As far as beverages go, tea is pretty special. Second only to water, it is the most popular drink in the world and has been for centuries. Over two billion cups are enjoyed every day around the world. Every country in the world has its favorite blends and styles of tea to drink. Depending on your culture, tea can be healing, relaxing, invigorating, or welcoming.
Today, tea is perfect for pretty much any occasion. It can warm you up on a cold day or provide a source of ice-cold refreshment on those days when the temperature rises.
If you’ve never tried iced tea before, you’re in for a real treat. People have been drinking ice tea in some form since the 1800s and it’s becoming more popular all the time. It’s tasty, refreshing, and versatile. You can experiment with a range of flavors fruits and spices to find your perfect brew. There are hundreds of different blends and flavors to try. You’re guaranteed to find your perfect brew, and have fun trying.
As the experts in all things iced tea, we’re often asked a lot of questions about the way to make the best iced tea. In this article, we’ll answer some of your most common questions about making, flavoring, and storing your iced tea.
Why do you put baking soda in iced tea?
If you’ve ever enjoyed an amazing glass of iced tea, you’re probably wondering what the secret is. Everyone has their little tricks and ingredients for making their own perfect iced tea.
If you’ve been served the best ice tea, the chances are the secret ingredient is a little pinch of baking soda added to the mix. Strange as it might seem, it’s a great piece of advice. But why would you add baking soda to iced tea? Surely it would taste strange? A small pinch of baking soda in your iced tea can neutralize the tannins found in black tea. It is these tannins that give tea its slightly bitter aftertaste. The more tannins a tea has, the more bitter it will taste.
The baking soda gives your tea a much smoother taste, leveling off any bitterness or aftertaste. You can use the same trick with green tea or hot black tea too.
Try it now, thank us later.
Why does my iced tea get cloudy?
If you’ve ever made a beautiful jug of iced tea, only to go back a little later and discover it isn’t looking or tasting its best, you’re not alone, it’s a common issue. How to prevent your iced tea from developing a cloudy appearance is one of the questions we’re asked the most.
Creating a pitcher of delicious iced tea, only to find that soon after that it’s turned cloudy, can be disappointing. The chances are it won’t taste as good either. There are several reasons this could be happening. Here’s are the most common issues and what you can do to fix them.
1. Clean your tea-making equipment - one of the most common reasons for cloudy tea is using equipment and utensils that aren’t clean enough. Any dirt or grease on your teapots, jugs, or spoons will mix with your tea, making it look cloudy.
Often, these items might look clean but can have a film of grease or dirt that you can’t see. Try washing your tea making items separately from the rest of your dishes in hot soapy water and rinse them well.
If you usually use a dishwasher, run a service wash with a specialist detergent to clean out any blockages or build-up that stops your dishes from getting really clean. Check that there isn’t any detergent residue left on the items you clean.
If you’re sure everything’s squeaky clean, then it’s something else making your iced-tea cloudy.
2. Don’t change the temperature too quickly - when brewing your iced tea, don’t be tempted to throw in the ice too quickly. Suddenly moving from hot to cold can shock the tea and cause cloudiness to develop in the tea. Once your tea is finished brewing, make sure that you let it cool down to about room temperature first before adding the ice to it. Or you can pour it directly over ice in a glass and let it cool for a few minutes before drinking it.
3. Use filtered water - the quality of the water you use has a big impact on the look and taste of your iced tea. You might think that water is clear and doesn’t taste anything, so how can it affect my iced tea? If you’re living in a hard water area, then your tap water can contain various chemicals, that while safe to drink, can alter your tea. Water can contain high levels of fluoride as well as higher amounts of magnesium or calcium. This can have a huge effect on your tea. If you suspect that your water quality is to blame, try using filtered water to see if that makes a difference. If you do and it doesn’t make any difference, try one of the other potential remedies.
4. Don’t refrigerate your tea for too long - you might make a huge pitcher of iced tea and decided to store it overnight to enjoy the next day. Keeping it refrigerated for too long can cause the polyphenols in the tea to interact with the magnesium and calcium in the water you use. This not only creates a film of cloudiness in your tea but affects the flavor too. If you drink iced tea every day, brew a new batch rather than storing it overnight, it will be fresher and clearer. We don't recommend holding tea longer than 8 hours at room temperature and 3 days refrigerated.
What's the best sweet tea brand?
Of course, there are many great brands out there that produce sweet teas, from boutique brands to large tea producers.
Sweet tea is brewed to be strong and often has sugar or sweetener added to it. Sweet tea is a traditional drink of the American South, whereas other areas often drink black, unsweetened tea. However, the popularity of sweet tea is growing in all areas.
How do you sweeten iced tea?
Prefer your iced tea with a bit of extra sweetness? There many ways you can satisfy that sweet tooth.
Honey and sugar
Regular sugar and honey are popular options for most people. They dissolve best in warm or hot water so the best time to add these is just after you’ve finished brewing while the water is still hot. Adding it to cold tea can leave you with grains of sugar collecting at the bottom of the glass, or honey floating around.
If you need to sweeten your tea after it’s already cooled down, then try using sugar syrup. You can make your own at home, or it can be bought cheaply enough at stores. You can also try using light agave syrup, it’s super sweet though so only add a little at first and build up to your desired taste.
Coconut sugar is also a good choice if the flavor compliments the tea you have chosen.
Herbs and spices
Your spice cupboard is a treasure trove of flavor that you can experiment with in your iced tea. Try using lemongrass, nutmeg, star anise, cinnamon, or ginger to perfect your flavor. Warming spices work best with black teas. Their flavors are contained within their oils so for best results, add when the tea is hot.
