Iced teas and coffees are simple summertime pleasures. I make a variety of Iced teas and Tisane every summer. You can find some recipes HERE. These are not cold brews though.
I am very fond of cold brewing as it is a gentler and slower and selective process of brewing than the hot brew and the subtle flavors of the tea leaves come out very well. I find them less acidic too. Another one is the Sun brewing where you keep the tea infusion outside in the sun and let the heat help in steeping. I have noticed that both ways the taste is different. Even the traditional hot brews and cold brews are chemically different from each other and taste different so do not compare them, instead enjoy them as different drinks.
For those of you who are not familiar with cold brew let me tell you how it is done. You take a tumbler, add tea leaves of your choice, add water, spices and herbs if desired and let it brew for 6-8 hours. The amount and quality of leaves and the time for steeping depends on which tea you are using and what strength you desire. Sometimes I use the infused leaves 3-4 times, enjoying the different consistency of flavors. At times I brew for 1-2 hours and it’s good to go.
You will have a lot of leeway when it comes to the proportions but I use the standard 4 tsp/1 liter ratio. Adding or reducing as per requirement. I usually steep the tea for 6-8 overs or overnight. Remember that you will need more tea leaves than you will need for a hot brew.
You can add spices like all spice, clove, cinnamon, star anise etc and herbs like lemon grass, mint, basil, thyme sprigs or rosemary sprigs to the infusion. I do them with fruits too. Peaches, plums, nectarines, kokum, mango, lemon, orange, various berries work beautifully with them. There are endless combinations you can explore.
You can freeze these teas to makes gorgeous slushies too and be adventurous to add some Vodka, Gin, Bourbon etc.
I recently went to the hills and got some lovely hand plucked small variety of plums. Here’s how I made the Plum and Holy Basil infused Iced Tea with them.
Unlike the usual way of masticating plums with sugar or making a syrup with plums I prefer fresh fruit tipped into the iced tea. I also use the pulp of over ripe plums to add extra flavor.
Overripe and bruised plums work best with this tea and you can add a few slightly ripe but firm sour ones too.
4 tbsp Darjeeling Black Tea leaves or tea leaves of your choice
6 -8 Medium size Ripe Plums
2 tbsp Organic raw honey (optional)
1 liter water
1 tsp Lemon Juice
Few leaves of Holy Basil
Take 6 of the plums and remove all the pulp in a bowl. Discard the stone or pit. Add honey to the pulp and mix. Keep it in the fridge.
In a pitcher or tumbler add the tea leaves and basil leaves then top them with drinking water. Close the lid and let it seep overnight or for 6-8 hours.
When making the plum iced tea, strain the tea in a glass pitcher and add the pulp to it. Mix nicely. Test for sweetness. I prefer the fruity sweetness and don’t add too much of honey. I don’t use sugar but you can make a simple sugar syrup and add if needed. You can also mix a little hot water and honey to mix instead of mixing it in the fruit pulp. I like it that way,
Add lots of ice and slender wedges of plum along with lemon wedges. You can add a few plum and lemon wedges to the tea while brewing too. It gives an even more intense flavor. Before straining the tea leaves just take them out and add to the strained tea.
Use the tea leaves again if desired. I use this twice. The green tea leaves I use at least 3 times.
Pour the tea in tall glasses with plum and lemon slices and the basil leaves. Keep a stirrer in each glass. You would love the deep dark plum slices and the soothing green basil leaves floating in the ruby red liquid.
Sip this delicious and refreshing fruity iced tea to battle the summer heat.
You can also freeze some of the Plum iced tea in ice cube tray and add that instead of normal ice cubes.
I froze some of the iced tea to make a super delicious slushie with intense flavors. Do try that too. I’m not a big fan of sorbet but you can go ahead and make that too.
Make these delicious fruity Iced teas this summer to stay hydrated the healthy, flavorful way.
Do leave a note if you make this.