Green Kitchen: Brewing Iced Tea

| 6/15/2009 3:06:17 PM

One of my favorite parts of summer is sitting down after a long day with a good book and a cold glass of iced tea. Sweetened or unsweetened, iced tea is not only a refreshing drink for a hot day, but it also has a variety of health benefits and is much better for you than soda.

Tea leaves come from the Camellia sinensis plant, of which there are three varieties: China, India (or Assam), and a hybrid of the two. The more commonly known differentiations, white, green, oolong, and black, actually refer to the way the leaves are processed after they have been harvested.

Tea leaves
Drying tea leaves. Photo by Shazari/ Courtesy Flickr

• White tea is the least processed kind of tea and thus has the lowest amounts of caffeine and the highest antioxidants. Because these leaves are not allowed to oxidize they have a very mild and subtle taste.

• Green tea is the next lowest in caffeine and is also high in antioxidants. The leaves are either steamed or pan-fried to stop the oxidation process, and often have grassy or floral tastes.

• Oolong teas generally run the spectrum between green and black teas. They are partially oxidized which gives them a slightly stronger, smooth taste.

9/3/2013 9:54:59 AM

I recently "discovered" two cans of tea I purchased 2o years ago in Harrod's tea hall while on a trip to London. I wonder if they would still be viable and safe to brew and drink. I am willing to try them but thought I should solicit the advice of others first. I am looking forward to your suggestions. I cannot recall all of the names given to the blends by the store but one had the word "gunpowder" associated with it per my memory. Jan