Whether you prefer it sweet, unsweetened, or with a twist, nothing beats a glass of iced tea on a sultry summer afternoon. These days, there are more options than ever to cater iced tea to your liking.
“Iced tea is so refreshing, and people can have it the way they want it,” said Donna Stein, manager of Aromas Coffeehouse Bakeshop and Café.
The standard type of tea used to make iced tea is orange pekoe. Green tea and black tea are also great for iced tea.
“I like the orange pekoe tea unsweetened, particularly in the summer,” Stein said. “It holds up well to the ice.”
In addition to traditional sweet or unsweetened, Aromas carries a variety of syrups for flavoring tea including raspberry, peach, strawberry, mango, cherry and peppermint.
“You can turn anything into an iced tea,” said Haley Zimmer, manager of The Spice & Tea Exchange. “It is whatever your preference is as long as it is made right.”
The type of brewer you use, the quality of tea, and the ratio of tea to water all make a difference in getting iced tea just right. Iced tea can be prepared with tea bags or with loose leaf herbal tea like hot tea, or as a cold brew kept in the fridge overnight. Letting the tea leaves sit cold in the refrigerator makes it sweeter.
Popular options at The Spice & Tea Exchange include the Earl Grey, a citrusy black tea; Strawberry Meadows, a green tea with strawberry, orange and currant; and Lilac Lavender.
“What is great about iced tea is that it’s easy and convenient,” Zimmer said. “You can make it, fill your water bottle with it, and take it wherever you go. It’s nice to enjoy outside during the season.”
Tea can also be garnished with a slice of lemon or fresh mint leaves. Most local restaurants serve sweet or unsweetened options. This being the South, a majority of people prefer their tea sweet, but not everyone.
“More so these days, our guests will ask for fifty-fifty, or half sweet and half unsweetened,” said Michelle Elliot with Green Leafe Café. “We also get a lot of requests for Arnold Palmers and Ice Picks.”
An Arnold Palmer is a combination of iced tea and lemonade created and made popular by the famous golfer, while an Ice Pick is an alcoholic beverage made with brewed tea, lemon juice, and vodka.
The flavor possibilities are endless for anyone who enjoys iced tea on a hot summer day.
“The sky is the limit when it comes to iced tea,” Zimmer said.