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Best Iced Tea for Your Tastebuds

For many Eastern cultures, hot tea has been the beverage of choice for centuries. It’s served to young and old alike. The British celebrate the formality and tradition of sitting down to a proper High Tea, with scones, crumpets, and clotted cream. In America, we really like our tea served cold.

According to the Tea Association of the USA, 85% of all tea consumed in the United States is iced tea. Go to any restaurant, from fast food chains to fine dining, iced tea most likely will be offered as a beverage option on the menu. Some eateries have even created their own brew blends.

As iced tea grew in popularity, many beverage companies got into the tea act, too. Since the 1980s you can grab a bottle of iced tea from store shelves or vending machines whenever the mood strikes you. Or mix up your own. Add a scoop of powdered tea from a container to a glass of water, or pour in a pre-measured packet to a bottle of water, then stir or shake, and drink up.

Americans like this convenience. The Tea Association reports that these ready-to-drink varieties accounted for a quarter of all tea consumed in the United States in 2012 and more than $4 billion.

Good for you

Caffeinated or herbal, just about any tea can be served cold. Brew it in the sun or with an electric tea maker, anytime you add ice, it becomes that summertime favorite while maintaining all the health benefits of the hot version.

• Low in calories

On its own, tea lacks fat or sugar.

• Flavonoids

These are naturally occurring compounds thought to fight free radicals, which are associated with chronic diseases. Also, recent research suggests flavonoids boost one’s metabolism, and that means more effective calorie burns.

• Stress breaker

Green tea in particular is believed to help people keep their calm in stressful situations as well as promote activity in the regions of the brain responsible for concentration and problem solving.

Favorite flavors

Teas today cater to everyone’s palate. Interestingly, there are some regional characteristics associated with preparing iced tea. For example, in the South, sweet tea is a perennial favorite. The traditional method is to add sugar during the brewing process.

Elsewhere, tea drinkers like to add citrus. Lemon is common just about everywhere, but in the Southwest lime is equally popular. In other areas, depending on what’s in season, some people like to sip on tea flavored by peaches or raspberries.

Of course, there’s also the combination of lemonade and tea made famous by legendary golfer Arnold Palmer.

With so many choices available, you can really experiment with what flavor combos and brewing methods you like for the best iced tea.

Best Iced Teas

Luzianne Specially Blended for Iced Tea, Family Size, 48-Count Tea Bags (Pack of 6)

Luzianne tea has been the brand of choice throughout the South for more than 100 years. If you want to get a taste of true sweet tea, then try its version specially blended for iced tea.

MSRP: $29.69

Lipton Iced Tea, 48 Count Gallon Size Tea Bags
One of the best-known brands in teas has made brewing a pitcher of iced tea even easier with larger tea bags. Just 1 bag per pitcher. No counting. No measuring. It’s that simple.

MSRP: $11.96

AriZona Arnold Palmer Half and Half 1.2-ounces box (pack of 6)

If you like the pairing of iced tea and lemonade, but may not have the time to brew up a batch of your own, then grab a pre-mixed packet of the Arnold Palmer Half & Half Powder Stix. Pour it into a bottle of water, shake it up, then you’re good to go in a matter of minutes.

MSRP: $17.73

Celestial Seasonings Ice Cool Brew Iced Tea, peach, 40 count

How do you dress up black tea? Throw in a little peach flavor enhanced by a hint of hibiscus and a touch of orange. The kosher certified, all-natural ingredients blend together in a cold-water brewing process to provide you a quick, refreshing quencher.

MSRP: $17.45