This classic Iced Tea Recipe perfect for the summer, and even easier now that I have my own lemon trees. So easy to make, and cheaper than store bought! It's the perfect cool drink on a lazy hot summers' day.
I Miss Drinking Iced Tea
When we first moved to Australia years ago, I met people had never heard of iced tea before. When it finally arrived, it was a premium product, in 1.5L sized bottles for $4.17. Don't get me started on Snapple which recently graced out shores, at $2.69 for the small bottle. 😳 Yes, the small bottle!!!! So iced tea has failed to take off in Australia in the same way as it has in North America. Mostly due to the greed of the bottling companies who want to market this as a premium drink. Ok, so I'm finished with my rant. Luckily I have 2 lemon trees in my yard, which provides me lemons year round, perfect for making this sweet Iced Tea Recipe.
Making Sweet Iced Tea
Is there any other type? You might be surprised, but yes. In the USA, you sometimes need to specify if you want your iced tea sweetened. I remember the first time I ordered Iced Tea at Jack in the Box, it wasn't the sweetened variety. After my first sip, I spat it out in shock because it wasn't what I expected. But unsweetened lemon tea is a thing, and loved by many. With less sugar, it's probably healthier, but I prefer the sweet version. Homemade Iced Tea isn't as sweet as the store version, unless you make it like that!
How to Make Iced Tea with Lemons
It's surprisingly easy to make, as long as the ratio's you're using are correct. It's so important to use a good quality tea that gives deep color and flavor. If you are using cheap tea bags, you will need to add a few more bags to get the proper flavor. PG Tips or Typhoo are great British teas which I recommend.
You'll need to squeeze about 1 cup of lemon juice from fresh lemons. Trust me, when lemons are in season, you'll have so many, you'll want recipes to use up your lemons! Prepare the black tea bags by steeping them for a few minutes in boiled hot water. You need to use 1 tea bag per cup of hot water.
Remove the tea bags and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. I use a 4 litre jug, which is basically 1 gallon. Pour the sweet tea and lemon juice into the jug, and top it up with cold water. Adjust your sweetness if required and serve over ice. It's so easy to make, I always got the kids to squeeze the lemon juice. They love Iced Tea even now as grownups.
- Use a plain Black Tea. Orange Pekoe doesn't have the right flavor for traditional Iced Tea.
- When removing the tea bags, don't squeeze them to get the 'flavor' out! This releases the bitter tannins and will ruin the taste of your tea.
- Change your tea. I know I just said don't use Orange Pekoe, but there are tons of flavored Black Teas that will make your Iced Tea taste amazing. Mango Tea, Blackcurrant Tea, Raspberry Tea, Peach Tea...
- Add fruit. When serving, add fresh sliced peaches, throw in a few fresh raspberries or strawberries, or even a few slices of lemon. It looks fancier and adds great flavor.
Summer Drinks to Check Out!
- Homemade Blackcurrant Juice
- Non-Alcoholic Pina Colada
- Kompot - Russian Berry Juice
- Russian Cranberry Juice
A Homemade Iced Tea recipe is much tastier and healthier than commercially processed iced tea. Real Tea has antioxidants, and there is no added flavors, and you control the sugar. It'll be hard to go back to Lipton or Nestea after making this refreshing summer drink. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice about 6 lemons
- 4 cups of hot water
- 4 black tea bags
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 gallon jug or 4 litres
- Using a lemon squeezer, press enough lemons to make 1 cup of lemon juice and strain through a sieve to remove pulp and seeds.
- Place hot water in small jug and steep 4 tea bags. Use a quality black tea/orange pekoe tea, such as PG Tips. Allow the tea bags to gently release their flavor.
- Add 1 cup of sugar to the hot tea, and stir until the sugar completely dissolves.
- Put the hot tea mixture and the lemon juice into the 4 litre jug and fill to the top with cold water.
- Sweeten to taste if required, and serve over ice with fresh lemon slices.