For the freshest taste, skip the instant mixes, grab some tea bags and start brewing your own iced tea. The general rule of thumb is one tea bag per cup, or eight ounces, of tea; however the type of tea you use and how you brew it may require more or less. Experiment with the different methods of brewing iced tea using the initial recommended number of tea bags then add or remove a bag based on your taste preferences.

Hot Brewing

Boil fresh water and pour it over double the number of tea bags per eight ounce serving. Seep the tea bags for three to five minutes, remove then add ice to cool the tea. The one drawback with the hot method is hot water brings out the tannin in tea and can leave the tea tasting bitter. Tannin is a naturally occurring element in tea leaves and gives tea its color and flavor. Black teas are best brewed with fresh boiling water while green teas prefer fresh water at any temperature as long as it is not boiling.

Cold Brewing

Brew tea in a covered pitcher, mason jar, water bottle or other vessel, using one tea bag per pint (16 oz.) of water. Place the container in the refrigerator overnight or for at least six hours. Tea takes longer to steep in cold water.

Sun Tea

Place tea in a covered container, adding one tea bag per pint (16 oz.) of water, and set in direct sunlight for one to two hours. This is the fastest way to cold brew tea without drawing out the bitter tannins as hot brewing can do.

Iced Tea Makers

Iced tea makers are a recent fad in the small kitchen appliance world. They provide a convenient all-in-one brewing and flavoring station giving you a fresh glass of iced tea in minutes.

Tea Sweetening

Add only half the amount of sugar to iced tea than what you would normally add to hot tea. Sugar can be added either at the beginning of brewing or when the tea is served.

Refreshing History

Iced tea is an American drink dating back to the old South, when Southerners found relief from the heat drinking cool tea punch and then sweet tea. It was popularized after the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis when tea merchant Richard Blechynden put ice in his tea samples to entice fairgoers to drink the tea because a heat wave wasn’t encouraging people to seek out hot beverages. Iced tea was first made using green tea but as Americans began buying more of their tea from British merchants whose tea came from India, black tea soon became the dominant tea.