Hot sunny weather ahead! And what suits it better than a glass of refreshing beverage. Or is it a cup? Some folks like sipping a hot drink during the warm season because it can cool you down a little. Think chai. It’s actually a Hindu word for “tea”, which, in turn, is derived from the Chinese word for tea – “cha”. Chai recipes vary from country to country, but one of the most beloved one is a tea-like beverage called masala tea. It’s mixed with many spices: cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, peppercorns, etc, then diluted with milk and sweetened with honey or sugar. If you prefer something like this, you are definitely a tea connoisseur, and we appreciate that.
However, many people choose cool drinks during summer, iced tea being one of the easiest and most popular. On the surface, any regular tea in the pantry can be brewed and transformed into a refreshing drink by simply adding some ice cubes in it. However, a good iced tea can be a lot more complex and “drinkable”, with some interesting flavor profile.
There are three ways to make an iced tea. The quickest is an iced-chilled tea. It’s made by brewing a hot tea and immediately cooling it down using a ton of ice. And it’s ready to drink right away. The second path is brewing a hot tea and putting it in the fridge to cool down. The longest version is a cold brewed tea. You put some tea leaves or bags into a jar, pitcher, or jug and let them steep for 12-15 hours. Some say it’s the best way to get a clean-tasting drink.
Scoop a tablespoon of black, green, white, or oolong tea and dilute with one quart of water (hot or cold, depending on your method). White teas tend to be more delicate and light, green – fresh and grassy, oolongs – more rounded and roasty. When you have your cold tea, you can now twist it in many interesting directions. First things first, try a classic iced tea with lemon juice and sugar (in the 1:2 proportion). Add ½ vanilla bean to elevate it to the next level. Try to play with different spices as well. Add cinnamon, Sichuan peppers, star anise to the jug and see where it will bring you.
While many don’t seem to be liking bitterness in their teas, we think that the optimal drink is the one that has as many tastes in it as possible. If you brew black tea, chances are you already have some bitterness in it, but if you’re making your drink with more delicate teas, you might want to add a few dashes of aromatic bitters. Think Angostura. Watch out for kids though, they might not need such add-ons during hot days.