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iced tea recipe

I just got back from two weeks of vacationing in the USA, and fell in love with UNSWEETENED ICED TEA....Unsweetened iced tea is not served at our major cafes in Toronto (unfortunately)....
Anyways, since i can't buy it, i figured i'll make my own and keep it in the fridge. Any recommendations on how to make a nice (non-bitter) iced tea? Tea brands also would be appreciated. I drink orange pekoe. And, i have never used loose tea, usally bags.
Thanks in advance.

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  1. Here's a link to a recipe which is quite similar to the iced tea I make:

    NB: Remove the tea bags from the brew before you store in the fridge.

    1. For summertime fruity iced teas, I usually make "sun tea" - put a bunch of tea bags in a pitcher of water, place outside in the sun until nice and dark. This summer I've done mostly peach but have also done passionfruit, pomegranate, and berry. Makes the 'unsweetness' a little nice. Great with fresh mint, too!

      1 Reply
      1. re: laurendlewis

        You'll find some nice blends for iced tea as well as a neat brewer that Bodum makes.

      2. Well it's nothing fancy, but we love Red Rose (cut the paper tags off the strings) and 11 bags to 1 gal of cold (filtered) water, Sit in the sun for a few hours until the desired color. Then refrigerate. We serve with lemon and or fruit like a slice of peach or nectarine in a tall thin glass with ice and straws. If I could find those clear dark green ice tea glasses with the little knobbed clear glass feet my mom used to serve them in, I'd pay any amount of money. Takes me back, but its the same tea.

        1. I also love good iced tea, which can be difficult to find in the Northeast. Many places bring you iced tea in a can or iced tea made from a powder (yuck). I also like to do the sun tea and you can use any kind of tea you like. I found a sun tea gallon jar with a spigot on the bottom at Target. Once the tea is made, you can store it in the frig and pour from the spigot. As an FYI: I don't know if you have Chic-Fil-A up there, but they have great iced tea and they also sell it by the gallon if you are feeling lazy and don't want to make it yourself.

          1. My iced tea gets lots of compliments. No bitterness, and it's perfectly clear -- no cloudiness. My tips: In a quart-sized jug, brew 6 tea bags for 15 minutes in 2 cups boiling water with a pinch of baking soda. Remove the tea bags -- do not squeeze them -- and discard. Sweeten if desired, then add 6 cups room temp water, stir, and chill. As for the tea bags, I'm not brand loyal, but I've been using 4 bags of Trader Joe's Irish blend with 2 bags of the TJ Mango black tea.

            The two keys to eliminating bitterness seem to be the pinch of baking soda and not squeezing the tea bags. Good luck!

            1 Reply
            1. re: osmom

              I brew good quality black tea that I get from specialteas.com and this is their own reco. for how to make a wonderful glass of tea that answers the questions, "Why brew loose tea rather than bags?" My personal favorite is their peach black tea but they have something called summer blend that I want to order.


            2. The best tea for iced tea is Luzianne. It is a belnd of orange pekoe and cut black pekoe. It does not go cloudy in the fridge. I buy the quart sized bags and generally ust brew 1 qt./day and don't refrigerate it. 4 C. boiling water to 1 bag and allow to steep. Sometimes I use 2 bags and make it double strength and then dilute it to taste.

              1. Amen to that. When I first moved to Toronto back in '93, I was shocked that iced tea everywhere was sweetened and "lemon flavour". Eeeew. Had to make my own at home to compensate. Honestly, you can't go wrong -- just pick your favourite tea bags and use any of the methods described above. Boiling water is fast, but sun tea is very nice and mellow -- no bitterness.

                You can also make a concentrate -- just steep using hot (not quite boiling) water and brew it stronger than you would drink. Keep the concentrate in the fridge and pour into a glass and add cold water and ice to desired strength. Takes up less room. :)

                1. This is SO easy... and you don't need sunlight!

                  Fill a large glass bottle with cold water and add teabags. I use a liter bottle with 4-6 Lipton orange pekoe teabags, but adjust it to your own taste. Cover, put immediately into the fridge, leave overnight, and next morning squeeze and remove teabags. You'll have rich, clear iced tea, that's not at all bitter.

                  1. I never seem to think ahead enough to do the sun tea- so I'm in a hurry when I decide I want it. I put 1 bag for every glass I want in a pitcher, add half as much boiling water, steep for 15 minutes, remove the bags, then add the rest of the water cold with lots of ice cubes (so if you're adding 4 cups of H2O, fill a 4-c measure w/ ice, top off with cold water). Stir it all together, and when the ice cubes melt, it's usually cool enough to pour into a glass with ice and drink. Takes about 20 minutes start to have a glass of fresh iced tea.

                    1. I'd use the best black ceylon leaves I could find if you want some good plain black iced tea. I usually use loose-leaf tea, so I use about 5.5 Tbsp of tea leaves to make 8 cups of tea. I steep the tea bags for about 6-9 minutes, and then use equal amounts of cold water and ice to dilute it. I usually don't get any bitterness with this method, and you can always dilute it a bit more. I also like steeping the tea with fresh pieces of ginger and adding lemon slices to the end result.

                      1. my standard recipe for a gallon is: 10 lipton tea bags and 6 Celestial Seasonings Lemon/Raspberry/Wild Berry tea bags.

                        If I have it I add juice from 1/2 a lemon and then a few slices of lemon. I boil about 1/4 gallon water, let tea bags steep for 15 mins, add lemon and slices, fill the pitcher with tap water and throw in the fridge immediately. My no-boil version is the same, just w/cold water and a few hours wait.

                        I am addicted to Tazo Tea's Passion and usually take one bag of that and lipton while at work and let steep in my Nalgene bottle overnight...voila! tasty drink for the next day with no sugar.

                        I don't like to steep the tea overnight b/c it's a little too bitter...but have been known to :)

                        1. I am a fan of the sun tea idea-its so clear-looking and easy to do.I like mine pre-sweetened with artificial sweetener (this is optional, of course, for purists). All I need to do is add 4-5 of my Hermesetas saccharine tabs to the jar I am "baking" in the sun. What is nice is that the varieties are endless: I am just finishing a pitcher of sun tea made with Chai tea bags and it was terrific and about 1/10 the cost of ice teas in the store!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: LJS

                            I drink at least a gallon per day. Easiest way to brew it is in a coffee maker. I use 4 regular bags for a 10 cup cofffee maker. Pour it into a pitcher & refrige. Dilute to your taste.

                            As for what kind. You have to check out Republic of Tea's web site. Highly recommend their blackberry sage, but not full strength. Like 1 b/s bag to 3 regular orange pecoe & pecoe

                            1. re: whats steeping

                              another thing I thought of that is really good is to steep tea leaves in liquor for making cocktails. try some earl grey in gin. no need to chill it, the liquor will do the work at room temp. 12 hours is good enough.

                              1. re: ricepad

                                WOW! Thank you for that link. Back to boiled water for tea from now on.

                              2. I drink sun tea unsweetened and I use a mix of lipton bags and some red zinger from celestial seasonings ..hibiscus flowers, wild rosehips and lemon grass.