I’m a tea kinda gal as you all know, and as comforting as a cup of tea is at any time of the day, this time of year there are days when it’s just too darn hot to even think about boiling a kettle.
And that’s when it’s time to think about iced tea. I love the iced passion tea lemonade that Starbucks makes but, let’s face it, Starbucks fancy drinks are expensive. And loaded with a lot more calories than you probably need. I drink their passion tea hot during the winter and I can tell you, it takes a LOT of honey before it’s even remotely as sweet as the iced version.
So I decided to make my own version. Ok, when I say my own version, let me clarify that this tastes nothing like the Starbucks version! It’s a different type of tea, for one thing, and it’s nowhere near as sweet and it’s much more lemony.
For the base I used one of my absolute favourites – Provence tea. It’s a Rooibos blend that contains rosehip, dried black currants, rose petals, lavender, raisins, dried red currants, rose leaves, and dried blueberries. It’s quite expensive so I ration it out sparingly, but I love it, as much for the smell as for the flavour. It comes from a small tea shop in my hometown, Courtenay, on Vancouver Island, called Tea Centre.
They describe it as:
The combination of fruits, flowers and herbs in this blend make it truly unique. The softness of the lavender and rose petals is complemented by the sweet freshness of the black currants, red currants and raisins.
The flavour of Provence is very smooth, almost creamy with a lingering sweet, fruity note.
It’s caffeine free so it’s one that I like to drink in the evening or, when I’m not feeling so hot. I add a shot of lemon and honey and it’s nice for a sore throat and the scent is fruity and floral, just as you would expect from the description.
So, I thought it would make an excellent sweentened iced tea, perfect for summer! I whipped up a pitcher full and poured it out 3 parts tea to one part lemonade. It was perfectly refreshing and cold and… unlike commercial iced teas, I get to control the sweetness!
And here is is… the simplest recipe to ever appear on this blog. If you can boil water, you can make your own sweet tea!
- Provence loose tea (or your own choice of tea) - enough for 4 cups (about 4 teaspoons for this particular tea
- 4 cups of boiling water
- 1 lemon cut in half and thinly sliced
- sugar to taste
- warm a teapot by filling it with hot water - let it sit while you boil the water in the kettle
- fill a tea strainer with the loose tea and rest it in the teapot (remove the hot water warming the tea pot first!)
- pour the boiling water over the leaves and let it steep till it reaches the desired strength - I find with this tea that takes a good ten minutes for the real fruity taste to come through
- when it's finished steeping, pour the tea into a pitcher and discard the leaves
- stir in the sugar while it's still hot so it dissolves well. My general rule of thumb for my taste is one teaspooon of sugar or honey per cup but I don't like my tea overly sweet
- let the tea stand on the counter for 30 minutes and then add the sliced lemons into the pitcher and refrigerate
- leave the lemons in for at least a couple of hours before removing them. You can still drink the tea before you remove them - it just won't be as lemony!
- pour into a glass over ice till it's ¾ full. fill the remainder of the glass with cold lemonade
- go sit outside and put your feet up and read a book
Tea Centre is located in Courtenay, BC but they do provide a handy mail order service. Once my current batch of Provence runs out, I’ll either use it as an excuse to hop over to Vancouver Island for a day and browse their shop, or I’ll get adventurous and try ordering a few new to me blends through their mail order service!
In the meantime, you can find me on my patio, sipping some tea with my dog at my feet and a book in my lap!