Iced tea - tips for brewing the 'pitcher perfect' cup


Tea expert David de Candia doesn't recommend brewing sun tea - literally in the sun. He gave a host of reasons, including the possibility of micro-organisms.

"The tea leaves cannot fully expand and get the right color, flavor and aroma as they would by going through the normal process of heating it in hot water first," de Candia said.

For a good glass of iced tea, brew it hot like you would your standard cup. As for brewing time, try 3 minutes for green tea, 5 minutes for black and 7 minutes for herbal or fruit tea. Remove the leaves, cool at room temperature for about 45 minutes, and then cover and chill.

You also want to have the proper ratio of tea to water when you brew.

"One level teaspoon to 8 ounces, a tablespoon to 16 ounces, and if you're making a batch of iced tea, just multiply that," de Candia recommended.

In terms of economics, here's the best news yet. You don't have to buy, nor should you buy, the most expensive tea.

"In fact, what you need is good fresh quality tea. Stale, older tea, tea that are made from branch particles and things that you're not aware of, is going to make your ice tea less flavorful," de Candia said.

De Candia suggests your tea should have a broken leaf for quicker, darker infusion, which provides more aroma. You don't want tea any older than two years. You should also keep your tea in a tin or class jar, as cardboard lends its way to oxidation and breakdown.

Finally, use filtered water, but not distilled. Type and temperature of water will greatly affect the tea's flavor. If you want the best flavor, grab a thermometer - as you want water just under boiling around 190-195 degrees.

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