Types of Tea + Iced Tea Recipes
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Cool down this summer with tasty and healthy iced teas!
Now that it is getting warmer, many people find themselves craving icy cold beverages. Though staying hydrated is important, a cold soft drink can be detrimental to a person's health. Instead of reaching for a soda or sugary punch next time temperatures climb, it's better to opt for a delicious iced tea instead.
Tea isn't just a great option on account of its safe ingredients. Drinks made with tea can contain many other important health benefits as well.
Like most other tea types, white tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant. This type of tea gets its name from the fine white hairs on the plant buds. These hairs are also referred to as silver needles. All types of white tea are less processed than green or black tea. Some white teas like Bai Mudan have a characteristically fruity flavor while others are more floral. Due to the lack of processing, white tea has a lighter flavor and retains more antioxidants. These antioxidant properties have been linked to reduced risks of cancer and heart disease.
Appreciate the fresh, light taste of white tea with this recipe for White Peach Iced Tea.
- 3 white peaches
- ½ cup raw sugar
- 9 cups water
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 6 white tea bags
- Slice the peaches thinly and combine with the sugar, one cup of water, and vanilla in a medium saucepan.
- Bring to a boil and stir it gently until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the stove and let it sit covered for 30 minutes.
- Puree mixture in a blender until smooth, and then strain out the peach skins.
- Put the tea bags into a large, heatproof jug. Heat remaining water until just about to boil, and then pour over the tea bags.
- Brew for five minutes and then remove tea bags.
- Add the peach syrup, mix, and refrigerate until cool.
- Serve over ice.
Green tea is slightly more processed than white tea because it is steamed and rolled, but it is not fully fermented. In some instances, green tea is shaped into specific shapes, such as the gunpowder tea where each leaf is rolled into a tiny pellet. Tea lovers can prepare sencha green tea by steeping leaves, or they can create a frothy matcha tea by whisking finely powdered leaves into a cup of hot water. Green tea is considered to be particularly healthy because it contains catechins and flavonoids that are believed to help people burn fat and avoid cardiovascular disease. Genmaicha tea, which is green tea mixed with roasted brown rice, is particularly helpful with weight loss because the starch keeps the stomach feeling full.
Enjoy the unique texture of matcha tea by making this healthy, vegan iced green matcha latte!
- 1 Tbs. matcha green tea powder
- 3 cups of unsweetened almond or soy milk (vanilla flavor can be quite tasty)
- 1 Tbs. agave syrup
- 2 tsp. hot water
- Sift the matcha powder into a large mason jar.
- Add the hot water slowly, and then whisk vigorously to form a paste with no lumps.
- Stir in the milk and agave syrup. Close the jar and shake it back and forth until everything is smooth and fully mixed together.
- Pour over ice to serve.
Oolong stands out from other types of tea due to the traditional Chinese methods of withering the tea, oxidizing it, and then curling it carefully into traditional shapes. Some oolong varieties are rolled into balls, while other varieties are twisted into long strands. Tea connoisseurs typically describe oolong as tasting fruity, and these fruity flavors can be enhanced in flavored varieties as well. This special preparation results in a tea with high levels of antioxidant compounds that reduce inflammation that could lead to arthritis, diabetes, or stroke.
Experience oolong tea's unique flavor with this refreshing sun tea.
- 4 tsp. loose oolong tea leaves
- 2 cups of cold water
- ice cubes
- Place leaves in a jar with a lid that can hold two cups of water.
- Pour in the water, and then close the lid firmly.
- Set the jar in an area with bright sunlight for at least two hours. On cloudier days, consider waiting a few extra hours.
- Strain the tea to remove the loose leaves.
- Place ice cubes in two glasses, and then pour tea over cubes.
This is the most classic form of tea, and it is made by withering, crushing, rolling, oxidizing, and then drying the leaves. The location where the tea was grown can greatly change its flavors. Darjeeling from eastern India tastes fruity and delicate while Assam from northern India is malty and full-bodied. Many varieties are flavored with additives to create unique tastes like the citrusy Earl Grey tea or the rich and sweet Irish breakfast tea. Black tea may not have as many antioxidants as other varieties, but it does provide a slow and long-lasting release of caffeine that provides temporary energy. Research has found that regular black tea intake can slightly lower blood pressure.
Make a classic iced tea with lemon by using black tea:
- 2 quarts water
- ¾ cup raw sugar
- 3 black tea bags
- 3 Tbs. lemon juice
- Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, and then remove from heat until bubbles subside.
- Put the bags of black tea in the saucepan, cover, and let steep off the stove for a half hour.
- Add the lemon juice and sugar to the mixture, and stir vigorously until sugar is completely dissolved.
- Cool tea in the refrigerator until it is chilled.
- Drink as is or pour over a glass of ice to serve.
Pu-erh tea (also known as pu'erh or puer) may not be as well-known in the West, but in China, it is a popular type of tea created by a deeper level of fermentation than black tea. This results in a very dark, rich flavor that only deepens with age. Pu-erh is often rolled into a tight ball containing hundreds of leaves. Research has found that Pu-erh has the unusual ability to suppress fatty acid synthase, which is believed to result in lower cholesterol levels and lower body weight. The Chinese have typically ascribed many healing properties to Pu-erh, so they create Cholesterid Tea and other medicinal brews.
Try Pu-erh's unusually earthy taste by using this brewing method to create iced tea:
- 8 cups cold water
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- 1 Tbs. pu-erh tea
- ice cubes
- Bring water to boil in a saucepan and then stir in sugar until dissolved.
- Wash pu-erh leaves with a spoonful or two of hot water, and then quickly place them in the pot.
- Continue boiling for one more minute and then remove from heat.
- Let steep for four minutes.
- Strain out tea leaves and cool to room temperature.
- Stir in ice cubes until chilled and then serve.
Most people know about basic herbal teas like mint or chamomile, but infusions can be made from more than just leaves or flowers. A tisane can be made from fruits like peaches or even seeds like cardamom. Tisanes have the benefit of being free of caffeine, and they can also have their own unique health benefits. Try making a root tisane from ginger to settle a queasy stomach or a bark tisane from cinnamon to balance blood sugar levels.
Get the fun texture of a Frappuccino with this flavorful tisane made from mint and pineapple:
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 sprigs fresh mint leaves
- ¾ cups frozen pineapple
- ½ cup crushed ice
- 1 Tbs. honey
- Pour boiling water over half of the mint leaves and let steep for three minutes.
- Allow mint tisane to cool in the fridge for a half hour.
- Put mint tisane, remaining mint, pineapple, ice, and honey in the blender.
- Pulse blender until the beverage is smooth.
Relax at the end of a long day with this calming iced chamomile and lavender tisane.
- 3 tsp. Loose chamomile tea
- 1 tsp. dried lavender flowers
- 2 cups water
- 3 tsp. sugar
- Heat the water in a medium saucepan until it boils.
- Add chamomile and lavender and boil for three more minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in honey until dissolved.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Pour over ice to serve.