The 7 Best Iced Tea Makers
- no-spill pouring lip
- easy to take apart and clean
- handle is too thin
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
- auto shutoff when brewing is done
- power indicator light
- takes two cycles to fill pitcher
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
- bpa-free plastic
- scratch- and stain-resistant
- not for use with boiling water
|Brand||The Republic of Tea|
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
- convenient drip tray
- good solid construction
- not dishwasher safe
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
- available in three colors
- recipe book included
- takes up a lot of fridge space
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
- airtight lid keeps the tea fresh
- use with loose leaf or tea bags
- choose from 4 lid colors
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
- durable schott glass kettle
- bright lcd screen
- convenient auto start feature
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
Fresh and Cold: The Iced Tea Maker
Making a proper serving of iced tea is more of an involved process than one might think at first blush. There is more to it than simply chilling hot tea, after all: that usually results in nothing more than a watered-down beverage when brewed hot tea is cooled with ice. Or at best, in many cases, it requires patience and/or prior planning as you brew a pot of regular hot tea and then refrigerate it for several hours until it is cooled.
If you and your friends and family truly enjoy and regularly consume iced tea, then buying a dedicated iced tea maker is a fine idea. These devices not only will consistently produce better-tasting iced teas than you can hope to make by pouring cups of hot tea over ice, but will also end up saving you a great deal of money in the long run if you previously purchase ready-made iced teas. They will also help you to produce the healthiest and best-tasting teas, as most such units can use fresh loose tea leaves and extract the maximum possible nutrients and flavor. Now you simply have to choose which iced tea maker is best for your needs.
The first consideration to make is also the simplest: just ask yourself how much iced tea you actually need to brew up at any given time. If you regularly host BBQs, picnics, or parties where iced tea is served, it makes sense to invest in a larger device that comes complete with a serving carafe or pitcher with a multiple-quart capacity. If you usually brew iced tea only for yourself, then one of these units will not be worth your initial investment and will also end up wasting tea (and water) as you inevitable brew more beverage than you need.
For making individual batches of iced tea, there are several options available that are both brewing system and drinking vessel in one. These are ideal for the person who is regularly on the go or who simply wants to maximize their efficiency in terms of storage space at home or at the office. A standard size for these smaller portions is one quart of brewed tea per use. While 32 ounces of tea might seem a large portion at first, keep in mind that that's the exact same size as found in many sports beverage bottles.
Finally, consider whether or not you want an iced tea maker that plugs in and uses an electric refrigeration system to produce its chilled tea or one that uses carefully measured portions of ice and water in the brewing process. The former tend to be more efficient and a bit more precise, while the latter can be used anywhere you have access to a freezer or a cooler filled with ice.
Choosing the Right Tea for You
Tea is prized for it flavor, its health benefits, and for having less caffeine than coffee but still delivering a bit of pickup to its drinker. (For reference, an average cup of coffee's caffeine content is considered to be around 200 milligrams of caffeine per eight ounce serving.)
If you are seeking a healthily-caffeinated tea, choose a traditional black tea such as an English Breakfast or Earl Gray variety. Most black teas, when properly brewed (whether for hot or iced tea, of course), render a beverage with around seventy-five milligrams of caffeine per serving; longer steeping can increase this content slightly. Most green tea will produce approximately fifty milligrams of caffeine per eight ounce portion.
Black tea is prized for its bold flavor and blends readily with lemon, sugar, honey, dairy, and other additions. It makes a rich and refreshing iced beverage perfect to accompany a meal. Green tea is more delicate in flavor, pairing well with fruits like blueberry or blackberry, and is ideal enjoyed on its own in iced form. Try a cup or two of iced green tea during the workday keep yourself alert and focused.
The major types of tea, beyond black and green, are white tea, which has a light and tender floral profile (and caffeine comparable to green tea), ceylon tea, which is dark and rich and packs an energizing jolt even stronger than most black teas, and whole line of herbal teas that are, technically speaking, herbs and spices and not true tea at all; tea must be produced from the leaves of a Camelia sinensis shrub. Thus while many beverages are referred to as tea, such as hibiscus tea and, most notably, perhaps, chamomile tea, these are in fact herbal beverages. That said, they taste great, are prepared just the same as "true" tea whether you are brewing hot or cold concoctions, and should absolutely be enjoyed at will.
Iced Tea: A Global Beverage
After water itself, tea is the most popular beverage in the world. In 2015 alone, experts estimate that a staggering 11.7 billion pounds of teas was produced, which represents a doubling in global production over the past two decades (a time during which the world population has grown, but not nearly doubled). Turkey leads the world in per person consumption, with each Turkish citizen using more than 16.5 pounds of tea per year, or enough for between five and ten cups of tea per tea drinker per day.
Most tea is consumed hot, but iced tea has gained in popularity in recent years, especially in markets where hot tea has not long been a traditional beverage. In the United States, as many as 50% of the population may sip tea on any given day, and iced tea accounts for 85% of all tea consumed in America. While North America is currently an anomaly in this regard, world tea tastes are changing.
According to one industry study, global iced tea consumption is likely to rise by almost 4.5% each year in the near future. In 2015, some 35 billion liters (or 9.2 billion gallons) of iced tea were drank around the world. Ready-to-drink (a.k.a bottled, boxed, or canned) iced tea has led much of the growth in consumption, but many people are turning to self-brewed iced teas as well, especially as the hazards of the high levels of sugar usually added to ready-made beverages are made ever clearer by health experts.