Trust a Queenslander to know what to drink when the Australian summer gets cranking. Jacqui Toumbas runs Brisbane cafe, Miss Bliss Wholefoods Kitchen and believes she has the perfect fix for your summer thirst: iced tea.
“It’s such a thirst quencher,” she says. “Chuck everything in a bottle, fill it with water and you’re done.”
Toumbas sat down with us to share her iced tea recipe, along with some tips for making your own at home.
Pick Your Tea Toumbas says it’s a pretty simple method – the hardest part will be choosing which tea to use as your base. Her favourite is the “Foraging for Berries” blend from Sydney’s T Totaler, available online. “It’s one of the best teas I’ve used,” she says. “It has pieces of dried fruit in it and it’s just amazing.”
While you can also use a plain green tea, Toumbas reckons it won’t carry the same punch of flavour as a fruity variety – something she believes is essential to crafting the perfect summer pitcher.
Whack it in a Bottle The next step is dead simple: grab a jar or vessel, pop in your tea, a piece of orange rind and a handful of basil leaves and add water. That’s it. Once done, it’s simply a matter of sealing the bottle or jar and popping it in the fridge overnight. “It’s really a five minute job — chuck it all in a bottle, in the fridge and you’re set,” Toumbas says.
A common misconception is that you need hot water to initially brew your tea before letting it cool in the refrigerator. Toumbas says this isn’t the case. Cold tap water produces a superior result. “You’ll get a better flavour and you won’t get that tartness that you get once tea cools,” she says.
Serve and Enjoy Simply pour through a strainer into a glass over ice, and top with a dash of sparkling mineral water to taste. Then add a slice of orange and some basil leaves as garnish and you’re ready to enjoy.
While people might be reaching for prepackaged drinks in the refrigerator this summer, Toumbas says that once they know how easy it is to make your own iced tea, it’s not only an easier choice but also healthier. “It’s refined sugar-free. The sweetness comes from the basil and the orange and the tea,” she says.
Perfect for sharing at a summer barbeque, the tea can be served in a large glass canister or drink dispenser, in the style of punch. Add some fruit for flavour and decoration.
“Play around with the fruits you want to add: lemon, lime, anything citrus – it’s perfect for summer,” she says.
Miss Bliss Iced Tea (Makes 1.5 litres)
Ingredients ½ cup T Totaler “Foraging for Berries” tea Slice of orange peel 3–4 basil leaves 1.5L tap water Sparkling water, to taste
Method Place tea, orange peel and basil leaves in a jar. Fill with water. Put into fridge and leave overnight. Pour brewed tea into a glass through strainer, top with a dash of sparkling water for taste. Serve with fresh basil leaves and a slice of orange. Note: Brewed tea can be kept in the fridge for up to a week, just remove the tea leaves and the orange rind.