Learn how to make herbal iced tea with fresh garden herbs. I love growing and using fresh or dried herbs for hot tea, but I also love using fresh herbs to make light and refreshing herbal iced tea. Keep reading for the how to.
How to Brew Herbal Iced Tea
Here’s the general process I use for making iced tea with garden herbs. Read here for brewing hot herbal tea.
- Boil water (100°C/212°F).
- Gently rub fresh herbs between fingers or palms to start releasing aroma.
- Place 1/4 cup of fresh herbs per 1 cup of hot water in a glass pitcher.
- Pour boiling water over herbs.
- Cover and steep for 20* minutes. Brew extra strong so flavour will be vibrant when adding ice.
- Remove herbs and if desired, sweeten tea, with sugar, honey or other sweeteners so it will dissolve. Otherwise, use simple syrup to sweeten when tea is cold.
- Cool for 2 hours on counter then refrigerate to keep cool. Store in fridge for 5-7 days.
- Pour over ice and enjoy.
**Most garden herbs can be steeped for a long time, but some herbs release a bitter flavour if steeped too long. Only steep chamomile, lavender, rosemary, rose, orange/lemon peel for 3 minutes or alternatively steep in cold water overnight (cold water will not cause bitterness).
Tips & Options for Making Herbal Iced Teas
- Muddle (gently rub, bruise or crush) fresh herbs to release their essential oils. Don’t crush too hard though, otherwise you’ll release the green chlorophyll which can leave a bitter taste.
- Choose one type of herb for your tea or use a combination. You could even add flower petals or spices like cinnamon or ginger to your tea.
- Don’t expect bright vibrant colours like you get with commercial herbal teas unless you add ingredients like hibiscus, calendula or blue butterfly pea blossoms to your herbal tea mix.
- Consider adding black, green or oolong tea to the mix. I use 1 tea bag or 1 teaspoon loose leaf tea for every 2 cups of water.
How To Sweeten Herbal Iced Teas
If you wish to sweeten your iced tea here are three options:
- Add fresh stevia leaves with herbs and brew together. Stevia, also known as the sugar plant, will add a natural sweetness to your tea. It does have a unique flavour, so test it out and see if you like it before serving to guests.
- Add sweeteners that need to be dissolved like sugar or honey after brewing but while tea is still hot.
- Add simple syrup or other sweeteners that easily mix in cold liquid just before serving.
Favourite Herbs for Iced Tea
Here are the herbs I enjoy most for Iced Tea. Also read my post on Top 9 Herbs to Grow for Tea to see which herbs I enjoy growing for tea in my Canadian prairie garden rated to Zone3.
Hyssop – a lovely scent good for the heart, digestive system and for promoting sleep
Rosemary – stimulates circulation to soothe aches and pains, helps clear congestion and boosts mood and memory
Spearmint or Mojito Mint – great for soothing digestive issues
Apple Mint & Other Fruit Mints – mild mint with unique aromas and flavor good for digestion
Lemon Balm – helps clear the mind and lift spirits
Lemon Verbena – rejuvenating fresh scent helpful for indigestions, cramps and nausea
Lemon Grass – great flavor with properties to boost immune system * love this with ginger
Lemon Thyme – light lemony flavor beneficial for digestive system and colds
Thyme – helps with cramps and coughs
Stevia – the “sugar plant”, a natural sweetener for your tea
A Word of Caution about Herbs for Tea
All plants have properties in them that may cause allergies or undesirable side effects, especially if taken in large doses. The herbs for tea mentioned in this article are intended to be enjoyed as an occasional cup of tea now and then. Anyone intending to consume more than an occasional cup for pleasure should do more research about each individual herb and talk to their medical practitioner. This is particularly true for young children, pregnant women, anyone on medication or anyone with a chronic disease.
I would love to hear your experience with brewing your own herbal iced tea. Do you have a favorite flavor? Leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram at #getgettys or Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.
Getty Stewart is an engaging speaker and writer providing tasty recipes, time-saving tips, and helpful kitchen ideas to make home cooking easy and enjoyable. She is a Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener.