In Canada, iced tea is a syrupy sweet concoction that has very little to do with tea and much more to do with sugar. My friend Heather, who worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken in tourist ridden Banff, said the Americans would come into the restaurant and freak out when they tasted it, so they had to add “American Ice Tea” to their menu. Guess what it was made from? Tea. Wow.
Since I’ve been trying to cut down on refined sugars in my diet, I have begun making my own iced tea. I boil a kettle, pour it into my biggest tea pot along with a tea bag or two and let it steep. When it’s ready, I add 2 packets of stevia powder to my 2.2 litre Tupperware™ pitcher and pour in the tea. I put it in the fridge to cool. To serve, I pour over ice into a glass. Couldn’t get much simpler, could it?
But wait! There’s more! 😉 There is a gourmet aspect to this simple beverage. If your tea shelf looks anything like mine, you have a huge variety of flavour options! At the moment I am sipping “Lipton Green tea with orange.” I just finished a pitcher of vanilla Rooibus. For my birthday last year, my daughter bought me “Ice tea blend” from Tea Delights in Vernon, a black tea with a subtle peach flavour. My favourite is probably peppermint herbal tea. It’s very cooling on a hot day. I rarely have boring Orange Pekoe, but it works, too.
This is a bargain beverage, as well. A stevia packet is 10c, and a tea bag is about the same, so for 30c you can enjoy 2.2 litres of summer sunshine. My friend Cyndy has an iced tea maker that works like a drip coffee maker, dripping tea onto ice cubes. I think they usually use about 4 tea bags in it. Feel free to make your tea stronger if you’re so inclined. You’re adding 30c more to the budget, but you’re worth the splurge. Oh- and if you don’t have an issue with refined sugar, you could substitute 1/4 c of sugar for the stevia, but now you’re adding calories.