I just discovered ice-infused tea on the Texas-based Another Tea Blog, an informative and intriguing read, and decided to try my hand at it. It's not so much the heat here today as it is the humidity, and the incongruous prospect of a teapot jammed full of ice cubes is what got me out of bed this morning (yes, I know I need to get out more).
Now, I'm not anywhere near the Mason-Dixon line, but 15 to 20 minutes for the ice to melt and the tea to be ready? No ma'am. I used a dozen ice cubes and about 3 tablespoons of my favorite sencha of the moment, Umegashima.
After a very long hour, it was still quite an ice storm in there, but the grassy aroma of the tea was definitely present:
Two hours later, most of the ice still hadn't melted, but I was getting so antsy that I tried a sip regardless. The flavor was quite delicate, barely green. I then centered the teapot in the square of sunlight that streams in through my skylight in the summer- OK, it was on the floor. But I had the cover on it.
After three hours, I couldn't take it anymore. A peek revealed only one ice cube, stubborning clinging to its frozen state, so I poured a cup.
And oh my.
It tasted of fresh, green, summer light, transformed into a liquid state and tricking down my throat. It was better than jumping into a secluded little lake in Vermont in the middle of August (less leaches, too). One sip, and it felt as though your mouth was just now created in of the garden of Eden.
Verdict: if you're in a hurry or have one of those pesky office jobs, three hours certainly is better than nine- you could fill a pot with ice when you arrive at work in the morning, set it on your desk and forget about it until lunch.
And although the leaves are left loose in the pot, overbrewing isn't a danger, no matter where you make this true ice tea. In fact, I just finished the pot and can now refill with water, stick in my fridge, and let it wait patiently for me to return from my first summer cookout tonight (armed with Italian guacamole, thank you for asking).
I guess everything really is bigger in Texas, including the sun.