Iced green tea is a refreshing, healthy, calorie-free beverage. Before exploring how to make iced green tea, let’s take a look at the tea itself.
Green tea comes from the same plant as black tea, but unlike black tea, green tea is not oxidized. Because it is not oxidized or fermented green tea has a lighter taste and more beneficial chemicals than black tea. Green tea has a clean taste, described sometimes as fresh, light, green, or grassy. Some types of green tea are slightly sweet and some are slightly astringent. Green tea has about half as much caffeine as black tea and about one-quarter as much as coffee. There are many different types of green tea, and green tea is often mixed with fruits or spices.
Varieties of Green Tea for Icing
Green teas range from delicate to robust. Delicate flavors may be lost in iced tea, so moderately stronger varieties are usually preferred for icing. Because all green teas, even the stronger ones, are less hardy than black tea, it is better to prepare them with cooler water. Whether you use teabags or loose tea, pour the water when it just starts to boil rather than waiting for a full, rolling boil.
Here are a few of the varieties of green tea that make great iced tea.
- Chinese Gunpowder Green Tea is a moderately robust blend of old and new leaves. It becomes bitter if brewed too long.
- Dragon Well is the most popular Chinese green tea. It is aromatic with a full-bodied flavor.
- Williamson Kenya Green is a light and refreshing green tea from Kenya.
- Sencha is the most common Japanese green tea.
- Xianju Rain Forest Green is a fresh and light tea from China.
How to Make Iced Green Tea
Recipes for iced green tea range from very simple to quite complex. Here is the simplest recipe: Steep green tea in half the water and pour it over ice. Now let’s look at other iced green tea recipes.
– Iced Green Tea from Teabags
For a single serving put one or two teabags (to taste) in a cup. Pour hot water over the teabags and steep for three-to-five minutes. Take the teabag out. Let the tea cool (at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Then pour the tea into a tall glass full of ice. To make a quart pitcher of iced tea, put four-to- eight teabags in the pitcher and proceed as above.
-Iced Green Tea from Loose Leaf Tea
Prepare tea according to the directions for the variety you are using. You can use the recommended amount leaves, or you can double that amount for a stronger iced tea. After steeping, remove the leaves and let the tea cool at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Pour the tea over a glass of ice. Add flavoring or garnishes such as lemon wedges or mint leaves to taste.
– Sweetened and Flavored Iced Green Tea
While green tea is traditionally served without sweetener, everyone’s taste is different, so you might like this recipe.
Pour hot water over four bags of green tea. Let the tea seep for three-to-four minutes. Remove the tea bags and let the tea cool. Next, pour the tea into a pitcher and add up to four teaspoons, sugar, honey, or artificial sweetener to taste. Add three teaspoons of lemon juice. Pour the mix over two cups of cold water and put in the refrigerator to chill before serving.
-Traditional Chinese Iced Green Tea
Some traditions steer away from brewing green tea in hot water and then cooling it because cooling in the open air causes oxidation, which can diminish the anti-oxidant qualities of the tea. Here is a no-boil method:
Put two-to-three tablespoons of green tea leaves in a gallon bottle of drinking water. Cool the bottle for an hour or two in the refrigerator. The tea is ready to drink when it turns a gold color. When you have used two-thirds of the tea you can add more water. You can do this two or three times before the tea loses its gentle flavor.
-Iced Green Tea from the Sun
This recipe may not be traditional, but you can make excellent iced green tea using the heat of the sun. Follow the traditional recipe above, but instead of putting the bottle in the refrigerator, put it outside in the sun. Pour over ice cubes. For an elegant touch, serve the tea in a tall, clear glass and garnish it with mint leaves.
Why Iced Green Tea is a Healthy Drink
Eastern cultures have used green tea for its medicinal qualities for centuries. Chinese and Indian practitioners used green tea to improve the health of the heart, to stop bleeding and heal wounds, and to promote urination. Green tea has also been used to regulate body temperature, promote digestion and reduce gas, improve mental alertness, and regulate blood sugar levels.
While the health benefits of green tea remain controversial in the United States, many studies find that it has a high concentration of potent anti-oxidants (called polyphenols) that probably contribute to cardiovascular and neurological health. Green tea may aid in boosting the immune system and may help maintain a healthy blood sugar level. It may help protect against cancer by destroying free radicals and against heart disease by lowering cholesterol. Because green tea may increase calorie burning, it is included in many weight loss diets.
Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found no conclusive evidence for the cardiovascular benefits of green tea, Dr. Andrew Weil, well-known natural health physician states, “I believe that the health benefits – cardiovascular and otherwise – of green tea will eventually be established beyond all doubt.”
Healthy and Delicious Refreshment
When you know how to make iced green tea you can prepare a delicious and healthy gourmet refreshment for your friends and family.