Saturday, April 25, 2009

(almost) Guilt Free Sweet Tea

Recently I read that 80% of the caffeine in tea is released in the first 30 seconds of brewing, and that pouring off that initial tea, adding fresh water and brewing for 30 seconds longer will result in tea that is 80% lower in caffeine! "Perfect, I thought! I know caffeine isn't good for me, and I had been feeling a bit badly that I just don't like iced tea as well without at least a bit of caffeine in it! I'll try that with my Sweet Tea recipe and see how it turns out!" If you know me at all, you know I really like Sweet Iced Tea with Lemon - fresh wedges of lemon are best, but a splash of Real Lemon will do in a pinch. But I'm a bit fussy - I like it just so, don't you know - at least when I'm making it at home.

I cannot tolerate any artificial sweeteners, I don't think they are good for you anyway. I have tried to like the healthy alternatives, but agave, stevia, sucanat, and raw honey all 'flavor' the iced tea too much for my taste! They work fine for most baking and canning, and even in hot tea, but just don't mess with my Sweet Iced Tea! So, I stick with organic cane sugar and have reduced the amount as much as is palatable enough to be still 'Sweet Tea'. We sure are a sweet tooth society - and I am as bad as anyone. The figures are staggering - in 2003, each person consumed about 142 pounds of refined sugar per year in this country! Whew! We should be the most energized nation in the world!

Anyway - I messed with my tried and true formula and found an added benefit - no 'sharp' or 'bitter' edge to my tea - which means a smidgen less sugar and I'm happy as can be!

P.G. Tips tea is available in the International isle of our Meijer, and also online.

Sweet Iced Tea - with a 80% less caffeine

I used 4 bags of PG Tips regular black tea in my 8 cup teapot with freshly boiled water from my electric kettle. I poured 1 cup of boiling water over the tea bags and let it steep for 30 seconds. I poured off the water and reserved it to cool for watering my seedlings.

I poured 8 cups of fresh boiling water over the tea and let is steep on low heat for 20 minutes. I removed the tea bags and used 3/4 cup organic cane sugar to sweeten the tea, stirring until it was completely dissolved and allowed this to cool. Serve over ice, and don't forget the lemon wedge!

By the way, if you boil water for tea and other things as often as I do, I would recommend this handy kitchen tool - electric kettles are wonderfully quick and efficient.

It's nice and warm now, but way too breezy to spray paint those wicker chairs, but I'm certain that as soon as the porch is set up comfortably, I'll be enjoying a tall glass or two ( that's my limit!) of sweet iced tea! Come over and join me!

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  1. I'd love to come join you for sweet tea! That would be so fun! What a great tip! Thanks.

    All the best,

  2. can I have the first fruits or first pouring off please?

    I don't really like over-steeped tea at all - I find it bitter. Or at least in the church-ladies' production and at restaurants.

    KLRB made some iced tea concentrate with some cherry-flavored tea which I understand was super delicious. She has also made it from strawberry teas, and peach. Key word: experiment to find what you enjoy.

    Have a blessed Sunday, IF you are able to get out and enjoy the day.

    Colds are no fun at all.

    Love Ya !!!


  3. I love the PG Tips for iced tea, too. I'm not a big black tea drinker but it makes a very good iced tea.

    Of course, I have to use Splenda. I tried Stevia but I found it bitter.

    My mother-in-law used to make iced tea sweet by adding a frozen juice concentrate with very strong tea. It was delicious.

  4. I LOVE iced tea, but not true southern sweet tea!! I like some sugar, but sweet tea is like drinking sugar to my palate. I'm so glad you found a way to enjoy your tea!!

    I feel the same way about my coffee, but have been caffeine free for awhile because of a mitral valve heart thingy!!

    Have a joyful Sunday!!,

  5. I would just love to join you for sweet tea - it's my favorite! I'll bring the dessert! :)
    Thanks for the great tip and please pass the FRESH lemons. (I bought a bunch on sale this week - I love them! )


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