Loose Leaf Iced Tea: You can brew it!

Friday, July 11th, 2014 by

For most tea drinkers (in this country anyway), tea equals tea bags. Unless you’ve happened upon a bum bag, you may have never seen what’s inside. And if you have had one bust open, you probably think that tea is a dusty mess. If your pursuit of a better cup has led you to loose leaf teas, you know that’s not so. Whole tea leaves are quite a bit larger than anything you will find in a tea bag. Why is this important? The aromatic oils responsible for flavor evaporate quickly when tea leaves are broken. Whole leaves retain their flavor longer and a larger bag, or no bag at all means they are free to fully expand and express themselves (yield flavor and brew a delicious cup).

If you are a loose leaf convert, you probably know how to brew your favorite teas. If you don’t, we tried to make it simple on our Tattle Tea site by providing some general  guidelines as well as specific brewing instructions for each tea, including amount of tea, ideal water temperature and steep time. But that’s per cup, hot. How does that translate to iced, especially if you’re used to throwing a bunch of teabags in a pitcher?

How to Brew Loose Leaf Iced Tea

Green, white, herbal, flavored — if you like it hot, try it iced. The hot water method may be the easiest place to start. This method creates a concentrated shot of hot tea you can then pour over ice and serve immediately. Start by calculating how much tea you would need to brew 16 oz double-strength (our instruction on the site and our packaging are for 8 oz, so double the tea quantity). 8 oz of hot Orange Pekoe, for example, requires 1.5 tsp of tea leaves. 16 oz would be 3 tsp, or 6 tsp for a double strength batch. Now, if you will be pouring this over ice, so you only need about 4 oz of hot water total to account for ice melt. That means you will be brewing 6 tsp in 4 oz of near-boiling water. The steep time and water temperature is the same as for regular hot tea, regardless of strength or quantity. Here’s the recipe:

16 oz. Iced Orange Pekoe

  • Place 6 tsp of loose leaf black tea into an infuser or disposable tea bag
  • Add 4 oz. of near-boiling water
  • Steep for 3.5 minutes
  • Remove tea and add sweetener
  • Pour over a 16 oz glass of ice and serve

For larger quantities, the same tea: hot water: ice ratio applies, just adjust your amounts accordingly.

1 Gallon Iced Orange Pekoe

  • In a 1 gal. pitcher, add 1 dry measuring cup of loose leaf black tea to an infuser or large tea bag (if infuser is not large enough, leave tea loose in the pitcher and pour through a strainer later)
  • Add two quarts of near-boiling water
  • Steep for 3.5 minutes
  • Remove tea and add sweetener
  • Add ice until the pitcher is full
  • Tea is ready to be served or stored in a refrigerator or freezer and served as needed

Cold Steeping Convenience

As always, a little bit of planning can make life so much easier.  The beauty of cold steeping is that the tea will never over-steep and become bitter, which is often a problem for green teas and anyone forgetful in the kitchen. Also, the ratio of tea:water needed is the same as for hot tea, which makes it the better choice for the math-impaired.*

There are dozens of cold steep jugs available. The Mist Iced Tea Jug works well for loose leaf tea because it has a tea strainer built into the spout, so no infusers or tea bags are necessary. Cold steeping takes time – overnight is best. There is something about cold steeping that makes me want to get creative. Add some herbs or fruit to the jug and allow it all to infuse together.

50 oz Iced Orange Pekoe

  • Add 3 heaping tablespoons of black tea to the a 50 oz. iced tea jug
  • Fill with water
  • Leave in refrigerator overnight or for minimum of 8 hours
  • Sweeten if desired. Simple syrup mixes easily with cold tea
  • When ready to serve, pour over ice

*Since the tea will already be cold, it is unnecessary to compensate for ice melt with extra tea or with less water.

Tea Sangria

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 by

You may have seen our new tea and wine infusion kit, featuring our Mist iced tea jug designed for cold-steeping, and three single-serve packs of Love Struck Rooibos herbal tea. Essentially, we took the two best things to flow from a pitcher, mixed them together, and they were both better for it. The right tea really can enhance an inexpensive bottle of wine. Think of it as a kind of sangria, using a spiced, slightly sweet herbal tea instead of fruit and brandy. The kit eliminates guesswork (and mess). Just empty one pre-measured pack of tea into the jug, fill with wine (we recommend Pinot Grigio), and chill overnight. The Mist jug has a screen in the spout that strains the tea for you. When it’s ready, pour the infusion into a glass and enjoy. We really hope you appreciate the amount of office drinking that went into getting this recipe just right.

Delicious as it is used as prescribed, you can have some fun experimenting with this kit too, and we have. We were  interested in a more traditional fruit sangria variation and after trying different wine-tea-fruit combinations, these two were declared the winners. For both recipes, we started with the chilled tea-infused wine. After pouring the infusion out and returning it to the pitcher to strain the tea leaves, we added fruit and let things sit overnight before serving.

Sangria #1: Peach and Mango Lovestruck Rooibos

Lovestruck Rooibos is the tea we include with the infusion kit. An herbal tea blend with hibiscus, ginger, and citrus peel, the Lovestruck pairs well with many wines and adds a beautiful red color. This time around we tried it with a dry Riesling. The fruity sweetness of the Riesling and ginger-y spice from the tea worked great for this fruit combination. Peach liquor might be a nice addition for a little added sweetness.


Sangria #2: Blueberry Basil Lavender Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade is one of new spring teas flavored without anything artificial, just lavender, lemon myrtle, hibiscus, and marigold petals. It’s spectacularly flavorful.  For our second sangria experiment we infused a bottle of Gruner Veltliner with seven teaspoons of tea. We added basil leaves and frozen blueberries, which turned the infusion a lovely purplish red. The lemon-basil-lavender flavor combination was dangerously delicious and refreshing. Try it with your favorite dry white wine or add fresh mint and blueberries for a variation on the theme.


Pairing teas and wines with fruit is a fun game we plan on playing all summer long. Have an idea for a combination? Share it — we’d be happy to give it a try and report back!