Iced green tea with lemon, lime, and fresh mint is a refreshing and revitalizing beverage for those warm days. Each glass is naturally sweetened with honey and packed with antioxidants.
A cold glass of iced green tea instantly quenches your thirst on those blazing hot days. What is even better is adding some freshly squeezed citrus juices to the drink, giving you the ultimate flavor combination. Lemons are known to make your mouth pucker. To better balance the tartness, lime juice is blended into the mix for a softer sourness.
When I’m in the mood for an extra refreshing beverage, an Arnold Palmer (half tea, and half lemonade) hits the spot. For me, it has the right balance of sweet, tangy and astringency. But instead of brewing a robust black tea, I like a more mellow green tea for its milder aromatic taste and added health benefits.
How to make iced green tea
These sizzling hot summer days have me craving a fruit smoothie or frequenting Starbucks for a shaken green tea lemonade. Although, it’s way cheaper to make a big batch at home. Here are some simple preparation steps to make the best-tasting iced tea.
- Tea Selection: You can purchase the green tea bags at any of your local markets. I like the Numi organic jasmine green tea blend. The floral notes from the jasmine flower add a pleasant aroma. You can also brew whole loose leaf green tea like pearls, although it may require more tea and longer steeping times because of it’s delicate flavor. Powdered Matcha is also an option if you want a stronger and more astringent flavor. Start with one teaspoon per 8 ounces of water, adding more to taste.
- Tea Brewing: Green tea brewing times can range from 1 to 5 minutes. The longer you steep, the stronger the flavor and bitterness. Depending on the tea grade and form (ground, loose leaf or whole leaves), check the packaging directions.
- Tea Temperature: Delicate green tea leaves should be steeped in below boiling water at 170 to 185°F. This will help prevent burning the leaves, and reducing overly bitter notes.
The concentrated brewed tea is diluted with cold water to cool it down quickly. You can refrigerate until ready to use for several days, or finish making the iced tea and serve right away!
Honey Sweetener Facts
When choosing a natural sweetener, honey is selected for a few reasons. Each variety of honey has a unique flavor profile based on the nectar from the flowers and region pollinated by honeybees. The type of golden sticky syrup selected (clover, tupelo, wildflower, are some examples) adds character to your tea, with more complex and aromatic notes than cane sugar. Plus, it’s less refined, either pasteurized or raw.
Honey has the same amount of calories as sugar (4 calories per gram). However, it’s about 10 to 20% sweeter. This is due to a higher ratio of fructose-to-glucose molecules in the honey. Fructose is about 1.7 times as sweet at sugar (sucrose), glucose is 15% less sweet than sucrose. This means you can add slightly less honey for a similar sweetness level to sugar, reducing some calories.
The combination of fragrant green tea, freshly squeezed juice, golden honey, and cooling mint makes for a delightful drink. With just six simple ingredients, make sure to have a pitcher of iced green tea ready whenever the days start to warm up, and you need a quick and delicious beverage!
What are the health benefits of Green tea?
Green tea (Camellia sinesis) is made from unfermented plant leaves and contains high levels of antioxidants called polyphenols. These polyphenols in green tea called catechins can help neutralize free radicals and may reduce and possibly prevent damage of compounds that can change cells, damage DNA and cause cell death. Compared to black and oolong teas, green tea has the highest polyphenol content because it is the least fermented. The more fermented the tea, the fewer polyphenols, however, the more caffeine. For example, black tea has approximately 2 to 3 times more caffeine content than green tea. (Source: University of Maryland Medical Center: Green Tea)