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Last Updated on June 6, 2022 by Scott
A refreshing cup of iced tea is the perfect drink to cool you down on hot summer days. The only issue with most iced tea recipes is that they require a lot of sugar to sweeten them, which makes the tea unhealthy (learn more about iced tea vs. sweet tea). However, with loose leaf tea, you can make delicious iced teas without using any sweetener or even resorting to sugar.
In this article, we will look at the best tea leaves for iced tea available on the market to help you choose the right tea leaves. We will also share tips on how to prepare great-tasting iced tea as well as the ingredients needed and the ratio.
Our Best Tea Leaves for Iced Tea Reviews
Best Overall Tea Leaves for Iced Tea: Vahdam Earl Grey Tea
The Vahdam Earl Grey Leaves boasts of giving you more than 200 cups of Imperial tea leaves. The Indian black long leaf tea blends 100% natural bergamot oil from Italy to produce a citrusy and floral brew. You can brew the tea leaves as iced or hot tea and also use them to make Kombucha tea.
The tea has clear citrusy notes and a sweet aroma making it a favorite among tea drinkers. Also, the organic ingredients make the tea appealing to most tea lovers because the tea does not contain any artificial ingredients.
The good thing about Vahdam tea is that it has no caffeine. This can help you to go to a relaxing mood after a tiresome day. Another notable feature is that the tea tastes great on its own, though you can still sweeten it up with stevia and milk.
However, this tea is a bit weaker compared to other loose-leaf types of tea since you may not be able to taste the aroma. The tea comes packaged in sealed Ziploc bags to preserve freshness. The only issue with the resealable design is that after opening the pack, you may struggle to reseal it.
What We Like
- You can consume it without adding sweeteners.
- Perfect for iced and hot drinks
- 100% natural ingredients
- 100% money-back guarantee
- Citrusy and floral tea
What We Don’t Like
- Difficult to reseal the pack
- Weak flavor
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Best Iced Tea Leaves for the Money: Stash Premium Green Tea
The Stash Premium Green Tea is perfect for brewing with a strainer or infuser and comes as a 16-ounce bag. It is also ideal to use to infuse sauces or in baking. The leaves are processed in the traditional Japanese style to preserve the color, fragrance, and flavor of the fresh leaves resulting in sweet green teas.
For delicious flavor, this tea comes packaged in resealable bags to ensure it remains fresh once opened. Some tea drinkers complain that the Stash tea is extremely finely ground, making it difficult to infuse. This also means the tea leaves residue in teacups.
You should know this tea contains caffeine, which some users don’t like. Others find the flavor weak instead of having a strong aroma. However, this is a matter of personal preference that shouldn’t worry you.
One incredible feature of this tea is that its ingredients are Non-GMO verified. This means the tea is healthy and safe for you.
What We Like
- Resealable bag for keeping the tea fresh after being opened
- Great unsweetened or with honey
- Ideal for use with a strainer or infuser
- 16-ounce loose leaf green tea
- Good for cooking
What We Don’t Like
- Has a bitter taste
- Contains some caffeine
- A bit expensive
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Best Cheap Tea Leaves for Iced Tea: Lipton Loose Black Tea
The Lipton Loose Black Tea is a well known, go-to blend that incorporates fresh-pressed tea leaves carefully selected to capture natural tea taste. The tea boasts of real tea leaves blended for iced or hot tea. You can also enjoy this tea as the perfect addition to your meals because it is refreshing and naturally tasty.
Lipton does not compromise on quality as the company sources its tea leaves from their tea plantations and blend them expertly to ensure you enjoy a premium tea experience. The company only uses the most flavorful and youngest leaves to produce high-quality tea.
Additionally, they conduct extensive research at their tea estates to improve cultivation and harvesting practices so that tea drinkers keep enjoying a delicious tea. Lipton tea has a great taste that makes delicious iced teas.
