Iced tea is a refreshing drink any time of the year. With our basic iced tea recipe it is easy to brew quality iced tea. Iced tea brewed fresh at home has a far superior taste to bottled iced tea. We did a little research to find the origins and history of iced tea and were surprised to find that it most likely began right here in the United States. According to the Joy of Cooking by Rombauer & Becker, iced tea was first served during the Saint Louis World’s Fair in 1904. Due to sweltering temperatures, hot beverage sales were very bad. A gentleman by the name of Richard Blechynden had a tea concession in which he had invested a lot of time and money. Desperate for sales he began to offer iced tea to the public. It quickly caught on and sales were brisk. Iced tea has since become the beverage of choice during hot summer months as well as year round.
Iced tea is simple and fast to make at home. As with all tea it is best when brewed fresh at home. For variety add a strawberry, lemon or orange slice or sprig of mint. Follow the same general brewing guidelines as for brewing hot tea. In general the only difference will be in the strength of tea brewed. When brewing tea for use as iced tea you will generally want to make it double the strength of hot tea to allow for dilution when served over ice cubes. Remember use clean equipment and start with fresh good tasting water. Review additional brewing tips at How to Brew Tea. Below is our simple recipe which can easily be adjusted to make more.
Basic Iced Tea Recipe
- 2 teaspoons loose tea or 2 teabags per cup of boiling water
- boiling water
- Optional – one of the following – sprigs of fresh mint; lemon slice; orange slice or strawberry
- Optional – sugar to taste
Boil desired amount of water. Add boiling water to your tea and let steep (about 5 minutes for black teas or 3 minutes for green teas). Strain and allow to cool to room temperature. Pour into glass filled with ice. Add sprig of mint, a strawberry or slice of lemon or orange. Sweeten with sugar to taste.
As a general guideline for one quart of boiling water you will need 6-8 teaspoons of tea or 6-8 teabags. We suggest starting with 7 and if desired, increase or decrease amount of tea in the next brew. If the resulting brew is too strong, simply dilute with a little fresh water. We prefer using loose tea but quality tea bags will also yield a quality iced tea. Some tea companies will have tea blends specifically created for iced tea.