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Everyday Cheapskate: How to Make Proper Iced Tea, According to My Mother-In-Law

Mary Hunt on

The only thing more comforting than a tall glass of iced tea on a hot summer day is knowing how to make that perfect iced tea yourself with confidence -- for just pennies per serving.

My mother-in-law, a proud Canadian, taught me the difference between proper iced tea and the "swill" most restaurants pour, which in her opinion was, at best, a very poor facsimile. Trust me, she knew her stuff -- including the six rules for proper iced tea:

RULE NO. 1: USE PLENTY OF TEA

The flavor of tea served cold is not as intense as when served hot. That means it must be brewed stronger, so use more tea bags. Her ratio: Use two regular-size tea bags for every three cups of water.

RULE NO. 2: DO NOT OVER-STEEP

Allowing the tea to over-steep releases the tannins in the tea, which can make it bitter. If you want it weaker, reduce the steeping time, not the number of tea bags.

 

RULE NO. 3: COOL FIRST

Once you remove the tea bags, allow the tea to cool before you pour it over ice, but do not put it in the refrigerator. Doing so will make your tea cloudy.

RULE NO. 4: DO NOT ADD SUGAR TO ICE-COLD TEA

If you prefer your tea sweet, add the sugar to the hot water so it dissolves first before introducing ice. If your guests prefer to sweeten after the ice is added, provide simple syrup rather than granulated sugar.

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