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Saturday, October 08, 2005

NOTES: The Art of Iced Tea

Our trip to see the tea plantations in india
I'm addicted to iced tea. I drink between ten and twenty cups a day. I know the caffeine probably makes me do it, but I like to blame it on the taste. In Houston, some restaurants serve an excellent brew: Pappadeaux, Cafe Rabelais, Grotto, and Da Marco's come to mind.

Lipton, the self-proclimed tea experts, claims that 80% of all tea bags sold go into making iced tea. I don't doubt them for a minute. Despite our overflowing pantry stocked with Mariage Freres canisters filled with Buddha Blue or Marco Polo loose-leaf, I drink hot tea once for every twenty times I order or make iced tea. In our pantry I also carry a full line of Middle-Eastern tea bags, floral teas from Thailand, low-quality loose leaf from Vietnam, Lipton tea bags, and even new-age red tea.

The variety in tea is much like the variety in ice-cream. It's nice to talk about other flavors, but most people enjoy and buy a single flavor. For ice-cream, the best seller is vanilla by a mile. For iced tea, only one kind will do--broken orange pekoe.

Orange pekoe comes in many gradients of quality. Most tea lovers like the loose leaf variety. Unfortunately, loose leaf ice tea is really not worth the trouble. the ice in the iced tea deadens the tongue to taste a bit, so the traditionally weaker taste you get with loose leaf tea actually takes away from the full flavor you want in that golden brown liquid. So, you want the low-quality broken orange pekoe tea.

In my experience, the more expensive the tea bag, the more floral the taste of the orange pekoe tea. So, go for my favorite ice tea brand, Lipton. Follow the directons, but understand that starting with cold tap water instead of hot water does make a taste difference.

If you're like me and need a little sweetness in the brew, but not the aching toothe sweetness in a Southern sweet tea, add the sugar into the mix immediately after brewing. If you're at a restaurant and order tea, I find the sugar substitute in the pink envelope dissolves better into the tea. i use only a quarter bag to half a bag per glass of iced tea. If you're at home making this stuff, the key is to NOT put ice in the tea. Rather, pour the tea over ice that is already sitting in a glass. Better yet, refrigerate the tea before pouring it over ice.


Brew the Lipton iced tea according to the directions using only cold tap water. I find that in Houston, using bottled water doesn't make the tea taste any different. I also usually use a bit less water and brew for a bit longer than the directions call for since I like my iced tea with a slight bitter edge.

After brewing the tea, remove the bags and add half as much sugar as you think you like in the tea. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before pouring over ice. Crushed ice is best, but lacking crushed ice, you might want to take a clean hammer to refrigerator ice--the angular ice make a nice texture on your lips as you drink the tea.

If you must have additional sugar, make simple syrup (2 parts water to 1 part sugar). If you must add lemon or lime, try mint instead. If you muddle the mint you'll get a wonderful smell to accompany the taste.

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La concurrence entre les maisons de courtage a donne lieu a le compte de demonstration forex forex choisir les paires de devises plus exotiques grande variete de plates-formes de negociation