How to Make Iced Tea
Iced Green Tea is our favorite refreshing drink for summer. We prefer homemade iced teas using organic/pure loose leaf to “ready-to-drink” teas because we can avoid loads of added sugar and chemicals. With our iced green teas, you get great flavor and quench thirst without any pesticide residue. Some tea sellers claim “conventionally grown tea leaf” is safe. (“Conventionally grown tea leaf” means the tea leaf grown using non-organic chemicals.) However, “conventionally grown tea leaf” contains pesticide residue and that is an undeniable fact. Use clean, safe, & delicious tea leaves and get recharged!
Here are our favorite tips and tricks to make easy, delicious iced green tea perfect for this summer!
Cold Brew Green Tea
Teas great for COLD BREW are “least treated” teas and “non-oxidated” teas, such as Gyokuro [g-yo-koo-lo], Karigane [kah-ree-gah-nay], or Fukamushi Sencha [foo-kah-moo-shee]. However, our Japanese Oolong tea also makes a flavorful cold-brew tea, offering a bright fruity note.
1. Combine tea and room temperature water, following the proportions on the package. If you are using SEI MEE TEA, such as Gyokuro, Karigane, and Fukamushi Sencha, use 1 heaping tsp. tea leaves per 8 oz of water. Put the loose leaf directly in the water. You can put the leaf in a disposable tea bag or strainer if you wish.
Tip #1: A jug with a filter would be a convenient way to make the best iced tea as a loose-leaf can freely expand in water and you do not need to use a strainer to pour it out. If you use a teabag, ensure there is enough room for leaves to float loosely in the bag. If you use a strainer, pick a strainer large enough so you don’t have to pack the leaves in.
2. Cover the container and refrigerate until it reaches the desired strength. Depending on the type of tea and water, the time will vary. I would recommend tasting after half an hour for green teas, such as Gyokuro, Karigane, and Fukamushi Sencha, and a few hours for dark teas, such as Oolong, and Hojicha tea.
Tip #2: For the best flavor, be generous when you measure tea leaves. Go for a BIG heap! And steep with a minimum amount of time, starting with the minimum amount shown above. The longer the steeping time gets, the flavor becomes muddy and tart/sharp/bitter. (“Richer tea” and “stronger tea” are different.)
If the tea you made is “too rich,” you can add more ice and/or water. “Too strong” tea is not enjoyable no matter how much water you add.
3. Remove the tea bags or strainer once it gets the right flavor. If you put the loose leaf into the water, pour the whole thing over the tea strainer which is set over a clean container, such as a wide-mouth mason jar, and keep the strained tea in the fridge.
Tip #3: Do not squeeze the tea leaves! It’s tempting, but squeezing will add “zatsumi [zaht’s-me] (impure, or muddy)” to the tea. It is best if you let it drip until there is no more liquid left for clean and full flavor. Leaving tea leaf will result in the same effect–in order to enjoy the delicious cold-brew tea without “zatsumi”, removing the leaf is important.
4. Serve over ice, if you wish, and enjoy! If you add sweetener, we recommend simple syrup for the best flavor. Please try the tea at least once without adding anything to learn about the true flavor of the tea. Quality tea should be tasteful as is.
Tip #4: The benefit of using cold brew is you extract more Umami and less Caffeine.
Quick Hot-Steeping Method
This method involves two steps: HOT BREWED then cooled down. Teas great for this method are teas blended teas, roasted teas, and oxidized teas (oolong or black teas). Because certain flavors require a certain temperature to come out to the water, this method is great to extract the specific flavor that is hard to get with room temperature water.
Teas great for this method: Hojicha [ho-jee-cha] tea, Genmaicha [g-en-my-cha] tea, Hibiscus Blood Orange tea, Rooibos tea, Chamomile Blend tea, Kukicha Lavender Sweet Green tea, Fukamushi Sencha Lemongrass.
It is fun to try the different methods using the same leaf and compare the outcome.
1. Use double the amount of tea leaves specified in package instruction.
Tip #1: For example, use 4 heaping teaspoonful leaves and 2 cups of hot water to make 4 cups of tea (you will add some ice afterward to “shock” the tea). In the above pictures, we put the loose leaves directly in the heatproof brewing container, a Pyrex® measuring cup. If you are using tea bags or strainer, make sure they are big enough so leaves have enough room to float in water.
2. Let the tea steep for the time specified in package instructions.
3. In the meantime, prepare a pitcher with ice. To figure out how much ice to use, amount of water + amount of ice= total cups. So if you used 2 cups of water like we did to make 4 cups in the picture, you would use 2 cups of ice.
4. Remove the tea bags or strainers from the steeped tea if you use them and dump the brewed warm tea over ice in a pitcher. If you put leaves directly in a container, use a fine-mesh sieve or tea strainer that’s big enough to catch the leaves, and strain over the ice in a pitcher as shown in the pictures below.
Tip#2: As we mentioned above in the “Cold Brew” method, make sure you don’t squeeze tea leaves as that will make the iced tea tart and the flavor becomes “zatsumi”, or impure! Let it drip to the last drop–the last drops are the dew concentrated in flavor.
Tip #3: Cooling down the brewed tea by “shocking” with lots of ice, and it prevents the tea from becoming bitter. And it increases the clarity of color and tastes cleaner.
5. Cover the container and refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice, if you wish, and enjoy!
Shake or Stir Method: Iced Powdered Green Teas & Iced Matcha
This is a super easy “Shake or Stir” method, and it makes the tea a great “on-the-go” tea. We love just throwing the powder into a water bottle and shaking it up! Please note: SEI MEE TEA’s powder is 100% natural leaf, and it doesn’t dissolve in water, although it’s finely ground. The powder “suspends” in water, rather than “dissolves.” Make sure you shake it occasionally to bring the suspension back and get the full flavor.
The teas great for this method are Uji [ooh-jee] Matcha, MATCHA, MATCHA Lemon, MATCHA Ginger, MATCHA Mint, MATCHA Rosehip, Edible Green® Sencha Powder regular, Edible Green® Sencha Powder decaf, Edible Green® Genmaicha Powder
Single-serving packets/sticks are a convenient option–all you need is a chilled water bottle to enjoy the refreshing and nourishing green tea wherever you go.
1. Combine tea powder and cold water, following proportions on the package.
Tip #1: You may want to use slightly more powder than normally you use to make a warm cup of tea, as cold temperature suppresses the flavor. It tastes better if the water is not “super icy” cold!
2. Stir or shake well until fully combined. Think Martini!
Tip #2: A shaker or a bottle works great to mix the powder with water, especially when water is chilled. Just add the powder to a chilled water bottle or a shaker with chilled water, and shake it up! Please make sure the bottle/shaker is not completely filled up with water so water and powder get shaken up freely.
Tip #3: If you are making it in a glass, add some ice cubes and stir. The ice cubes act like an agitator when you stir the tea.
Enjoy these refreshing iced teas this summer!