This summer I have been working on perfecting a recipe for iced tea. It seems like it would be a pretty simple task, but there were a few things that need to be experimented with to balance the various flavours. First, obviously is the tea. How much? Then the sweetener. Sugar? Honey? How much? Also this recipe is to make a cold tea, so steeping the tea in cold, not hot water.
Well, what I have learned in the first 5 or 6 attempts is the following: tea bags are inconsistent. So the strength will vary quite a bit. However my current mix is 4 tea bags to make around 2 litres of iced tea. To help manage the variation in strength, I steep the four tea bags in 4 cups ( 1 litre ) of water in the fridge for 12 or more hours, once it has finished steeping I can add water to dilute to the appropriate strength. There have been a few other issues with steeping tea bags this way. Some tea bags float, even after soaking for hours. This can keep them from steeping to full strength. I have been trying to find a good way to weigh down the bags.
To sweeten I dissolve 1/4 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water and add that to the tea. The easiest way to disolve the sugar is to mix the sugar and the water and then microwave for a minute. This will make the sugar dissolve easily. You can also do this with honey, although I prefer the cleaner taste of sugar.
As for teas, I've tried a couple types, a black and a couple of jasmine. I'm mostly trying to use various teas that we had lying around, instead of buying teas specifically for making iced tea.
What I would like to do is start using loose leaf tea instead of tea bags. That way I can measure the tea by weight, and hopefully get a more consistent strength.
So in summary:
- 4 tea bags steep overnight in 4 cups of water (in the fridge). Try to make sure the bag sink.
- dissolve 1/4 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water and then add to the 4 cups of tea
- mix well and taste. Add additional water as necessary.
- serve over ice.
I really want to start on some more interesting mixtures, but I need to nail down a consistent base recipe first.