Thursday, June 18, 2015

THE BEST TEA IN THE WORLD

by Shirley Hailstock

Since Father's Day and Independence Day are practically upon us, I thought about my father and one of the gifts he gave me.  I was also reminded of a previous trip to England by several of my friends (who were in Ireland) posting messages on Facebook.  One thing I enjoy and miss about England tea time.  The entire country seems to stop for an hour and enjoy a soothing cup of tea and a little conversation.


Photo Credit: Morguefile

I have a friend in D.C. that I’ve known since college.  She’s a neo-natal nurse.  We met when she was in nursing school.  I tutored her in chemistry and we became life-long friends.  She spent a lot of time in my apartment and used to say I made the best iced tea in the world.  Of course, I thought she was being facetious since I had very little money and tea bags were the only drink I could afford to buy.  Consequently, there was always tea in my refrigerator.  I didn’t find out until long after I'd married and had children that she actually meant it.

My son also says I make the best tea in the world.  He’s unaware of the comments from my nurse-friend.  But he should know.  He’s traveled from Canada to Australia, New Zealand to Ireland, England to Scandinavia, seen a lot of the world and drank a lot of tea (his refreshment of choice).  For several days one summer when he was about ten, he watched me make tea, asking questions about how much of this and how long to let it boil.  Then one of his friends’ parents I ran across in the local grocery store mentioned the tea.  Apparently, my son had gone to her house and made them the best tea in the world.  Once he called me from Germany when he was an exchange student to find out how to make the tea for his German family.


Photo Credit: Pixabay



Tea has been a part of human life since the Stone Age.  Yet people used to only drink it iced in the summer time.  Tea has now become an any time drink.  I think my father personally championed this change, since we had iced tea year-round as I grew up in Buffalo, New York.  My father was from South Carolina where tea is a staple.

He didn’t teach me to make it, however.  And I didn't experiment with different ingredients.  I just happened to try a different type of tea when I was low on tea bags and suddenly I had people turning their heads like on a television commercial and asking, “Who made this?”  I will give a little credit to my father for one ingredient although the knowledge came to me indirectly through one of my sisters.  She told me about the baking soda.



Photo Credit: Pixabay


Sun Tea was popular about ten years ago and I tried that, but quickly realized it was only a method of getting people to buy more tea bags and therefore making the tea companies more profits.  Quickly, I dropped that idea.  One reason was the inconvenience.  Sun Tea had to sit in the sun for hours to brew.  I’d have to get it ready and put it outside in the morning before leaving for work.  With all I had to do to get three people up dressed, breakfast prepared and eaten, beds made, and lunches ready (with kids who are not morning people), who had time to think about Sun Tea?  And when it was gone, you couldn’t make more on the spot.  Plus my kids didn’t think it was as good and the kind you boiled on the stove.  So following the path of least resistance, I went back to the tried and true.

Photo Credit: Morguefile
In my first book, Under the Sheets, I loaned my heroine the recipe for the tea.  She owned a restaurant and it was a favorite of her patrons.  It was also the defining moment for the hero when he discovers she’s the same woman he’d known and loved in the past.  I put the recipe in that book.  And here it is for you.  I hope you like it.

Photo Credit: Pixabay & Morguefile

Apple Spiced Iced Tea


2 regular tea bags (a cheap brand, store brand is fine)
1 apple spice herbal tea bag
Sugar (to taste or optional)
Baking soda (as much as you can pinch between two fingers)
Cold water
Ice


Photo Credit: Morguefile
Fill a small sauce pan half full of cold water.  Add the three tea bags and bring to a boil.  Boil for two minutes.  Remove from stove and add a pinch of soda (The box keeping your refrigerator fresh is fine to use.  The soda will make the tea bubble to the top of the pan, so be careful.  It will also give the mixture a rich, dark color.)  Fill a half-gallon size pitcher half full of cold water.  Pour tea into a pitcher and stir.  (Discard tea bags.)  Add sugar to taste.  Fill pitcher to top with more cold water.  Serve over ice.

Note:  Do not add lemon.  The strength of the lemon juice will negate the apple spice influence.

Substitutions:  You can substitute any herbal tea you desire and experiment with the flavor.  I’ve used Orange Spice and Cinnamon Apple Spice with good results.

Shirley Hailstock




19 comments:

  1. Thank you, Shirley, for sharing this recipe! I'm going to make a big pitcher of your tea for our Fathers Day dinner! And I'm going to move UNDER THE SHEETS to the top of my TBR pile, too! Have a lovely weekend, m'friend! :-)

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    1. After writing this article, I had to go and make iced tea. I used Apple Cinnamon for my third tea bag. This morning my daughter wanted it for breakfast. And while my son is no longer living at home, he would take half the pitcher in his water bottles on his way out. I can't keep the stuff long enough to get a couple of glasses.

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  2. I love iced tea. In AZ sun tea brews in about an hour, especially when it's as hot as it is this week. But I quit making sun tea when I read that some tea coming in from other countries have impure parts that need to be boiled. So I'm ready to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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    1. Enjoy. It'll surprise your taste buds. For brewed teas (hot), I only use branded teas ( Salada, Constant Comment (another brand we can't keep in the house due to my son).

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  3. Hi, Shirley! Thank you for the recipe. I don't drink coffee at all, so hot tea is my beverage of choice. For me, hot tea has to be black tea - preferably Yorkshire Gold. But I love flavored iced tea, so am going to give that a try ASAP. We dally on the porch all summer long, and your tea sounds like the perfect beverage to make it special. Happy Weekend, everyone.

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  4. Hi, Shirley! Thank you for the recipe. I don't drink coffee at all, so hot tea is my beverage of choice. For me, hot tea has to be black tea - preferably Yorkshire Gold. But I love flavored iced tea, so am going to give that a try ASAP. We dally on the porch all summer long, and your tea sounds like the perfect beverage to make it special. Happy Weekend, everyone.

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    1. Aagghh! Don't know what's doubling me up. Sorry!)

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    2. Aagghh! Don't know what's doubling me up. Sorry!)

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  5. Hi, Shirley! Thanks for this great post. I love iced tea and I've never heard about the baking soda. This is all so interesting. happy Father's Day to all the Dads!

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    1. the baking soda adds no taste. It only gives the tea a darker color.

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  6. My father introduced me to hot tea when I was a child. Of course then I drank it with sugar and cream. And I think it was Lipton. Now when I drink hot tea, I usually drink Lady Grey and straight. Loved your post and will have to try the recipe!

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    1. When I drink hot tea, I go for Constant Comment.

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  7. I am definitely trying the baking soda trick, Shirley! Great post!

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  8. Baking soda. I'm intrigued. Hard to imagine anything so bitter improving the taste but with all your testimonials, I'll have to try it. I grew up drinking iced tea in Texas, and discovered hot tea when we moved north. I'm always sipping on one or the other, depending on the temperature. Thanks for the recipe.

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    1. Beth, it does not alter the taste. Only the color.

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  9. Great post. Thanks!! I love tea and drink it all year long. I usually drink hot tea but love it iced as well. I've tried to drink hot tea without sugar but I just can't do it. I need at least a teaspoon - it enhances the taste to me (although I've heard the reverse). Anyway, I can't wait to try your recipe. ( :

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    1. I can't drink it without sweetner either. I use the subsitutes - Equal. I have two pitchers, one is white, the other is blue. The blue one has sugar in it. The white one, no sugar. So when the kids finish the blue pitcher, they add sugar to the glass and drink the white pitcher which I considered mine.

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