The principle behind iced tea is simple: make hot tea and serve it cold. Unfortunately, getting a good batch of iced tea is not always as easy as it sounds. It’s easy to over-steep the tea, making it bitter, and it is equally easy to over dilute it with ice, leaving you with a less-than-refreshing drink. I find that the best way to make iced tea is to brew extra strong tea by using a few extra tea bags (depending on the size of the batch), stir in a generous amount of sugar or honey while the tea is hot, then chill it overnight without adding any ice. Ice should be added to the glasses just before serving.
My current favorite way to serve iced tea is to use frozen fruit in place of ice cubes. The frozen fruit keeps the drink cold while they are defrosting, and they don’t add excess water – unlike ice cubes – that dilutes the tea. In fact, they add a little bit of fruity sweetness to the tea, so each glass will be even more flavorful than it would be with ice alone. Frozen fruit will be good in any type of tea, but it’s even better if you brew a fruity tea to begin with. The tea pictured above is Zhenaâ€™s Gypsy Tea Strawberry Kiwi Green Tea (review here), which I iced with frozen strawberries, raspberries and cherries, then garnished with a sprig of mint.