How to Make A Perfect Pitcher of Iced Tea

If there is one drink that I have had throughout my life and will continue to drink until the end of my years is iced tea. Some of that is because I grew up in South Louisiana but as the years progressed iced tea as a drink has expanded its reach through the US. Tea in your local mega-mart is inexpensive and easy to find. I have lived in Louisiana, Texas, New York and California in my life and a fine glass of iced tea has been with me each place.

If you drink iced tea in enough different places you have had good tea, bad tea, and average tea and my hope is that at least once you have that perfect glass of tea.

What Makes a Great Glass of Tea?

Taste of course. It is refreshing and light but with enough flavor you know you are drinking tea. I am not one for a sweet glass of tea. I think it over powers the tea and if you are just interested in tasting sweet then there are plenty of other things to drink. Ok enough of my sweet tea judgement. But I am ok with a hint of sweetness especially if you are adding other flavors to the mix but for now let’s stay focused.

Which Tea Should I Use?

Funny thing, tea is serious business. I am not a purist. I buy my tea bags with my weekly grocery run but I do like a particular brand and you might like your personal brand. But what I have found is that a couple of things that I do on a consistent basis helps me make a enjoyable and refreshing glass of tea that I get to enjoy out of my mason jar.

The Brewing Process — Glass Baby

You could use a mason jar to brew in since it is tempered glass.

Brew, drink and store only in glass. I cannot stress this enough. Plastic imparts off flavors over time and worse it imparts smells that ruin the relaxing tea drinking experience. I use pyrex to brew, a mason jar to drink from and a reused Tito’s vodka bottle for my storage.

Bring your water to the boil and then kill the heat. It is at this point I gather my pyrex and the tea bag, this couple of seconds helps let the temp settle off the boil. I pour the water into the pyrex (I use 2 cups of water) and then put the bag in. I did not mention but I use the family size tea bag. It makes the perfect 1.75L pitcher of tea. I set a timer for 5 minutes using our microwave or iphone. Do not be tempted to add sweetener while it is steeping. I have no reason for this other than I believe the steeping is where the magic is happening and any other process or element introduced could mess up this process.

A Tito’s Vodka bottle cleaned with label removed.

At the 5 minute mark remove your tea bag and discard. Do not squeeze or wring out your tea bag, just scoop it out and discard. Grab your pitcher and add some water to temper glass. This is the point I would suggest adding your sweetener. I would suggest no more than 1/8 of a cup of sugar or Stevia.Next add the brewed tea and fill the container with cold water. I prefer the 1.75L vessel and I am sure a 2L vessel would be fine as well but moving to a higher ratio you will need to use additional tea bags to maintain the proper strength. I would suggest getting this 2L variation down first.

A little attention to details, using glass in all steps of the process and making sure you are not drinking day old tea. Yeah, throw out and brew fresh tea each day. Really. You should now have it in your power to brew day in and day out the perfect glass of tea.

So how do you know that you did it correctly? First, it tastes awesome. But after that let color and clarity be your guide.

Color — It should be a nice brown color with a hint of orange hue.
Clarity — Perfectly Clear. Any hint of cloudiness toss out and re start your process.

I hope this encourages you brew your own tea and keep it on hand for your personal enjoyment or to share with your friend on a warm summer day.