I love tea. I almost always start my day with a pot of classic white or green tea. Alongside my water bottle, tea and herbal infusions are my steady companions throughout the day.
During summer, my favorite way to enjoy my afternoon tea is when it’s infused with the bold flavors and wonderful aroma of fresh (or even dried) herbs. A few years ago (or has it been a decade already?) I was both happy and stunned to discover that major bottlers were beginning to produce iced teas. I was thrilled that folks would now have a choice for a convenient beverage other than the high-fructose-ladened sodas that had been filling coolers for years. I was also duly impressed as I watched new varieties of iced teas, sweetened with honey or organic sugar, appear on shelves.
What stunned me was just how many there were and how high their price tag. Being a longtime maker of iced tea, I’m aware that, water aside, tea is the most economical beverage we can consume: A few tea or herb leaves can make several delicious cups. If you are someone who regularly purchases bottled teas for anywhere from $1.50–$2.25 per bottle, you will be thrilled with how much you can save by brewing and storing your own, at only about .10–30 per cup (depending on whether you use bulk tea, a tea bag, or herbs from your garden and which, if any, sweetener you choose).
In the summer I love to brew large batches of tea and store them in the refrigerator for instant use. Here at Kripalu, we can make—and our guests and staff can drink—about 60 gallons a day on a hot day!
I’ll offer you recipes for a couple of our favorite iced teas, but I suggest keeping the yield a bit smaller then 60 gallons!
Happy summer sipping!
Moroccan Mint Tea
Makes 6 cups.
6½ cups water
½ cup fresh mint (stems and all), washed
2 tablespoons green tea (or 6 tea bags)
1–2 tablespoons sweetener of choice—organic sugar, agave, or honey work well
Bring water to a boil. Turn off heat, add mint, and allow to steep five minutes. Return to a boil, turn off heat, and add tea. Allow tea to steep no more than three minutes. (Green tea will become bitter if over-steeped.) Remove tea and mint; sweeten to taste. Great hot or cold.
Makes about 2 quarts
6 tablespoons dried hibiscus
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon lavender
8 cups water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup cane sugar
Place hibiscus and lavender in a cheesecloth and tie with a string to make a pouch.
Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Turn off the heat and add the hibiscus-lavender pouch, lemon juice, and sugar. Steep for 20 minutes. Strain and chill. Serve cold.