Conjure a cup of tea in your head for a moment, and we can almost guarantee you’re thinking of a piping hot beverage in a cute little teacup. But in 2022, it’s all about expanding our image of tea. And in the summer, that image is poured over ice.
In the hotter months, loose-leaf tea, cold-brewed (instructions on how to do that here!), transforms the classic comfort beverage into something entirely different: refreshing, crisp, cool and smooth. With iced tea, you still get all the benefits (and it’s still easy to make), but with a wholly unique, summer-friendly drinking experience. While a certain type of iced tea is most famous and prominent in the U.S. (hint: it’s coming up below), iced tea is in fact a mainstay around the world (yes, usually wherever it gets hot), granted, in very different forms.
As temps rise, we may favor the types we’re more familiar with, or we may want to try a new flavor profile to change it up poolside or on the patio. From one tea tradition to the next, we’re hopping the border to transport you to the most interesting iced tea favorites around the globe:
Sweet tea, popularized in the American South, has been de rigueur stateside for hundreds of years. Although the version we know today has a black tea base (thanks to our mother country’s major import during Colonial days), original versions documented used green tea as well, plus lemon, mint and white granulated sugar. A preference for black tea took hold eventually due to cost efficiency. Punch versions included fresh fruit. Later, during Prohibition, sweet tea served as one of the main alternatives to alcohol. The drink remains popular today, bottled or fresh, served in a tall glass. To complement fresh lemon, cold-brew yours with our Organic Assam black tea (try a modern recipe here!).
In Brazil, iced tea is often made from mate, alternatively called cimarrón. Made from the Yerba Mate plant native to South America, this beverage is slightly bitter and strongly caffeinated, making it ideal for warm, dewy mornings. Heavenly Tea Leaves has an Organic Energizer blend that combines mate with the best and most delicious ingredients for some pep in your step.
Hibiscus tea (also known as Agua De Jamaica) is the name of the game in Mexico, where drinks derived from the lovely flower are omnipresent, from cocktails to mocktails and everything in between. Given most of the country’s super hot and dry climate, this herbal, caffeine-free tea is enjoyed cold year-round, often before a meal, and has a lovely deep pink color in addition to its pleasantly tart flavor.
You guessed it: Green tea on ice is the favored warm-weather beverage of the Japanese, where this type of vegetal, antioxidant-rich tea grows in abundance and is deep-rooted in the culture. Since green tea is extra-sensitive to heat, preparing it cold ensures it keeps its unique properties and health benefits intact. Koridashi is a famous Japanese method for cold brewing iced tea by allowing ice cubes to melt over the tea leaves. Try cold-brewing Heavenly Tea Leaves’ Organic Gyokuro for a naturally sweet twist.
There’s nothing like the heat of a South African summer, or some rooibos iced tea to beat it. Rooibos, which actually comes from the African redbush plant, is delicious in iced tea form thanks to its robust, nutty taste. Our Organic Rooibos Orange blend adds a citrusy flair to a very satisfying summer option. As a bonus, you can drink this tea from dawn to dusk, since it’s naturally caffeine-free.
Known as the national drink of this sweltering South Pacific nation, teh tarik, or “pulled tea,” is made with condensed milk and is sort of a riff on Indian chai, another Heavenly Tea Leaves favorite. To make this frothy iced tea, use cold-brewed tea (traditionally Ceylon, but you can use any loose-leaf black tea from Heavenly Tea Leaves for this one) as a base and combine with condensed milk for creaminess and sweetness, plus a pinch of salt for balance!
Getting chilly? It’s all the iced tea talk…and we’re here for it. Whether you prefer your cold summer drink tart, creamy, sweet, floral, or earthy, there’s a tea tradition somewhere around the world that’s calling your name. Iced tea is a great way to enjoy the holistic benefits of tea in a non-traditional way, and without breaking a sweat, literally. Now, the only question that remains is when you’re going to get started on your cold brew!