Brewing Iced Tea
Almost any tea you enjoy hot can be poured over ice for a refreshing change. Some teas, however, lend themselves to making a better glass of bright, cold, clear, and flavorful iced tea. One tea that is excellent for this purpose is Keemun.There are also many tasty non-clouding specialty iced tea blends you can create yourself.
Clouding or “Creaming”
Teas cloud (or “cream” — the term used by experts) when the pH or chemical balance in the glass is upset. Clouding does not usually alter the flavor of the tea by itself. If the flavor is “off”, suspect the water or unclean brewing equipment.
Sometimes it can be as simple as the type of tea. Some teas have a high acid content which will change the pH level in cool water. Assam teas from India are particularly susceptible. These teas are high in compounds called theoflavins and theorubigins, which combine with the calcium and/or magnesium in tap water to form salts that won’t dissolve in cold water. As hot tea cools, the minerals in the water and the compounds in the tea clump, giving the tea a murky appearance. If your chilled glass of iced tea clouds, try slicing up some citrus fruit and adding it to your glass. Lemons, limes and oranges are high in acid and will help balance the pH level and add a nicely complex note to the tea itself.
Brewed iced tea is more than 99 percent local water, so another major factor in clarity can be the quality of the water being used. High mineral content, chlorine and water hardness can easily affect both the clarity and taste of the brewed tea. If your local water is high in mineral content, consider using filtered water or bottled drinking water.
Brewing with a Coffee Maker or Electric Tea Brewer
When using a standard coffee maker to make tea:
Use 1 ounce of tea to 64 ounces of water.
Run one cycle through the leaves.
Pour hot infused tea into 64 ounces of cold tap water.
Place blended tea into a dispenser.
Another option is to pour the tea from the pot back into the water reservoir of the coffee pot and rebrew the tea through the same leaves. Let it cool before placing in a pitcher.
Brewing Tea Traditionally:
Do not bring water to a full boil. It should be between 190ºF and 200ºF.
Steep the tea no longer than 3 – 5 minutes or it will be bitter. For stronger tea, use more tea. A longer steep only makes the tea bitter.
If clouding occurs immediately following brewing, lower the brewing temperature of the water next time, and add some citrus fruit to this brewing.
Never use a coffee maker or pot that brewed coffee for tea. Any item previously used for brewing or storing coffee will contaminate the tea and alter the flavor.
Storage and Serving Tips
Add ice when serving.
Do not store overnight. Brew tea fresh each day.
ALWAYS WASH OUT YOUR BREWING AND SERVING EQUIPMENT DAILY.
ICED TEA SHOULD BE MADE FRESH DAILY.
Prepared by Airship OtherNaut and OctopodiCon, LLC