Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Making Iced Tea

Grabbing a bottle of iced tea can seem like a great idea on a hot summer day. After all, it’s healthier than soda, right? Well, that depends on the kind of tea you grab. Some brands load their iced drinks with sugar, which also means excess calories. In fact, some brands of iced tea can pack more than 200 calories into one bottle. That’s pretty impressive when you consider that plain, black tea has zero calories to start with.

A better alternative to sugary bottled tea is to brew your own iced tea at home. In doing so, you can experiment with flavors and limit, or even eliminate, the extra sugar. Plus, you’ll only end up spending around 50 cents or less per cup!

Let’s start with a basic formula for making iced tea. While there are countless recipes available online, the basic process is the same.

Start with two cups of boiling water.

Add 6-7 tea bags (or an equivalent amount of loose-leaf tea) and steep. How long you steep the tea depends on the type you are using, but it should be listed on the package. Generally, you wont need more than 2-4 minutes.

After steeping, add enough water to make two quarts of iced tea.
 Search for iced tea
Then, refrigerate until it’s nice and cold. That’s it!

Once you have the basic method down, you can experiment with flavors and extra ingredients. Remember, there are several kinds of tea and each possess unique benefits. You can also mix various flavors / types to create the perfect blend. For example, I have mixed black chai tea with green tea for a milder chai taste. Adding fresh fruit to your iced tea can also add a burst of flavor. You can also try adding spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, etc. If you must sweeten your tea, consider your options. Artificial sweeteners eliminate calories, but there are mixed opinions on them. Honey goes great with tea and is healthier than processed sugar. You can also add sweetened juice to your tea. There are endless possibilities!

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