I’m Elizabeth, friend of Alma! I am NOT a cook (I’m a poet for heaven’s sake!), but I have something I wanted to share with you, because I was staring at a friend’s vat of Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee and I had to tell you this. I know, you still want your icy-cold caffeine kick!
So I thought I’d share with you a recipe that has caffeine and is good and even YOU can make it. (Don’t worry… I’ve broken it down for even the most clueless in the kitchen, like me!)
Oh, and I realize that, for some of Alma’s regular readers, this recipe is — ahem, shall we say, restrained? — but regardless of your cooking abilities, I think it doesn’t hurt to have one or two “fancy” recipes you can just whip up in the kitchen from good ingredients to impress friends with.
And believe me, ANYONE can do this one.
Personally, good, unsweetened iced tea has always been on the top of my list in the summer of staples in the kitchen. Here’s an iced tea I came up with last summer when I was trying to be “healthier” and I LOVED IT! This one recipe will not only make you happy, it’s great for sharing with friends, and has that “surprise” ingredient to make it special.
“It-Actually-Tastes-GOOD Homemade Iced Green Tea!”
(Sometimes green tea doesn’t taste all that great — should we call it an acquired taste? — especially if you prefer your tea unsweetened!) This does. I promise. My kids drink it.
2-Quart pitcher and small sauce pan OR
Gallon pitcher and medium sauce pan (use a pitcher that fits in your fridge)
Water (tap is fine)
Organic (preferably) green tea bags (I get the big box of Organic Green Tea by Bigelow from BJs. CHEAP!)
Peppermint teabags (I use the Lipton herbal but whatever mint tea you have will work).
Your favorite sweetener (truly optional, but who am I to judge?)
1. Fill your pan with water. Yes. This is a recipe that requires you to be able to boil water! Can you do it? (My problem is turning it on and forgetting, then checking Facebook until it boils dry. If you do this too, then set a nice timer on your phone or microwave for 10 minutes.)
2. When the water is boiling, turn it off. Be sure you turn it off. One time I didn’t, and I set the tea bag tags on fire.
3. In the SMALL sauce pan (for quart pitcher), put 3 green bags and one mint in the water, OR for the MEDIUM sauce pan, put in 4 green and two mint. If the bags have tags, let them hang over the side. If not, just let them float.
4. Walk away and let cool/steep for at least 30 minutes. If you plan to walk away longer (my Mom used to leave tea steeping on the stove for days when I was a kid… not advisable. Blech.), put a lid on it. Keeps the flies out.
5. After steeping, discard the tea bags. I often use my fingers to take them out, but please don’t tell my friends. You can use a slotted spoon if there are no tags. All parts of a teabag can be composted, except the really fancy ones in the netted bags.
6. Pour the tea directly from the pan into the pitcher. Note: put the pitcher in the sink when you do this, because you will probably spill some all over the place like I do. That’s OK. This isn’t exact science.
7. Fill up the rest of the pitcher with water. To the top. It’ll foam up. That’s normal.
8. Wipe off the bottom of the pitcher because now it has a ring of water (and any other crud from your sink) on it, and that will make your fridge dirty when you put it in!
9. Cool in the fridge at least an hour. However, you won’t want to wait that long, so just cram your favorite glass full of ice and go ahead and drink some now. I prefer to drink with a straw. I don’t know why.
10. Add a bit of sweetener if you like, but please try it without first! The mint tea tricks you into thinking it is a bit sweet already, and covers up the acidic qualities of the green tea! That’s why it tastes so good!
Plan on making this often because it is addictive. Very cool, refreshing (yay mint!), and it has a good kick of caffeine too! My favorite summer drink (before 5 o’clock). I don’t get the same extreme buzz as get from an iced coffee, but then again, I don’t load the tea up with sugar the way I do coffee!
Enjoy, especially in a BPA-free tumbler with built-in-straw, perfect for driving the kids to camp!
Thanks Alma for letting me post!
(You’re welcome, Elizabeth! Here is Elizabeth’s piece about her own cooking : http://blog.elizabethhoward.net/2012/08/01/on-changing-my-view-of-cooking/ )
Elizabeth Howard is a mother of four, stay-at-home-mom, and poet-journalist living in Connecticut. She plans all her meals in advance and makes 2.4 meals a day for her family. You could hate her for this, but why waste the energy? She stoops happily to grilled cheese and hot dogs at least once a week. Her husband, Colin, is the real chef in their family! Visit her at http://elizabethhoward.net for some culture.