Flavored iced tea suggestions?
June 25, 2008 1:04 AM   Subscribe

Iced tea is my main summertime beverage. I usually drink it completely plain. I am not a fan of "sweet tea," but I'd like to experiment with adding different flavors, the more unusual the better. Any suggestions?
posted by amyms to Food & Drink (30 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Chopped ginger.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:12 AM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

For different kinds of tea, my neighborhood tea place Dr. Teas has an enormous selection. I think you can buy online from their site. Or pop in if you're in West Hollywood, CA area.
posted by rocco at 1:16 AM on June 25, 2008

Try equal amounts of green tea and rosehip herbal tea, add some fruit juice (orange, lemon...) and some sugar. Or try black tea mixed with rooibos herbal tea.
posted by iviken at 1:24 AM on June 25, 2008

Seconding ginger.
posted by spasm at 1:33 AM on June 25, 2008

agua de jamaica. (aka hibiscus tea, aka roselle tea.)
You can get it online, or in the hispanic areas of your town.
i'd do it 50/50 with regular tea.

arnold palmer, although this is by necessity sugared.

Mint goes well with iced tea, too. (especially if it's jasmine tea.)
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 1:54 AM on June 25, 2008

Durian! I've never tasted it, but it's unusual.
posted by sycophant at 2:00 AM on June 25, 2008

I normally make ice tea with an orange blossom oolong (+ chopped oranges + lemons with peel), failing this adding orange flower water would have a similar effect. This also suggests using a rose petal scented tea (rose poochong) or rose water.

I made lavender syrup last year (infuse for 15 mins add large quantities of sugar and reduce) and I was adding this to everything. Of the other edible flowers Borage would certainly work, you could try violets as well.
posted by tallus at 2:12 AM on June 25, 2008

Japanese 'mugi-cha' (roasted barley tea) is very different and very refreshing. You can probably get it at most asian supermarkets.
posted by mairuzu at 2:36 AM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

PS - it's cold, you brew it and the refrigerate it - or you can buy a similar drink ready-made in bottles called "so-kenbi-cha".
posted by mairuzu at 2:38 AM on June 25, 2008

Seconding mugi-cha.

Love ginger tea too but for me it's a winter drink (hot). Ginger is considered warming in oriental medicine.
posted by Sitegeist at 2:41 AM on June 25, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks so much for the suggestions so far! I'm making a list of ingredients for when I take my next shopping trip out-of-town (my hometown grocery store isn't exactly a bastion of diverse ingredients, but broader cultural horizons are just a day-trip away!).
posted by amyms at 2:50 AM on June 25, 2008

Apple slices. Then you eat the slices when you finish the glass. Mmmmmm.
posted by secret about box at 4:14 AM on June 25, 2008

Iced tea in a can around here usually comes in lemon and peach flavor, though how you would go about adding peach flavor to tea you brew yourself is beyond me.
posted by ghost of a past number at 5:02 AM on June 25, 2008

posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 5:06 AM on June 25, 2008

Mint and chamomile together are my shockingly good iced herbal tea combo for summer. I say "shocking" because I don't like mint tea. Or mint IN my tea. However, the two together balance out the sharpness of the mint while enhancing the loveliness of the chamomile. Scientific loveliness.

Also good: yerba mate with fruit juice or lavendar, green tea with blueberries or jasmine. I drink all of these without sugar added.
posted by annathea at 5:21 AM on June 25, 2008

Re adding peach flavour. If you keep the peach (or nectarine) stones after you have eaten the fruit you can prepare a very pleasant infusion by brewing the stones in water on the stove. There is a lot of flavour kept in the stone.

I discovered this by myself independently, so am not sure if this is how the commercial drinks are made.

posted by Sitegeist at 5:22 AM on June 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Nobody has suggest mango yet? Hot mango tea is about the only flavored tea I like. I haven't tried making ice tea with it, but I bet it's good.

And, if you're trying mint, you need to decide what kind. I'm growing all the mint varieties I can find (so far, lemon, apple, chocolate, pineapple, spearmint, peppermint and English mint), and I'm guessing something like chocolate mint-mango would be terrific.
posted by beagle at 5:35 AM on June 25, 2008

posted by belladonna at 5:50 AM on June 25, 2008

Try mixing a bit of lychee juice in with your tea for something slightly sweet. You could also find the fruit from a can.

Also, the zest of a citrus fruit is good (orange, lemon).
posted by hooray at 5:53 AM on June 25, 2008

ten bags of regular, one bag of red chai

leave in sun all afternoon

works for me
posted by timsteil at 6:10 AM on June 25, 2008

You can infuse any flavor into tea-- steep in very hot limited amount of water (6 bags to 2 cups of boiling and I mean boiling water) and add your flavorings to the hot water mix. These all create interesting results: various citrus zests, freshly picked herbs (mint is the most trational, but I've also used pineapple sage, hissop, basil and rosemary). You can experiment with different teas as well. I think flavored teas work best when you use white or green tea, without commercial flavorings already added, although I've had nice results with white tea w pear and green tea w peach (from Target of all places). Have not had as much luck with black teas. Try putting honey in the hot water infusion. This gives the tea a nice sweetness without overwhelming the flavors, and of course you can't put honey into cold tea, it just sinks to the bottom. I like acacia honey best.

I'm growing chamomile and rue this year as well, to see how these work in homemade teas.
posted by nax at 6:16 AM on June 25, 2008

I'm incredibly fond of using equal parts lapsang souchong and some really cheap regular tea bags. I like the earthy, almost rusty, flavor of the lapsang souchong but mixing it with another tea makes it more palatable as an iced tea.

I also recommend that you consider boiling your tea, then diluting it with lots of ice and water. I take one big bundle of lapsang (loose tea in one of those fill-it-yourself paper tea sleeves) and three regular tea bags and put them in two cups of water (in pyrex measuring cup) in the microwave for seven minutes on high. You get an almost black mixture--or should if you let it steep a while after the microwave is done--that you can pour over a very large cup of ice.

Also, don't forget that sugar can impart a lot of flavor if you use a demerara or other dark sugars. Anything that will add in some of that molasses flavor--just a touch--will make the lapsang even better.

I swear, it's a fantastic iced tea.
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:17 AM on June 25, 2008

I will use a 4 bags from Celestial Seasonings Wild Berry Zinger as a base for pitcher of iced tea. I usually add a squirt of honey into it when the boiling water goes in.
posted by plinth at 6:39 AM on June 25, 2008

Durian! I've never tasted it, but it's unusual.
posted by sycophant

Be careful if you decide to try this, as durian is a stinky, stinky fruit.
posted by Grither at 7:57 AM on June 25, 2008

If you go the sun tea route you can just throw in some fresh mint (spearmint works particularly well) and lavender with the tea of your choice. It makes for a really refreshing summer beverage.
posted by Palmcorder Yajna at 8:04 AM on June 25, 2008

Rhubarb. Try with a little cinnamon (just a pinch) and honey instead of sugar.
posted by Eringatang at 8:27 AM on June 25, 2008

I had a delicious, delicious mint-fennel iced tea when I was in Portland last summer. Try it!
posted by fuzzbean at 11:25 AM on June 25, 2008

Iced tea with mango and chili. Yum!!
posted by Project F at 12:43 PM on June 25, 2008

I like to let Red Zinger and Lemon Zinger steep together... and then add some apple juice (just a very little). Perfect summer drink.
posted by idest at 12:53 PM on June 25, 2008

honey, lemon, and cayenne pepper.
posted by stenseng at 2:26 PM on June 25, 2008

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