2024 National Iced Tea Day & How to Make Iced Tea

2024 National Iced Tea Day & How to Make Iced Tea

June is National Iced Tea Month and TODAY is National Iced Tea Day! Who says? Well, the National Day Calendar website does. If you’re like me, every day is iced tea or hot tea day depending on the weather, but having a national day gives us the chance to highlight this awesome beverage. And even if you’re reading this after June 11, you can still raise a glass to National Iced Tea Day! #NationalIcedTeaDay

So, who doesn’t like a nice glass of summertime iced tea? Do you like yours sweetened or unsweetened?  My preference is unsweetened, but I’ll take sweetened if that’s what you’re serving. Growing up, my mom only had generic black tea bags. She added a little bit of sugar, but not a lot (probably because she didn’t want to use all her sugar on iced tea). As I got older, I started drinking iced tea without sugar, and once I got into the tea business, I started making iced tea with loose leaf tea instead of bagged tea.

In the 1600s, the United States drank loose-leaf teas until the invention of the tea bag in 1908. Once tea bags became widespread, our tea consumption increased even further. The creation of iced tea on a hot summer day at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, sparked a Southern tradition of savoring “sweet tea”.

Why do I suggest loose-leaf teas instead of tea bags? Well, because they taste better and are better for you. While doing tea tastings and classes at the Denver Botanic Gardens for years, I often talked about a term called “the agony of the leaves”. That is when the water hits the loose-leaf tea causing it to unfurl and release all its yummy goodness. It doesn’t do the same thing when we’re talking about a tea bag with little grounds of tea in them, not to be mistaken with the newer pyramid-shaped bags with loose-leaf tea inside.

As I’m sure you have read, tea from the camelia sinensis plant has so many health properties. I’m not talking about the instant tea you can get from a soda dispenser at some food venues, or the sweetened bottle tea at the grocers. I’m talking about real tea – black, green, oolong, white, pu-erh, yellow, and even purple. Tea is beneficial for your health. There have been hundreds of articles and studies published linking tea to good health. In the 2016 book by Maria Uspenski, “Cancer Hates Tea”, she sites well over 50 medical studies. Uspenski’s book is an informative book with tons of information, tips, studies and recipes. Click here if you’d like to purchase a copy. https://denvertearoom.com/products/cancer-hates-tea-book

Did you know that more than 40% of the tea imported into the United States each year originates from Argentina? They cultivate specific tea fields dedicated to producing tea for tea bags. These tea leaves are mechanically harvested and then processed into what they refer to as “dust” or “fannings,” which are used in tea bag production. For many years, this was the predominant type of tea consumed in the U.S. However, nowadays, we have access to full-leaf tea, commonly known as loose-leaf tea. The differences in taste, quality, and health benefits are remarkable. When you try loose-leaf teas, the first thing you’ll notice is the flavor. Teas from Sri Lanka, India, China, Japan, Kenya, and Nepal may be slightly more expensive, but they offer a richer flavor profile and are significantly better for your overall well-being.

To help with your celebration of Iced Tea Day and to make it a daily tradition, I have 2 recipes for making iced tea – 1 with bagged tea and 1 with loose leaf tea. There are also easy instructions below on how to make Cold-Brewed Tea. Try whichever recipe is your cuppa tea. 😊

How to Make Cold-Brewed Tea

Place 2 tablespoons of loose-leaf tea into a glass container.

Fill the container with 32 oz. fresh filtered water and cover it. Place the container in the fridge for 1-6 hours or even better, overnight.

Store tea in the fridge and drink throughout the day. Don’t worry about over steeping as the tea will not over steep in the cold water.

You can re-use the tea leaves twice. After the second steeping, pour the tea through a strainer and then add the leaves to your compost.

I have been using the Craft Cold Brew Filter that makes it so easy to use since there is a strainer in the filter that keeps the leaves out of your glass when pouring. It fits right over a wide-mouth Mason jar and is so easy and convenient to use, and it’s so cute! You might enjoy it too! It comes in two colors: Sweet Strawberry and Mellow Mint



Tips for Preventing Diluted Tea:

I add an extra tablespoon of tea when preparing iced tea since I like my tea strong. Use large ice cubes instead of the cute little ice chips, since it takes the larger cubes longer to melt. Another tip is to make ice cubes with tea and then when the cubes melt, there is still a nice tea flavor and not diluted.

How to Sweeten Cold Brew Tea:

To make your cold brew sweeter, you can prepare a simple syrup and add it as needed. A 1:1 ratio is 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water. Heat the water and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved, and then let it cool.  It can keep well in your fridge if covered for about a week. I like to add mint leaves or vanilla in the simple syrup for a little flavor. You can also try sweetening with strawberries or other fruits.

There are many variations to this iced tea recipe below. In fact, many readers in the South may add a bit of baking soda to their recipes to keep it fresh and to reduce cloudiness.  Let me know if baking soda is part of your recipe.

Iced Tea Recipe for Bagged Sweet Tea

  •  1 gallon of water, divided in half
  • 12 bags strong black tea (plain or flavored tea will work) OR 3  family-size tea bags
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (Don’t flinch! Most recipes call for more than that.)
  • mint sprigs, orange or lemon slices for garnish

1.  Boil a ½ gallon of fresh filtered water on the stove.

2.  Once water comes to a boil, add the tea bags and set your timer for 12 minutes.

3.  After the timer cuts off, remove the tea bags and add them to your compost.

4.  Pour tea into a 1-gallon glass pitcher.

5.  While still hot, add sugar and stir.

6.  Add the other ½ gallon of fresh water to the pitcher and stir again.

7.  Let the tea cool.  Serve over ice, garnish with fresh mint sprigs, and add a lemon or orange slice to each glass.

Iced Tea Recipe for Loose-Leaf Green Tea

  • 2 tablespoons green tea: Sencha, Jasmine, Cherry Rose, or other flavored green tea.
  • 32 ounces fresh filtered water
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
  1. Bring water to boiling and allow it to cool for a minute to about 165-170F degrees. Pour hot water into a large pot.
  2. Place 2 tablespoons of green tea into a large filter and place it in the pot.
  3. Steep 4 minutes and remove the filter. If desired, add your sweetener and stir.
  4. Allow the tea to cool for about 30 minutes and then pour it into a glass pitcher.
  5. Add large ice cubes to your glasses and pour the tea over the ice. Add mint sprigs, lemon or orange slices, or strawberries for a refreshing summer iced tea.
  6. Cover and store in the refrigerator. The tea will be good for several days, but it may not last that long. 😊

Cloudiness Tip: If you make your black tea ahead of time and keep it in the fridge, you may see some cloudiness after a bit. Don’t worry.  It will still be good; it just won’t be clear.  The cloudiness is caused by solids from the tea leaves being forced out of suspension. Just add ¼ cup of boiling water to your tea pitcher and the cloudiness will dissipate.

I always say, drink lots of tea from the camelia sinensis plant. Choose a quality loose-leaf tea if you can and find a tea you really like. Because Every Day is a Perfect Day for Tea! 🍵🌿

#NationalIcedTeaDay #NationalIcedTeaMonth #drinkicedtea #drinkmoretea #denvertearoom #denvertea #CancerHatesTea #CraftColdBrewFilter


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