Although some drinkers find the tea less strong, it tastes great with no bitterness even without adding sweeteners. The tea produces a floral and flavorful cup of tea that is sweet. However, it has a weaker flavor, so you may need to use more tea leaves when brewing to make the flavor stronger.
What We Like
- Made with 100% young tea leaves
- Rainforest Alliance Certified
- Fresh-pressed tea leaves
- Low in caffeine
What We Don’t Like
- Weaker flavor
- Lipton is the best loose black tea: delicious & smooth taste combined with intense color and...
- Carefully selected and fresh-pressed tea leaves, capture as much natural tea taste as possible
- Lipton Black Tea is sustainable sourced, made with only 100% Rainforest Alliance certified tea...
Are Tea Bags Good for Iced Tea?
No. The tea they contain is of poor quality, and it does not have enough space to expand inside the teabag. They also cost more compared to loose leaf teas and contain broken leaves and tea dust. This will give you weaker and flavorless teas. The only advantage they have is ease of use.
On the other hand, loose leaf teas have enough room to unfurl and contain whole leaves. Due to this, you get to enjoy more of the essential oils and aroma from the tea leaves. The tea also has a sweet flavor, and you can steep the leaves multiple times, saving you money.
Can You Make Iced Tea Using Loose Leaf Tea?
Cold brewing is the perfect option if you want a drink that has a strong flavor. It is also the best method that will give you a refreshing drink. Cold brewing uses a slower and gentle steeping process that results in delicious tasting teas.
When you use hot water, you release tannins into your drink from the tea leaves. However, with cold water, you won’t release too many tannins and your tea will not have a bitter taste. Another added benefit is that you won’t have to worry about heating water.
This is great when you can’t access a kettle. One issue with cold brewing is that the process requires a longer steeping time. Another drawback that may be an advantage to some tea drinkers is that iced tea contains less caffeine compared to tea brewed in boiling water.
Some tea aficionados may consider this as something good because they can consume more of the cold brewed tea without getting jittery. Others rely on the iced tea to give them an energy boost.
What are the Right Ingredients and Ratio for Delicious Iced Tea?
Tea has only two ingredients: tea leaves and water. So, you should ensure both are high-quality, and the ratio of tea leaves to water is correct. If you want to make standard iced tea, use two teaspoons of loose leaves for each cup of water.
You can adjust the amount of tea, depending on your taste. For instance, use fewer leaves to make your tea weaker and more to have a stronger drink. We recommend using any of the teas on this list. They are the most flavorful teas you will find in stores.
Cold Brewing Tips
- Put your tea leaves in a cup and pour cold water.
- Add ice to keep your drink colder. However, it’s optional since you don’t have to add ice to this kind of tea. It will end up watering it down.
- Use syrup or stevia if you want to add any sweetener. You should avoid sugar and other artificial sweeteners.
- Store the tea up to 24 hours if you have added a sweetener and 3 to 5 days if you have not put any sweeteners.
Steep your loose tea leaves for 6 to 8 hours. Put them in the fridge and let them steep overnight. The flavor will be stronger if you allow your tea leaves to steep longer. Once the steeping time is over, strain the tea leaves and discard them.
Remember to keep the pitcher in the fridge after steeping.
While serving, add your favorite sweetener and some lemon slices. Be sure to add the sweetener to the cup and not to the pitcher when serving. Sweeteners help cut down the shelf-life to 24 hours.
A glass of iced tea prepared from high-quality loose tea leaves won’t leave you sweating during the hottest days. Loose leaves provide the health benefits derived from unprocessed tea like essential nutrients and vitamins, antioxidants, and a boost in energy levels.
The tea is ideal during the summer months. It can also be enjoyed during any other time, especially if you are looking for a fruity tea that is not too strong or bitter with a bolder taste.
Scott is the founder of TeaMinded. He enjoys tasting and discovering teas from across the globe, with green teas and ceremonial matcha from Japan being among his favorites. He’s grateful to be immersed in the tea community, always learning and sharing along the journey.