Monday, June 10, 2013

Tea time with a little ice on the side

It's news to me as it could be for people reading this blog but today is National Iced Tea Day. Furthermore, June has been designated by somebody - maybe the tea manufacturers - as National Tea Month.
In as far as tea consumption is concerned, my personal choice has been and always will be, hot tea. The rationale behind this taste decision is in the preparation of tea in that it begins with boiling hot water that has been at a full boil for a minute or so, never tepid, to bring out the full flavor of tea. Once the water is boiled, it should be slowly poured over a tea diffuser or tea bag (my choice) allowing for the full flavor to be brought out. 
Getting back to iced tea and although I've tasted it a few times, it just doesn't do it for me. Somehow the flavor seems to diminish with the addition of ice cubes. Cold tea is cold tea is... Be that as it may, iced tea is enjoyed by many people.
The site, lists five interesting facts about tea
      -   A cup of black tea has half as much caffeine as a cup of coffee
      -  Drinking milk may mean stronger bones, but the same goes for a cup of tea (go figure)
      -  In one day, an experienced tea picker can collect around 70 pounds of tea, sufficient tea to
         make 14,000 cups

      - A large amount of caffeine is released from tea after the first 30 seconds of brewing.

      - There are four main types of tea: white, green, oolong, and black

In seeking some information about the origins of tea, the Tea Association of the USA has some very interesting tea-related data. For example:

- On any given day, about one half of the American population drinks tea. On a regional basis, the South and Northeast have the greatest concentration of tea drinkers.

- Approximately 85% of tea consumed in America is iced

- Historically, tea is nearly 5,000 years old and was discovered in 2737 BC by Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung, known as the "Divine Healer"

- Anna, Duchess of Bedford, is credited with creating Afternoon Tea in 1840. Good thing she did since 'tea time' usually between three and four in the afternoon is a wonderful habit to acquire...really.

This site, is an interesting source of facts and data related to tea and is a worth-while visit. There is also a fun section devoted to the art of tea leaf reading:

Now that that the origins of tea have been explored, let's get down to the basics of the actual creation of a pitcher of the liquid. Here is the basic recipe:

8 cups water
3 orange pekoe tea bags
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
Slices of fresh lemon to garnish

In a large saucepan, heat water to a rapid boil. Remove from heat and drop in the tea bags. Cover and let steep for 1 hour.

In a large pitcher, combine the steeped tea and the sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then stir in lemon juice. Refrigerate until chilled. Before serving, garnish with thinly-sliced lemons in the pitcher or on the rim of the glass.

Simplicity personified for iced tea aficionados especially since it's iced tea day. Enjoy a glass - or cuppa as the Brits say.


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