Making Perfect Iced Tea: Things My Mama Taught Me (and a few I learned from HGTV)

Making Perfect Iced Tea| How To Make a Perfect Glass of Iced TeaToday I’m resurrecting a series of posts called, “Things My Mama Taught Me.”

I wouldn’t really call myself a domestic diva, but I am a good Southern cook, who routinely OD’s on information. I love all things about hearth and home, I am always on a quest for finding the most efficient way of doing the most mundane thing.

Thus, this series. I’ve got a lot of odds and ends of info rattling about my head, and I figured some of you might find them helpful and/or interesting.

In this series, you will find tips, tricks, recipes, favorite resources, and the like.

Today, I’m going to tell you how to make delicious and perfectly brewed iced tea.

When I was in college and living with three roommates in a two-bedroom apartment, I was the tea maker. My roommates—Southern girls though they were—had no clue how to make iced tea. They thought tea came in a brown powder form in a can.

Sacrilege, I tell you. Absolute sacrilege.

Since then, I’ve been perfecting my iced tea skills, and we always have a gallon in the fridge. I can’t go more than a few hours without a cold glass of tea. Alone, I probably drink 1 gallon every 2 days or so.

Making perfect iced tea is simple. Follow my tips below.

Iced Tea

makes one gallon

In a small saucepan, boil about 3 cups of water. I never measure; just fill up the saucepan.

When the water boils, add 3 family size tea bags. I actually use decaf tea now and have never been able to make any distinction in flavor.

Remove the pot from the heat. Cover the pot with a lid and allow to steep. I think it should steep at least 10-15 minutes, but 30-45 minutes will give you a deeper flavor.

Next comes the controversial part: sugar. I am not a big fan of super-sweet tea. When it is super-sweet, the flavor of the tea is obliterated by the syrupy flavor. If I want syrup, I’ll drink Coke. So, I typically only add about 1/2 cup sugar to the warm liquid and stir to dissolve. (Obviously, add more sugar to adjust to your taste.)

Pour the tea mixture into a one gallon jug. Fill the jug with cold water to make one gallon.

In my ideal world, my iced tea is served over a glass FULL of ice, with fresh-squeezed lemon, and sprigs of mint.

Absolutely, positively perfect refreshment. Ahhhh.

For sweetness/more flavor without the sugar:

  • Try using Stevia instead of sugar.
  • I also use 1-2 drops Lemon, Orange, and/or Bergamot essential oils per glass. The oils give a delicious flavor. You may find you don’t miss the sugar when flavoring with essential oils. *Note: Never add the oils to iced tea unless it is in a glass container. I only consume and recommend consuming 100% pure therapeutic-grade essential oils by Young Living.
  • I periodically experiment with brewing a herbal or flavored tea along with the original teabags. Just replace one tea bag with about 3 smaller bags. I like to use orange spice, green citrus, and raspberry leaf.
  • I also use an Iced Tea Maker frequently now to make iced tea. I do love it, and I think it does a fine job. I bought some bulk cut herbs (raspberry leaf ), and brew them in my iced tea maker with my tea bags.
    Directions: Follow machine’s directions for making tea. Place 3 large bags into the maker. Put 3 heaping T of raspberry leaf herb (or herb of your choice) into a plain coffee filter. Fold the corners of the coffee filter like wrapping a gift. Staple together to close. Place herb pouch on top of tea bags and brew as normal.

Some good fast iced tea options when you’re out:

  • Sonic Route 66 iced tea, half sweet and half unsweet with extra lemon
  • McDonald’s large tea, half sweet and half unsweet with extra lemon

What about you? What’s your favorite iced beverage? What’s your favorite hot beverage? Do you have any tips for making the perfect glass or cup of whatever?