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America's Iced Tea

Many people say there's nothing more
American than apple pie.  However,
there is another sweet treat that's one
hundred percent red, white, and blue.

From coast to coast, Americans are
wild about iced tea. What many don't
realize is that although it's based on an
Asian brew, iced tea is an American
innovation.

Iced tea's popularity can be traced to
the heatwave of 1904 when tea merchant
Richard Blechynden decided to serve
tea over ice at an exposition in St. Louis.
Americans have since perfected different
methods of making iced tea, along with
several innovative recipes.

Black teas from Ceylon, China, and Java
are most commonly used to make iced tea.
Flavored teas such as lemon green tea,
peach black tea, Formosa oolong, or
Japanese sencha may also be used.

While some prefer their chilly brew
without sugar, iced tea can also be
taken sweet.  Superfine baking sugar
or bartender's sugar should be used
to sweeten the flavor. Other options
including preparing sugar syrup on
the stove using a 1:1 water and sugar
and simmering the mixture for a few
minutes. The sugar syrup will keep in
the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Iced tea may be made by cold or hot
steeping. In cold steeping, dry tea leaves
are placed in a clean jug filled with an
appropriate amount of cold water. The
infusion is refrigerated for at least six
hours or overnight, and then strained
into a second jug or container.
Sugar or lemon may be added prior
to serving.

To brew iced tea using the hot steeping
method, three options are available:

Method 1
Use twice the quantity of dry tealeaves
that you would ordinarily use for hot tea.
Infuse in hot water for five minutes, and
then pour over a full glass of ice. For best
results, let the tea cool before pouring it
over ice to prevent clouding or creaming
down.

Method 2
Double the tealeaf amount, steep for 5
minutes in hot water, and then pour the
infusion into a container with the same
amount of cold water. This method dilutes
the strong tea and prevents clouding.

Method 3
Steep black tea in boiling water for 5-8
minutes. Strain the brewed tea into a
container containing cold water, and
then add sugar or lemon to taste. If
you brewed too strong a concentrate,
it will be diluted when poured over ice.
If you still find the tea too strong, you
may add a little water until you have
the perfect iced brew.

Many people enjoy mixing their iced tea
with an equal amount of lemonade or other
fruit juices. Take care that the juice does not
overpower the flavor of the tea. Sweetened,
flavored, hot or cold brewed, iced tea is an
age-old American tradition. Brew up a pot
today and for a real taste of America, serve
it with a big slice of apple pie.

 

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