Make Your Own Iced Tea
When the temperature rises and the thought of a steaming cup of your usually beloved tea sends you into a sweat, reach for this refreshingly chilled alternative instead. Make up a portion in a jug with freshly sliced fruit for added flavour and share some highly sippable summer flavours on a sunny day.
Iced Tea Recipe
You will need:
- 4 tea bags (breakfast tea is the norm, but you could try Earl Grey for more citrussy flavour)
- 1 tbsp caster sugar (add more or less to your taste)
- 2 sliced lemons (or 1 sliced orange if you'd prefer)
- A few mint leaves
- Boiling water
- A heatproof jug
Add the teabags, sugar and half of the fruit to the jug, and pour 1 litre of freshly boiled water over the top.
Leave it to stand for 5-6 minutes before removing the tea bags and fruit pieces.
Allow to cool at room temperature, then transfer to the fridge to chill.
When you're ready to serve your iced tea, either use the remaining fruit slices to garnish the tea in the jug, or place in individual glasses. In both cases, fill the glasses with ice before pouring in the chilled tea. Garnish with mint.
Top tip: Make sure your ice trays are always full and frozen so you're always ready to mix up a fresh batch!
And if you fancy more of a challenge...
You might have seen bottles of kombucha drinks in fancy supermarkets or health shops, going for upwards of five quid a pop. But, what exactly is it? Kombucha is a fermented sweetened tea made with a live culture called a SCOBY (AKA a symbiotic colony of ‘good’ bacteria and yeast). Not too dissimilar from the process that gives kimchi it’s tangy, almost effervescent flavour.
Kombucha tea has become increasingly popular over the past few years, you might even be able to find it in your local supermarket if you’re lucky. This culture-rich drink is said to have many health benefits attributed to it, mainly in promoting good gut health due to the potent probiotic concentration formed in the fermentation process. Either way, it’s a nice alternative to processed sugary drinks and what’s more, you can make your own at home.
Kombucha is usually made using:
- White sugar
- Cold filtered water
- Black/green tea (bags or loose leaf)
- SCOBY – can be bought or make your own (see how below)
To make kombucha:
1. Place the tea and sugar in a bowl or jar and pour in freshly boiled water. After 15 minutes, remove the tea bags (without squeezing them) and allow the liquid to cool to room temperature. If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast and ‘good’ bacteria in your SCOBY.
2. Add the SCOBY to the bowl or jar and cover with a muslin cloth and secure with a piece of string
3. Leave to ferment for a week. Your SCOBY needs to breathe so it’s important to use a cloth covering rather than a proper lid. Placement is also important – choose a room-temperature spot away from direct sunlight, radiators and other heat sources.
4. Once the first week of fermentation is over, give your mixture a taste. If you’re happy with the flavour you can move on to the next step. If not, give it some more time but taste it daily. It will get more acidic the longer you leave it, so it’s best to keep an eye on it (or a tastebud in this case).
5. Once you’re happy with the taste, remove the SCOBY with about 200ml of the liquid and store for your next batch.
6. The rest of the liquid is ready to drink if you’re happy with the flavour. Go ahead and place in an air-tight container/bottles in the fridge for when you’re feeling thirsty. If you fancy something fizzier, leave it in there for a few days before drinking. You can also begin a second round of fermentation, adding fruit or spices to the mix and leaving it for a few days before drinking.
To make a SCOBY:
Growing your own ‘mother’ SCOBY, is a simple process, if slow. Once you’ve got your SCOBY sorted though, you can use it again and again. You’ll need a bottle of pre-made, raw and flavourless Kombucha from a supermarket or online. Pour it into a glass jar and cover with a muslin cloth, fastened with an elastic band or piece of string. Now we wait. Leave it at room temperature for 2-3 weeks and your homemade SCOBY will be ready to make Kombucha.