If it weren't for an entrepreneurial salesman at the World's Fair in St. Louis in 1904, we may never have had the ever popular beverage known today as iced tea. It was a humid day, and no one was interested in sampling his hot tea. A quick thinker, he bought some ice from the ice cream vendor and dumped it into the hot tea. It worked. He sold out, and his invention has gone on to satiate generations of thirsty tea drinkers all over the world.
The RTD (Ready-to-Drink) market is increasing by the day! In 2013 $206.5 million of RTD and Iced Tea Mix drinks were sold. Until I learned to make my own, I loved picking up a bottle of lemon or peach flavoured iced tea at service stations when I was on the road.
This summer I have 2 favourite iced teas. The first is Organic Island Strawberry green tea with PEI strawberries. Because we have to mass produce for the farmers' market, we use an iced tea maker which is very handy when you need 12 gallons, but at home, here's what I do to serve four:
I heat one litre of filtered water to 80C and then brew two tablespoons of Island Strawberry tea for 4 minutes. I fill 4 glasses with ice and strain the tea over the ice. There's a lot of natural sweetness in this glass, but to make it extra special I top up each glass with my homemade lemonade. Any good quality lemonade would work just as well, and it's easy to keep a frozen can on hand. A fresh strawberry on top adds that extra special hostess-with-the-mostest touch!
Flavoured green teas make good iced teas, but black, white and herbals, especially if they are fruity, are very thirst quenching too.
My second most favourite tea to enjoy iced is the Cucumber Melon green tea. I like to top that up with lemonade, and I often add a very thin slice of English Cucumber! Serve that with cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches and your guests may just become euphoric!
Iced teas can be such a treat! To fancy it up you can freeze colourful pansies in your ice cubes or add a sprig of lavender or mint to the edge of the glass. Another trick that always impresses my guests is making ice cubes out of tea to keep the ice cubes from diluting your drink. You can also blend watermelon in your blender, strain it and add the juice to your iced tea. I recently did this with our Watermelon Twist White Tea. It was incredibly delicious, and the bright colour of the watermelon made it look even more enticing.
Customers at the Farmers' Market also love to enjoy our teas as iced lattes. Do you want to try it at home? Our Cha Cha Chai and our own London Fog are in demand. These are both black tea blends. Bring your water to a boil. If you are making a 16 oz. glass, brew one tablespoon tea in 10 oz. water for 4 minutes. Strain and add 1 cup of ice to cool it down. While it is cooling, froth your cold milk (with or without sweetener). Pour the double strength tea into a glass with a little ice to 2/3 full. Top up with your foamed milk. For the chai, you can sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top. Add a compostable straw and kick back with friends on the verandah!
We have a new feature in our online store we are calling the Market Express. Due to shipping restrictions, we are only offering it to our Canadian tea lovers at the moment. Here's how it works: When we are featuring an iced tea at the Charlottetown Farmers' Market on Facebook and Instagram and you are looking at those mouthwatering photos and wishing that you lived on Prince Edward Island, now you can get a small sample package of the tea in the photograph by clicking the link in the post or going to our online store and we'll get it out to you immediately! There may be a few days delay -- Canada Post has yet to master the art of spontaneous translocation -- but it will be well worth the few days wait, I promise!
Finally, my Tea Sommelier instructor, Shabnam Weber, who is now the President of the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada recently shared this super informative video about iced tea. Enjoy!
As always, we love to hear from you. Share some of your creative ideas for iced tea in the comments section below this post. Good health and good summer vibes coming your way from Lady Baker's Tea!