Beat the heat this summer with a tall glass of iced tea. However you like it — sweetened or unsweetened, garnished with a lemon wedge or mixed with lemonade — this popular summer drink is a delicious way to cool off (and there are a ton of benefits to drinking it too). Making your own iced tea at home is easy and cheap, and you can get creative with different flavors.
How to make basic iced tea
To make a concentrated tea base, steep four to six standard-size tea bags (or the equivalent in loose tea) in two cups of freshly-boiled (but not boiling), hot water for up to ten minutes (different types of teas will require different steep times).
Popular teas to use include Earl Grey, oolong, orange pekoe, but feel free to use your favorite tea. The longer you steep the more the bitter the tea will taste. For a stronger flavor, use more tea bags or loose tea. Remove the tea bags when you are done steeping. Dissolve any sweeteners into the brew while it is still hot.
Let your tea cool down to room temperature, transfer the concentrate into a 2-quart pitcher, and dilute with cold water according to taste. Serve with ice, and garnish with a lemon wedge if you'd like!
Popular variations of iced tea
If you're looking to mix up your iced tea routine, try one of these popular takes!
Sweet Tea: There are many ways to make this Southern favorite. Add sugar or simple syrup to the hot tea brew to make a sweetened tea concentrate.
Arnold Palmer: Mix equal parts iced tea and lemonade for a refreshing summer sipper.
Sun Tea: Like regular iced tea but with more mellow flavors, sun tea is made by infusing tea bags in water under the natural heat of sunlight for three to five hours. If you're concerned about bacteria, you can get equally good results by letting the tea bags infuse in your refrigerator for several hours.
Iced tea recipes
Check out our slideshow above to discover eight refreshing iced tea recipes.