Iced tea is America’s gift to the world

Americans love iced tea though few are aware that it is an American innovation. This is because tea is an Asian brew and all innovations have been pioneered there. However, iced tea’s popularity can be traced to the heat wave of 1904 when tea merchant Richard Blechynden decided to serve tea over ice in a St. Louis expo. The Americans have never looked back since then. They have perfected several methods to make iced tea and even come up with several innovative recipes.

The best iced tea is made with black teas that come from Java, Ceylon, China, or Malawi, as well as flavored teas, such as Peach Black Tea, Lemon Green Tea, or even Formosa Oolong or Japanese Sencha. While some prefer it with sugar, others like it without sugar.

Iced tea can also be taken sweet. In this case, superfine baking or bartender's sugar is used. Otherwise, you may prepare sugar syrup on the stove in a 1:1 sugar and water ratio, simmer it for a few minutes, and keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks.

There are two methods to prepare iced tea. The first is the cold steeping method. In this method, dry tealeaf is placed in a clean jug that has an appropriate amount of cold water. The infusion is refrigerated overnight or for at least six hours and then strained into a second jug or container. Sugar or lemon is then added as per choice and served.

The second is the hot steeping method. Tea makers here have the following three options:

Method 1: Use double the quantity of dry tea leaf that you would ordinarily use for hot tea, infuse for 5 minutes, and pour over a full glass of ice. For best results, let the tea cool down before pouring over ice to prevent clouding or creaming down.

Method 2: Double the tealeaf amount, steep for 5 minutes in hot water, and then pour into a container with the same amount of cold water. This dilutes the strong tea and avoids clouding.

Method 3: Steep black tea in boiling water for 5-8 minutes, then strain into a container containing cold water. Add sugar or lemon to taste. If you brewed up too strong a concentrate, do not worry, as it will be watered down when poured over ice. You may also add a little water if you still find it too strong.

Iced tea can also be mixed with lemonade or other fruit juices in a 1:1 ratio. However, while doing so you must make sure that the juice does not kill the tea flavor.

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