I’ve just learned this week that “iced tea” refers to hot-brewed tea that has been chilled with ice, and that “ice tea” is another term for cold brew. I have no idea how seriously anyone takes their tea terminology, but all I know is there is a lot of fun you can have with chilled tea.
Since June is Iced Tea month, I’ve been having fun playing with different ingredients and methods, coming up with some serious funky concoctions. And some have been surprisingly good. (The others we needn’t mention.)
I love black currant tea. It feels like a traditional and harmonious flavour pairing, much like Earl Grey, but having fallen in popularity somewhat. (For a quick history of the legality of black currants in North America, see my post on the Lady Baker’s Tea blog here).
I also buy a lot of freeze-dried fruits and use them for creams, sauces and jellies (sadly they don’t work well in a milk-based custard. Bon Apetit spells it out here.) Sometimes I’ve got a few leftovers that are too expensive to throw out and too small to do much with. I always have freeze-dried black currants on hand (they make a potent and tangy sauce for duck). Turns out, they can add some oomph to iced tea.
I cold-brewed some black currant iced tea, and would have been happy to sweeten it and augment the flavour with black currant cordial if I had some. I used what I had instead, and it added all the flavour and none of the sweetness. It definitely needed sweeter, so I added some honey.
What makes this a great breakfast brew are two things: I brewed the tea and black currants in milk. You still need that honey—black currants are really, really tart! They are also full of pectin, which added a thickness to it. It was almost like a yoghurt drink, except charged with caffeine, and much less sugar.
This was the perfect treat to enjoy with the sunrise before my early morning walk. Just enough caffeine, just enough substance to hold me off until breakfast, just enough effort: shake, strain and serve.
These proportions are guidelines. Also, if you have a few leftover bit of freeze-dried fruits, why not throw them in your cold brew tea? In water, in juice, in milk. The combinations are infinite!
- 2 cuos whole milk
- ½ cup black currant tea
- ¼ cup freeze-dried black currants
- 1 tbsp honey or agave syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
- Put all ingredients in a mason jar. Put in the fridge overnight.
- In the morning, give it all a good shake. Strain into a pitcher and serve up.