Since it is at long last looking and feeling summery for more than 10 minutes at a stretch here in Seattle, it is appropriate to think about iced teas. I do not drink any less hot teas than I do in cooler seasons, but I do like having a pitcher of iced tea ready and waiting in the refrigerator, particularly after a hard Saturday afternoon of hacking invasive plant species to bits in the yard.
Mighty Leaf Tea sent us three of their iced teas to try. I have sampled two of them so far, and the two were very different from each other. I made both using their recommended preparation method:
- fill a gallon pitcher halfway with boiling water
- steep the tea for five minutes
- remove the bag
- fill the rest of the pitcher with ice
- allow to cool in the refrigerator
The first one I tried was the Ginger Peach Iced Tea. I like the flavors of peach, tea and ginger all quite well on their own, but I was a little skeptical of their likelihood of working well in a cold drink. Mighty Leaf’s blend is a 2007 World Tea Expo Award Winner, but it just didn’t speak to me. The flavor is sort of a jumble of semi-fruity flavor with not terribly flavorful black tea. I could not taste even a hint of ginger. I found that if I added an enormous amount of sugar it was a lot more pleasant to drink, but this feels like a masking of true character to me. It may be that this tea necessitates a form of tea drinking that I don’t like personally: cold, heavily sugared, mildly flavored. I imagine that there are other people with tastes more suitable to it.
The other tea, the Classic Black Iced Tea, was a very nice contrast to the first. A robust blend of Indian and Ceylon blacks, it steeped into a round, full-flavored brew that was very enjoyable on its own without the need for any sweetening. I did discover the reason that they suggest removing the tea bag from the pitcher with a ladle. The bags, which are nicely biodegradable, are pretty delicate. I broke one by grabbing it out of the pitcher with cooking chopsticks (which was admittedly not terribly clever of me). But it did not burst open all the way and only a very few leaves fell into the liquor, with no ill effect.
The Classic Black is an excellent choice for a tea made and packaged specifically to be iced. And while it was quite nice unadulterated, I found that it blended quite well with a mid-shelf bourbon on a hot and explosive Independence Day.