When prepared traditionally, homemade iced tea tends to be quite tannic, practically begging for a heaping spoonful or two of sugar. But it doesn't have to be that way. The secret to a smoother, more mellow brew will sound familiar to coffee drinkers: cold-brew it. Like how cold-brewing coffee yields a more nuanced, better tasting end result, cold-brewed tea is much smoother than tea that's steeped hot and then chilled down with ice.
This technique can be applied to virtually any variety of tea, but I love cold-brewing chai. When steeped overnight, the ginger, cinnamon, and other spices get their chance to shine. Not weak nor too strong, it's tasty even without milk or sweetener, but I like it best shot through with whole milk or almond milk for a creamy pick-me-up.
For an undiluted drink even on the hottest of days, steal another trick from iced coffee drinkers. Freeze cold-brewed chai in an ice cube tray (I'm smitten with
If you own a scale — I'm partial to
The same cold-brew technique can be applied to other varieties of tea: per quart of water, infuse 8 to 12 grams of loose leaf tea (1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons for a dense rolled tea like oolong or 4 to 5 tablespoons for a lightweight voluminous tea like some white varieties) for 8 to 10 hours or overnight. Play around with the amount of tea and the timing until you get it just right.
- Add the chai and water to a quart-sized mason jar. Seal and refrigerate for 8 to 10 hours (or overnight).
- Strain out and discard the tea solids.
- Add milk (or nondairy milk) and simple syrup to taste. (I prefer 2:1 ratio of tea to milk without any simple syrup.)
- 1 quart cold-brewed chai