by Lori Way, MS, RD
A good friend recently asked me a question about making iced tea, and it occurred to me that others may have the same question. She usually makes her iced tea with our Cinnamon Orange Spice tea, but the other day made it with Yorkshire Gold. She used the same method as with Cinnamon Orange Spice, which always turns out great, but the Yorkshire Gold turned out unpleasantly strong. She wondered what she had done wrong. The answer is in the leaves. Yorkshire Gold is a very fine cut tea; Cinnamon Orange Spice is not. The smaller tea particles have greater contact with the water, so whether you’re making hot or cold tea, it will brew more quickly than full leaf tea. Your options are to shorten the brewing time and/or use a smaller quantity of tea leaves. I always like to try using fewer leaves first since it’s nice not to waste leaves.
She also mentioned that the Yorkshire Gold became quite cloudy, while the Cinnamon Orange Spice does not. While the common remedy for this is to let the tea cool to room temperature before refrigerating, it could also be due to either the hardness of your water or the type of tea you’re brewing. Calcium and magnesium in hard water react with the theoflavins and theorubigens in black tea forming an insoluble precipitate that is most visible when the tea cools. However, not all clouding is due to hard water. Some teas have a tendency to “cream down” (as it is called) more than others. Assam teas from India are well-known for this trait. To see if your tea is cloudy due to hard water or not, brew a cup with distilled water and compare to your regular water. In the case of my friend, I conclude that since her Cinnamon Orange Spice does not cloud, and she did not alter her brewing method, the cause is the Yorkshire Gold tea itself, which does contain Assam.