Saturday, April 2, 2011

A different iced tea

Well, spring has sprung! The warm air these past few days has once again called forth the blossoms from their winter dorms. The bees are buzzing. The birds singing. It sounds cliche, I know. But it's true!

The weather in Chico is usually pretty extreme. In the 7 years I've lived here, we've rarely had a true springtime. It goes straight from 45 degrees one day to 80 and upwards to 100 almost overnight. Usually a night in March, I think. But this week has been nice and mild. Real spring weather - what a treat for us. :)

Here's a funky pic I took with my phone in Bidwell Park during a moment of rapture:

So, to celebrate this glorious weather, I thought I'd make some iced tea. Seems festive. Seems simple. I don't usually drink alot of iced tea, but I think I'll try to more often. It's a nice alternative to the soda pop I grew up on and that I'm trying not to drink anymore. It's also a nice alternative to city water, which has been tasting kind of gross lately, even after filtering.

So - iced tea. Just buy some at the store right? Well... I tried a couple different lipton things. They were OK. But they have this funny aftertaste I can't quite describe. It's almost a fishy something. I wouldn't normally be so picky about things like this. But I wanted to find something really yummy that I wouldn't mind drinking every day. So I continued looking. Maybe I don't like iced tea, I thought. There are alot of flavored drinks on the market, and most of them look tea-ish. But in the whole aisle of tea-ish things, they each and every one had either loads of sugar (which isn't much better than soda, now - is it?) or aspartame. I was surprised not one of them used splenda or anything. How does anything with aspartame even sell these days? But I digress.

Here I was, in a bit of a culinary bind. So I consulted the Contessa. In her book, she suggests a Zinger recipe she says is very good. After spending a week looking for Red Zinger (which is not Raspberry Zinger, by the way) and finally finding it at one of the natural food stores, I rushed home in anticipation. Watched while it brewed. Barely waited for it to chill.

Aaaaand was ok. I don't like apple juice very much. And this recipe calls for apple juice as a natural sweetener. I tried substituting water and just adding a bit of splenda to sweeten. That was actually pretty good, I thought. But I let Joel try it and he said it tasted like old lady. Or potpourri. After considering the ingredients of the Zinger teas, I said - you're probably tasting the rosehips. He agreed that must be it. He didn't like it. Thanks alot Joel - now all I taste is potpourri.

Well, I thought I'd give it a bit more thought. Eventually, it occurred to me that the lipton tea I thought tasted fishy wasn't just TEA, in any pure form, but a real flavor of tea (black pekoe), and maybe I just don't like black tea. And maybe I'm just not very fond of Zingers. But might I try any other flavor of tea over ice and make my own flavor of iced tea? (You may be just starting to realize now how truly awkward tea and I are around each other). But you know, all these hot teas are kept on very different shelves from the "Iced Tea!" in the grocery stores, so it took awhile for me to put it together. Haha. 

My favorite hot tea has been Earl Grey. So I steeped some grey in only half a cup of hot water, then filled the other half with cold water. Ice. Sweetener. It was perfect. Just what I was looking for. Refreshing. Nothing fishy.

I encourage you - if you're looking for a new refreshment this summer - er, I mean spring - why not try your favorite hot tea over ice? :)

The Contessa's Tea
Recipe can be found here.
My Iced Tea Epiphany
To brew any tea as iced, be sure to reduce the amount of water you usually use for hot tea, since it will dilute over ice. I would say for each bag of tea, steep in 4 oz. hot water for 5-10 minutes, then remove the bag and add 4oz. cold water. Sweeten if desired.

One cup at a time - keeps it fresh.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...