June is here and this month we are celebrating National Iced Tea Month! Whether you are sitting by the pool, playing a game of catch in the backyard, or simply enjoying a family-filled day at home, iced tea is a refreshing drink to help cool off during the hot summer. A healthy glass of iced tea makes for a great family-friendly option at any summer barbeque, picnic, or weeknight dinner.
Although there are many different tea flavor combinations to create, there are four unique tea profiles to choose from for your next batch of iced tea: green, black, oolong, or herbal tea.
- Green tea offers a very low caffeine level, making it a great option for kids! The low caffeine levels come from cooking the tea and oxidizing it for a very short amount of time, which results in a very subtle-sweet taste. Examples of green teas include, hojicha, Japanese rice/ genmaicha, matcha, and jasmine.
- Black tea provides high levels of caffeine as it is fully oxidized before it is cooked and dried. With a strong smoky and nutty taste, this tea is great for those who enjoy the bitter taste of coffee. Examples of black teas include, earl grey, assam, lychee, English breakfast, ceylon, and toffee.
- Oolong tea presents a floral flavor profile and is typically partially oxidized, which creates a mild caffeine level in between black and green teas. Examples of oolong teas include roasted oolong, high mountain, Osmanthus oolong, and phoenix oolong.
- Herbal tea is caffeine-free and are created from the roots, leaves, or flowers of variety of different. For example, chamomile tea is made using the chamomile flower, and peppermint tea is created by brewing mint leaves.
Tea may also have health benefits when consumed in moderation. Teas can provide a natural compound called polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, which may reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease and some cancers.
Due to the wide variety and flavors of tea, there is sure to be something for everyone in the family! Take the afternoon to try making some delicious iced teas such as the recipes below:
- Make it fruity: try pairing ceylon black tea with fresh strawberry and orange slices, Osmanthus oolong tea with peach slices and basil leaves, or hibiscus herbal tea with blackberries.
- Make it tart: try matching your favorite green tea with 100% grapefruit juice or black tea with lemon slices, frozen tart cherries, and mint leaves.
- Make it creamy: try partnering jasmine green tea with almond or oat milk for an afternoon pick-me-up or English breakfast with cream for a morning cup to start the day off right.
The next time you’re doing your favorite summer activity, where it’s playing a sports game at the local park or running around in your backyard, make it extra refreshing with your favorite iced tea creation. Everyone is sure to have a fun time experimenting with new flavors and trying different types of teas. For another iced tea recipe to refresh your summer, try this green tea with fresh mint from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics webpage.