When I was a young boy growing up in South Carolina, I remember my grandmother putting tea in a pitcher and leaving it out in the sun to steep. My twin brother and I would run outside every few minutes to check on the progress of this “sun tea,” as she called it.
As I grew older and began to learn more about tea and health, I realized that the concept was great, but the execution was flawed (sorry, grandma!). Bacteria love wet tea leaves, and so leaving them out in a perfect environment for bacterial proliferation is rolling the dice for an infection.
But, there is an answer – and it is really cool. Downright cold, actually: cold brew.
Cold brewing coffee is all the rage right now, but it is even easier, in fact, to prepare a pitcher of cold-brewed iced tea.
Simply add tea leaves to the bottom of a pitcher (using the one teaspoon per cup standard) and pour cold water over them. Cover, and place in the refrigerator (this is the important part) for at least 6 hours, preferably as much as 12. Strain and serve. That’s it!
Better yet, because the leaves are never shocked with the hot water, the tannins – the bitter stuff – aren’t as prevalent so it is much more refreshing.
June is National Iced Tea Month, so enjoy it by trying something new – Cold Brew!