Keep Your Cool with Iced Tea and Coffee

BlogHer Original Post

Iced tea and iced coffee are popular options when the weather turns sultry. But there are so many variations on this refreshing theme! Join me for a look at the best way to make iced tea and coffee, and ways to vary them so you're never bored with your caffeinated options.

Iced Tea

Iced Tea

Whether you choose the hot-brew or cold-brew method, Sara Perry of Leite's Culinaria has the recipe you need for the perfect iced tea. This will yield you straightforward, traditional results that are delicious every time.

On his blog, Bryan Picard of The Bite House recalled the first time he had homemade iced tea, which was while he was on a visit to Austin, Texas:

It`s really popular out there. I guess the weather is so warm that a lot people want their caffeine cold. In a couple of Austin restaurants, I was given a choice between water and iced tea. I can’t think of an easier decision.

Bryan shares his recipe for Boosted Iced Tea, which he describes as "the perfect summer nerve-soother." It starts with a traditional iced tea base, but he adds gin for a grown-up kick.

Barbi of Wishful Chef wanted to learn to make Thai iced tea, which is sweetened and made creamy with sweetened condensed milk, at home. She also wanted to lighten it up, and she succeeded in developing a version that doesn't pack the caloric punch of what you'll usually get in a Thai restaurant. She includes both methods in her informative post:

One is more traditional—but also packs in a lot more calories and fat—and for the healthier version, I’ve cut down on the sugar and used whole milk instead of sweetened condensed. Feel free to play around with the ratios and types of dairy, but if you’re trying to replicate the Thai tea you’ve had at restaurants, go for the first recipe.

Here are some more iced tea recipes to try before summer slips away:

Iced Coffee

Like iced tea, iced coffee can be as simple as brewing coffee hot, letting it cool, then serving it over ice. If you like sugar and cream, add them in! Honey? Sure! Or, like Tricia of Making It Feel Like Home, you can add flavored syrups from the grocery store to give your iced coffee a little boost.

I really like the sound of the Mason Jar Iced Coffee posted by Maya of Alaska From Scratch. It's simple to put together, only requires straining before it's ready to drink, and is quite portable for those on the go.

For camping, I made two batches, strained them, and put the Mason jars straight into the ice chest. Then, throughout the weekend, whenever we needed a caffeinated pick-me-up, we just pulled out our iced coffee. When Pastor Alaska and Andy the Intern tried this for the first time at the campsite, they both said, “Wow. What’s in this? How did you do that?” It’s that surprising and that incredible…

If you're looking for something a little fancier, start with some strong coffee as your base, and try your hand at these iced mocha frappes from Amber of Sprinkled with Flour.

These are so quick and easy to make at home, and at a fraction of the cost of buying one. You can customize it any way you want, by adding different syrups and spices. Get creative, and try your own!

Here are some more iced coffee recipes to try:

What's your favorite variation on iced tea or iced coffee? Share your recipe links and techniques in the comments below.

Genie blogs about gardening and food at The Inadvertent Gardener, and tells very short tales at 100 Proof Stories. She is also the Food Section Editor for BlogHer.

Image Credit: Pen Waggener on Flickr, shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.

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