapple Coconut Oolong from Samovar Tea Lounge. It has to brew 24 hours to reach its perfect naturally sweet flavor. It might be worth a plane ride just to sit on their patio and sip a big glass of it.
I recently experimented with my own cold brew ice tea, taking only half the time of the Samovar blend. Just 10 hours before I could enjoy the cold glass of citrus infused Assam iced tea. The recipe was from the book Tea: History, Terroirs and Varieties. I bought this book to further my tea education before I leave for China and was pleasantly surprised to find tea recipes in the back. Cold brewing your own iced tea is simple enough, provided you have the materials on hand (everyone keeps cardamom pods in their spice cabinet, right?) and don’t mind the 10 hour wait.
But what if you’re reading this too late to make your own brew? What if you don’t have spare star anise waiting in the spice cabinet? It’s okay. Even in societies like Japan were tea is an expression of culture more and more people are turning to bottled tea. You can still experience a good quality iced tea on the go if you know what to look for.
Many bottled teas are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners, making them no better than a soda. Check your ingredient label and go with no sugar or natural sweeteners like stevia or honey.
All true teas (from the Camellia Sinensis plant) have some level of caffeine. There is nothing wrong with caffeine unless you have specific sensitivities or issues. If you need caffeine free, choose an herbal or rooibos tea.
Artificial Flavors and Colors
Those fruit flavors don’t always come from real fruit. Once again read the label to see how your blueberry tea gets its flavors.
Not sure where to begin your search? Try these brands I recently taste tested.
Ayala’s Herbal Tea The Chamomile Bergamot Vanilla
This blend is a delightful way to cool off at the end of a hot day. The smoothness of the vanilla is what you taste first followed by a hint citrus from the bergamot.
Rooibee Red Tea
Naturally caffeine free, the red bush tea will also have more sweetness than a green or black tea. It’s also rich in anti-oxidants and vitamin C.
Teas’ Tea Jasmine Green Tea
Jasmine green is one of my favorite teas and it makes a great introduction to green tea if you’re a newbie. This blend isn’t bitter, which can happen if green tea is over brewed, and has a very refreshing smooth taste.
Honest T Moroccan Mint Green Tea
If you need just a little sweet this organic green is sweetened with just a touch of honey. The mint taste is smooth and crisp without being overwhelming. You can still taste the tea!
Honest T “Just” Green Tea
No sweetener in this one so you can enjoy it any time. I had mine after yoga. I bet it would taste amazing after an early morning hot yoga session.
Inko’s White Tea
I am not usually a white tea fan but this one made a pleasant post lunch treat. White tea is lower in caffeine and has a taste very different than black or green. This would make a great pick for the non-tea drinker who wants a cold beverage option besides water.
How are you going to celebrate Drink Iced Tea Day?