The fruit is a natural sweetener, and good for you too. You can add a little fruit juice or syrup to your tea to give it a little flavor alongside the sweetness. Chopped fruit, left to steep in the tea while it cools can add new depths of flavor, simply remove it before serving.
If you’re looking for sweetness without the calories, then there are a range of sweeteners on the market to meet your needs. Artificial sweeteners are often much sweeter than sugar. If you’ve never used artificial sweetener before, it’s best to try it on a small amount of tea, so you don’t oversweeten the entire pitcher.
Common sweeteners include Stevia, xylitol, saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose. Some people don’t like the taste of artificial sweeteners whereas others like that they can add sweetness with the extra calories.
At Southern Breeze, our teas are sweetened with sucralose, for that perfect sweet tea taste every time.
Can you make iced tea with regular tea bags?
There’s no one way to brew iced tea, and technically any type of tea or teabag can be used. It is often black tea that is used in iced tea but you can use any type. Fruit tea bags lend themselves very well to making iced tea too.
Making it is simple too. Simply add 1 teabag per four cups of water into a pitcher and let the tea bags steep. If you are using hot water, steep for between 4-8 minutes.
Can you put a teabag in cold water?
Most regular teabags will work in cold water but as they aren’t specifically designed for cold brewing, it will take a lot longer to get the strength and taste you are looking for.
How long do you steep tea bags for iced tea?
If you’re using a special cold brew tea (like our Southern Breeze Sweet Teas) then you can be enjoying your drink in a matter of minutes. Simply add water to the tea bag and leave it to infuse for five minutes.
Our amazing range of teas also includes family-sized, hot brew tea bags, the perfect way to make enough for everyone.
Is hot tea better than cold tea?
So, personal taste aside, are there any benefits of drinking either hot or cold tea? Studies have shown that brewed ice tea has exactly the same levels of flavonoids, antioxidants, and catechins as hot tea.
If you’re a fan of a cold brew iced tea, there may be certain benefits to be had over hot tea or hot brewed iced tea. Cold-brew ice tea can have higher levels of antioxidants and other healthy substances which can be destroyed by hotter water.
Iced tea can benefit your health in other ways too. A study showed that people who drank cold, non-caffeinated, unsweetened tea experienced a greater level of thermogenic and fat oxidation than those drinking hot tea. Thanks to this effect, some people use it alongside diet and exercise to lose or maintain weight.
If you’re watching your caffeine intake, it’s usually a good idea to switch to a decaffeinated brand of tea. However, it has been found that iced tea contained less caffeine than hot tea, even when using the same type of tea to make it. If you’re looking for a caffeine hit with your iced tea, use a hot brewed black or green tea before cooling and adding ice.
What about packaged iced tea?
The growing popularity of iced tea has led to various brands of bottled ice tea being introduced. These are great if you’re looking for refreshment on the go. But should you be drinking them and are they good quality?
While there’s no substitute for freshly brewed iced tea, it’s still tempting to just grab and go when you’re on the move. As with most things, there are good and bad bottled ice teas out there. In order to keep them from spoiling, there are often a lot of preservatives and additives used in the production process.
If you’re watching your sugar levels, bottled ice tea can contain high levels of refined sugar.
Check the ingredients on the bottle of the company website before you buy. There are some brands that use organic and ethically sourced ingredients in their teas.
With cold brew tea bags now available, you can keep a few in your bag and just buy yourself some water when you’re out. Five minutes and you’ve got the best iced tea going.
How do you make tea taste better?
When making the best iced tea, you want to get it just right. As we’ve discussed earlier in the article, making sure you are using clean equipment and good quality water is vital in order to get the best iced tea.
If you’re looking to add a little extra something to your iced tea recipe, here are some tried and tested ideas from some of our customers.
- Make it fruity - fruit juice, purees, syrups can give your iced tea a zing. Try lemon, pineapple, pomegranate, or passionfruit. You’ll be adding sweetness and flavor with no artificial colors.
- Experiment with herbs - just a few herbs can add huge flavor. Try adding a few mint leaves to make a lovely peppermint tea. This has a number of health benefits too, including reducing anxiety and soothing an upset stomach. Basil is also an interesting but delicious choice for black tea, green tea, or strawberry infusions. You might be skeptical at first, but once you’ve tried it, you’ll be a convert.
- Sparkle - if you’re using a fruity flavor of tea, try adding some sparkling water instead of still for that extra level of refreshment. A little fizz goes a long way.
- Add aromatics - rose water. elderflower essence or pomegranate molasses add that touch of class and sophisticated flavor to your iced tea.
Our delicious range has a flavor for every taste and occasion. It includes single-serve cold brews and family-size hot brews, all in a mouthwatering range of flavors including:
Cold Brew Sweet Tea
- Blackberry iced tea
- Mango iced tea
- Mint iced tea
- Watermelon iced tea
- Raspberry iced tea
- Peach tea
- Black iced tea
- Half & Half
- Decaf black
Family Sized Hot Brew
- Decaf sweet tea
- Half & Half
- Unsweetened Original
- Unsweetened Decaf Iced Tea
If you’re having trouble choosing, we also offer a range of variety packs so you can explore our flavors.
We’re so full of good ideas, we developed a range of amazing recipes to give you some creative ideas to use our sweet teas. Head on over to the blog now and check them out. We recommend the blackberry sweet tea sangria.