There are probably some grammar Nazis who will glance at the title to this post and wince. Shouldn’t it say “iced tea”? I would have thought the same, not long ago. However, I’m less strict about word usage when it comes to popular culture.
In the case of iced tea, English grammar used to stipulate iced water and iced cream, too. To refer to water and cream that way now, would sound quite stilted. As far as ice tea versus iced tea, most people vocally say, “ice tea”. This is probably because of the proximity of two similar sounding consonants. I know that when I’m thirsty, I don’t worry about this minor controversy. I simply request a glass of ice tea.
All that said, this is the prime time of the year for ice(d) tea in our society. I’m not thinking of Long Island Ice Tea–that drink doesn’t even contain tea; nor instant ice tea which is only good in a pinch. The only ice tea that truly satisfies is brewed fresh.
There are two methods of preparing it that have become my favorites. Both are very simple.
My default ice tea is sun tea. I fill the trusty, old sun tea jar with plain tap water and set it aside. I decide what kind of tea to prepare. There are the standard Lipton tea bags for the regular tea most people like. Sometimes, I use herbal tea bags like those from “Celestial Seasonings” that can be purchased in supermarkets. I place the number of bags for the amount of servings into the jar; cover it, then place it outdoors on the lawn in the sunshine and wait. If you use loose tea or herbs, use a large tea ball in place of bags.
From time to time, I check out the window to see how the brewing progresses. When the color looks right, I bring the jar inside and discard the used tea bags. I then pour some into an ice filled tumbler, maybe garnish it with lemon, allow it to chill, then enjoy.
My new favorite method uses the French press coffee maker. Although I’m certainly not the only person who uses the French press for tea, I stumbled upon it myself.
One morning, while preparing coffee in my French press, I glanced at the large jar-full of loose leaf Assam tea in the cupboard. By simple mental association, I wondered if the French press might work for tea.
After sipping my coffee, I cleaned the French press and dried the parts. Then, in a large measuring cup, I microwaved a couple of cups of water to almost boiling, then set it aside. I scooped enough loose tea into the French press according to taste. Then gently poured in the hot water and placed the top plunger mechanism onto the container. Brew time was a little longer than that needed for coffee. Then, I compressed the plunger slowly to finish the process. I poured the tea into an ice-filled tumbler and savored the new taste sensation.
I’ve experimented with various loose leaf herbal blends and found that the French press works just as well with them, too.
The point is, this is summertime. Now is when we want glasses of bracing, thirst quenching ice(d) tea.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes journalist John Egerton. “Iced tea is too pure and natural a creation not to have been invented as soon as tea, ice, and hot weather crossed paths.”