HOMEMADE ICED TEA WITH 3 VARIATIONS

Iced Green Tea w/ Lemongrass, Mint & Lime // The First Mess
Sometimes there are these tiny clues in the every day that let you in on something really, really big. I love going on long drives with my love in the summer, in any season really. We laugh about everything, talk on some real grit stuff, enjoy the silence when it arises, simultaneously get outraged at some bad driving in the next lane over, relax and sip on coffee when it’s back to normal again. It’s a transition period to the next thing/destination, but it’s totally premium together-time if you ask me.

Best of all, Mark knows what I want to listen to as soon as we settle in to get everything moving on. He has a certain intuition and a breadth of musical awareness that keeps me happy wherever we go. Sometimes it’s dance hall, or it’s Midnight Marauders (my go-to summer driving album of choice), some stand up for a really long drive is usually called for, he’ll never EVER go wrong with Bruce (and he knows this), Talking Heads when it’s late… Those sweet and perfect little selections reflect the ridiculous-good harmony I feel every day in our life. It all works just right every time. Happy, silly, smily-faced gal right here.

Other things that make me smile: a delicious and ample iced tea supply to keep me hydrated all the way through to Labour Day. It’s mega refreshment for sunny days on end. I hope you all love it as much as I do. That soft clinking of ice cubes lazily floating around in some home brew is synonymous with summer for me.

The essential formula I go with is as follows: tea (black, green, herbal or my fave-rooibos) + herbs/spices + citrus juice of some kind + fresh fruit if you feel it + appropriate chilling time (+booze if you wanna get tore up crazy). That’s it.  I’ve offered up three fairly choice recipes but this technique is up for plenty of variation and wildness on your part.

One more thing: with at-home iced tea making you can go the hot or cold-brewed route (I’ve included instructions below). They both require the same amount of tea when all is said and done. Cold brewing results in a more clarified beverage with more subtle nuances taste-wise. I love this method if I’m using green tea. If you need iced tea immediately, the hot method is gonna be your jam: brew, sweeten, add ice and go.

iced rooibos tea with vanilla and strawberries - The First Mess


HOMEMADE ICED TEA WITH 3 VARIATIONS
Print the recipe!
SERVES: makes 1 litre (32 oz.)
NOTES: I’ve included a basic frame of ingredients, 3 specific recipes and hot + cold brewing methods for your convenience :)

BASIC INGREDIENTS:
6 tsp loose leaf tea OR 5-6 tea bags
fresh herbs, fruit & whole spices if using
water (amount depends on method used)
1/4 – 1/2 cup citrus juice of your choosing
1/4 – 1/3 cup liquid sweetener (agave nectar, raw honey, maple syrup, simple syrup etc)
ice (if using hot-brew method)

RECIPE 1: strawberry vanilla bean rooibos iced tea
Rooibos is like nature’s gatorade (electrolytes!), so I love sipping on this when the heat rises.

6 tsp rooibos tea or 5-6 rooibos tea bags
4 strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 vanilla bean pod (I save the leftover pods when I bake with the seeds)
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup agave nectar (I like light agave here)

RECIPE 2: iced green tea with lemongrass, mint and lime
So fresh, light caffeine and all the antioxidants/good stuff you love about green tea.
6 tsp green tea leaves or 5-6 tea bags
1 stalk of lemongrass, cut in half and bashed up with the back of your knife
2 sprigs of mint, leaves removed
juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup raw honey

RECIPE 3: not-super-sweet sweet tea with orange and spice
My man’s insane love of Southern-style sweet tea finds its healthy match right here (adapted from Bryant Terry’s amazing recipe in this book).

6 tsp ceylon orange pekoe tea or 5-6 tea bags
1 large cinnamon stick, broken in half
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup dark agave nectar

HOT BREWING METHOD:
1. Place tea, fruit, herbs/whole spices in a non-reactive pitcher
2. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over top
3. Add citrus juice and sweetener, stir to combine
4. Brew (2 minutes for green tea, 3-5 minutes for black tea, 5+ minutes for herbal or rooibos teas)
5. Strain out tea and herbs/whole spices
6. Return brewed and sweetened tea to the pitcher
7. Top up to 1 litres-worth with ice
8. Stir to rapidly chill and enjoy!

COLD BREWING METHOD:
1. Place tea, fruit, herbs/whole spices in a non-reactive pitcher
2. Top up to 1 litres-worth with filtered water
3. Cover and leave in the fridge to brew slowly overnight
4. Strain out tea and herbs/whole spices in the morning
5. Return brewed tea to the pitcher
6. If using honey or maple syrup, dissolve it in 1/4 cup boiling water before adding to brewed tea to sweeten. Any other liquid sweetener should dissolve just fine in the cold tea (like agave or simple syrup).
7. Add citrus juice, stir to combine and enjoy!

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