How To Make Iced Teas

By October 1, 2009 8 Comments

I was suppose to send this post out in the beginning of summer, but whoops time flew by!  Today, my tea expert Maleah is here to share with us how to properly prepare iced tea.  Even in the fall, iced tea can be extremely refreshing after a great workout!  Maleah often brings her iced teas to my fitness classes for everyone to drink!  They are awesome!   To learn more about Maleah’s unique and exotic teas visit her website at

I was able to get my readers a great discount!  If you spend at least $30 on tea, you will receive $5 off of that purchase!  Make sure to put the coupon code Dustin2009.  This is only good until Oct 15th.

A question I often get asked is… If you tell me I shouldn’t drink soda, fruit juice, or diet soda, what else can I drink besides water?

My answer is always TEA!

Here it is!
As warmer weather approaches, many tea drinkers will find themselves wanting to swap their cups of steaming hot tea for tall glasses of iced tea. Though the beverage market is swamped with a wide variety of ready-to-drink teas-everything from sugary and flavored to plain and sublime-making your own iced tea gives you the creativity to make your very own concoction with whatever tea you decide upon. It’s easy to make and the options to personalize it are endless.

Local tea business, Cha Cha Tea, aims to provide simple guidelines for making tea. Remember, tea is simply tea and water! The timing and temperatures of water make the difference between an ok tasting cup and a great tea experience.

Cha Cha Tea’s Hot Brew Method
A quick recipe for one gallon of iced tea from a Cha Cha Tea Iced Tea pouch:

1. Add tea pouch to 1 gallon (64 oz) tea pitcher
2. Pour 32 oz. of boiling water over pouch. Steep 5 minutes.
3. Add 32 oz. of cold water and remove pouch.
4. Pour over ice and enjoy!

*Easier Than You Think Iced Tea

Iced tea made from loose leaves is simple too. And is very easy to make. Steep tea stronger not longer. Simply double the amount of tea leaves (making it two teaspoons per cup of water), and steep as usual (five minutes in most cases). Once tea is ready, dilute with an equal amount of cold water or ice.

Plain v. Flavored
There is no right or wrong- it’s up to you and whatever your palette is in the mood for! If you opt for plain, use the best quality whole-leaf teas you can find. You may want to stick with teas that have ‘bright’notes; teas with inherent floral or fruity notes chill well. Teas with earthier, malty notes may not sound as appealing, but to each their own! Be adventurous; you might find something you enjoy hot makes a great cold, refreshing drink.

* Fresh or Frozen Fruit: Fruit can definitely jazz up any iced tea. If using a flavored fruit tea base, try a different kind of fruit to make a blend. Think of other fruits other than the usual lemon garnish. If using frozen fruit, they can also act as cooling agents for your iced tea. Chop up fruit into smaller pieces and add to tea after pouring over ice.

* Other Additions: Try sweetening your iced tea with 1/2 Cup of fruit juice or fruit puree. Pomegranate juice adds healthy components (to an already healthy drink!) and it’s flavor is not too strong to overpower the tea flavor. Garnishes can also make for a winning iced tea: citrus flowers and herbs, but also edible flowers can make a decorative touch if you float them on top. Try also freezing juice or tea in ice cube trays and adding to the tea for both flavor, color, and to keep the tea cold.

Cha Cha Tea’s Hot Brew Method:


Cha Cha Tea’s Cold Brew method:

This cold brew method also known as the slow tea method brings out all the flavor and none of the bitterness.
1. Add 2 tablespoons of loose tea to a tea pitcher. (Pictured is a 1 liter (33.3 oz) pitcher)
2. Fill with cold filtered water
3. Cover and place in fridge for 4 hours
4. Pour and enjoy!


The dark side of sun tea:
One of the most popular teas in summer is “sun tea” – tea that is brewed by leaving a clear container with tea in it out in the sun for a few hours. While this has a certain appeal because it is such an easy process, not to mention the fact that tea looks awfully pretty in the sunlight, it bears some risks. The essential problem with brewing tea using this method is that sun tea will not get hotter than 130 degrees fahrenheit (54.44 C), which is not hot enough to kill bacteria in the water or in the tea leaves. Standard brewing processes for hot tea are always hot enough to ensure that any undesirable microbes are killed, eliminating this risk. In addition to the insufficient heat, sun tea generally sits around for a lot longer than hot tea, giving the bacteria a chance to multiply and become problematic. In essence, the sun tea method is a lot more like making tea in a contaminated Petri dish than a teapot.
“Using the natural rays of the sun to make tea is fun and popular in the summer. However, using such a method to make tea is highly discouraged. Sun tea is the perfect medium for bacteria to grow. If the sun tea has a thick or syrupy appearance, it may be due to the presence of a ropy bacteria called Alcaligenes viscolactis. Ropy bacteria are commonly found in soil and water.”
The quote above is from Is Sun Tea Safe?, on the Colorado State University Extension SafeFood Rapid Response Network.
Of course, every summer people brew and drink gallons and gallons of sun tea and do not get sick. This does not mean that there is no risk. If you’re okay with the possibility of stringy rope-like bacteria breeding in the tea you drink then there’s no reason to change your ways. But I don’t see much reason to continue using this method after finding out about its inherent dangers, even if the statistical risk of illness is not great. Plus there are excellent alternatives for making iced tea.
Boiling the water before you make sun tea can prevent the bacterial risk, but once you’ve gone to that effort you might as well just hot brew the tea in the normal fashion and then cool it in the refrigerator. But if your goal is to avoid using the stove on hot days, an ideal solution is to cold-brew your tea. I believe that there is a common misperception that tea leaves require boiling, or at least very hot, water to release their flavors into the water and transform it into tea. The reality is that steeping tea leaves in cold water for a few hours in the refrigerator produces excellent tasting cold tea. This method also works quite well for many tisanes (non-tea infusions).
What it all boils down to (or doesn’t boil at all in this case) is that there’s really no compelling reason to make sun tea when you want to drink iced tea. You can take those same containers you’d put out on your porch and put them directly into your refrigerator instead. The tea tastes every bit as good or better and it’s much safer. While drinking tea contaminated with Alcaligenes viscolactis will just make you sick, not kill you, it seems preferable to avoid any possibility of its stringy, ropy presence in your glass of tea.
If you need more evidence,, the reliable source for verifying or dispelling rumors and urban legends, supports the view that sun tea is unsafe.