Iced tea is usually served in a tall glass with ice, sweetened or unsweetened, flavored or unflavored, with or without lemon, it's up to you. You can get it in a can or a bottle but you can't beat fresh brewed iced tea served over ice.
Popular around the world, only second to water and enjoyed almost universally, in the United States eighty-five percent of all tea consumed is in the form of iced tea. Especially popular in the South, there it is usually served sweetened and is called 'sweet tea'. It's a great alternative to carbonated drinks and is enjoyed year-round. Hot or cold it is loaded with antioxidants and everyone should take time to savor the flavor.
Many references point to the creation of Iced Tea occurring in 1904 at the St. Louis World's Fair. A plantation owner named Richard Blechyden was giving away free hot tea samples on a very hot day. As one might expect he did not get any takers until he iced it. The beverage was only then a hit and became all the rage.
It is more accurate that Mr. Blechyden made iced tea popular but was not the inventor of this popular beverage. No difference, let's all just be glad to enjoy it.
Iced tea appeared in many cookbooks prior to 1904, especially in the U.S. South. It's a recipe in the White House Cook Book of 1886 is just one example prior to the 1904 World's Fair?
IT is usually made from CTC tea, or crushed, tear, curl. CTC is an inexpensive mechanical process that reduces the leaves into tiny pieces known as fannings and dust that usually finds their way into tea bags. The tiny size of the leaves allows more flavor to escape rapidly producing a more robust tasting tea very quickly.
Iced tea is commonly made from CTC black tea, but you can also make delicious brews using whole leaf teas like white, green, oolong or black. The key to making great tasting tea is to use soft or filtered water and premium tea, the hotter the water the bolder the flavor.
Cloudiness In My Tea
A common question is what makes my iced tea look cloudy.
The cloudiness that you see is known as 'tea cream' and does not affect the flavor, just the appearance in your glass. Tea cream in the precipitate formed as the tea cools. Calcium from hard water, and theaflavin, a polyphenol found especially in black teas, promotes a cloudy brew during cooling.
To avoid creaming when making iced tea, use soft water and cool slowly to room temperature before refrigerating. Adding some lemon can sometimes help.
Steep your tea stronger than you normally would to make up for the dilution from ice. Stronger tea is made by using more tea, not increasing the steeping time. Long steeping times can make it bitter.
Brewing methods include overnight refrigeration, cold steep, quick brew, and sun tea which is not recommended because the temperature of the tea may not get hot enough to destroy harmful bacteria. Just follow the directions supplied and enjoy.
So whatever your pleasure, bags or whole leaf, make some fresh brewed Iced tea, kick back, enjoy, and watch the clouds go by.
You deserve it!
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