Did you know that June is National Iced Tea Month? It’s excellent timing because as temperatures heat up, few things are more refreshing than a tall glass of delicious iced tea!
While tea has been grown in the South since the late 1700s, it was not until the development of refrigeration in the 1800s that iced tea began to gain traction—first as a novelty but in time, as a staple on restaurant menus and even in household kitchens. Now, it’s easy to classify it as an American favorite.1
In terms of iced tea’s health factor, without added sugar, it’s a zero- or extremely low-calorie drink. Many bottled ice teas have been shown to have as much sugar as soda. Your best bet is to make your own. Unsweetened tea counts towards your daily water intake on the Nutrisystem weight loss plan.
Ready to get brewing? We’ve rounded up some of our best tips on pouring the perfect glass of iced tea.
1. Choose Your Tea
Different tea types like black, green, oolong or white come with different flavor profiles and even different health benefits. Black tea is known for being earthy while green tea is thought to be light and even grassy flavored. White tea is known for its delicate, fruity flavor and oolong tea has floral notes.2
Keep in mind that the different teas have different caffeine levels, with black tea being the highest. The health benefits of the different tea types may also vary. While all of the teas have some antioxidant power, green tea is said to be the highest. Green tea has been widely studied and said to potentially reduce the risk of neurological disorders and cancer.
2. Choose Your Brew Method
Once you decide which type of tea you’d like to make, it’s time to think about how you want to brew it. This includes cold brew, hot brew and sun brew.
With hot brew, you’re preparing your tea just as you would if you were making a hot cup of tea, but then adding cold water for dilution and some ice. With a cold brew, you’ll simply let your pitcher of water and tea sit in the refrigerator. And with sun brew, as the name suggests, you’re leaving the tea to sit in the sun. Learn more about all three of these brewing methods here! >
All methods will produce great results, though you can easily find tea enthusiasts who swear their way is the best. Cold and sun brewed teas are thought to grab a bit more flavor from the tea bags or leaves. However, not everyone has the time involved in those methods.
No matter which you choose, just be sure that you have the right brew times and tea to water ratio for optimal results.
3. Fill it Up with Fruit
Just as fruit-infused water has become popular, infused iced tea is just as delicious! If you’re cold brewing your tea, you should add the sliced fruit to brew right along with your loose tea or tea bags. This will add a whole new flavor profile to your finished product.
While you can try any combination that suits your taste preferences, here are a few we’d suggest. Black tea plus strawberries and lemons makes a refreshing combination. Similarly, oolong tea plus peach adds a delicious layer of sweetness. Finally, we also like watermelon with green tea. But just as you may have experimented with choices in your water, you can have fun and try various options in your tea to determine what you like best.
4. Consider Other Additions
Infusing fruit flavors into your tea as we talked about above is definitely one way to sweeten your drink without adding lots of sugar. You might also think about adding honey, lemons (if you didn’t infuse them), limes or maybe even some herbs. Mint and basil can individually add some fun flavor to iced tea.
If you do want some sweetness, consider using a zero-calorie sweetener like stevia. Any added sugar or honey will count towards your daily Extras. You won’t need much to add some sweet flavor while still keeping your tea healthier than the bottled kind.
5. Jazz Up Your Ice—and Your Glass
Since the ice in iced tea is an important component, why not have some fun with it? You can make an iced tea feel much more special simply by using one of those ice molds that make giant cubes. Or maybe you’re someone who likes crushed ice and enjoys nibbling on it as part of the drink!
You could also make ice cubes that are fruit-filled or infused with herbs to add color and taste to your tea in a fun way.
Finally, why not serve it up in a fun glass or even a mason jar? Treating yourself on a hot summer day with a delicious glass or iced tea is even more enjoyable with fun glassware. Add a colorful straw and it’ll feel even more like a delightful treat.