Tea, Earl Grey — Iced?

In the cooler months, I often drink tea throughout the days, beginning with a eye-opening cuppa English or Irish Breakfast and proceeding through lower-caffeine green or white teas. I like flavored teas, as well: Earl Grey, Lady Grey, tropical green tea, blackberry sage. Most summer mornings I begin in the same fashion, but once it’s hot enough to make a steaming drink unappealing, what to do?

Water is, of course, the default, and ours is delicious, even unfiltered. But sometimes I want a change. Lemonade is always an option, particularly when graced by the tree of a friend with fresh lemons. Often I’ll make hibiscus tea in a quart canning jar, sweeten it to taste, let it cool, and drink it right out of the jar. Today, however, I wanted something a bit classier.

How about a variation on Captain Picard’s iconic “Tea, Earl Grey, hot”?

I embarked upon the adventure by preparing a cup of Earl Grey, only using less water than usual, adding a bit more sweetness and milk* and then ice cubes. The result was both tasty and thirst-quenching. It came with the added benefit of that lingering, perfume-like bergamot aroma.

A second experiment might be to prepare it like Thai iced tea with cream instead of milk, although I am given to understand that sweetened condensed milk is often used, which is an abomination. My larder was devoid of cream, so I used 1% and my usual sweetener.

Notes: * What? You put milk in Earl Grey tea? And you think sweetened condensed milk is an abomination!

Well, yes. I put milk in all black teas. If your stomach lining was in the shape mine is, you’d want the added protection of milk protein. Not only that, I used to be meh about Earl Grey, considering it to be highly overrated, but once I put milk in it, tea-endophins flooded my mind. It might do the same for you.

Sweetened condensed milk is a perfectly acceptable dessert recipe ingredient. Never shall it be introduced into a teacup on my premises. Should you feel otherwise, I await your report on its effect upon otherwise decent tea.

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About Deborah J. Ross

I began writing professionally in 1982 as Deborah Wheeler with Jaydium and Northlight, (and the omnibus edition, Other Doorways: Early Novels), and short stories in Asimov's, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Realms of Fantasy and Star Wars: Tales from Jabba's Palace. Now under my birth name, Ross, I have written an epic fantasy trilogy, The Seven-Petaled Shield. My collection Azkhantian Tales, includes four short stories set in that world. Book View Cafe also offers my nonfiction Ink Dance: Essays on the Writing Life.
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5 Responses to Tea, Earl Grey — Iced?

  1. Cat Kimbriel says:

    I am a huge fan of SuperNatural Kalona heavy cream in coffee; I tend to drink my teas straight. But I no longer drink the flavored teas–they upset me right now. I wonder if the brand of flavored tea has anything to do with that? Now you have me wondering.

    My big favorite currently is roasted kukicha tea, a Japanese twig tea. Satisfies my need for black teas with very low caffeine.

    I had a sip of a Vietnamese coffee made with sweetened condensed milk. My hair stood on end. But if you love coffee and can handle SWEET, it is coffee and dessert both, or so my friends who love it assure me!

  2. I always drink black teas with milk/no sugar (and coffee with cream/no sugar). But I once overdosed on Earl Grey in an all-nighter back in my freshman year of college mumbledy-mumble years ago, and haven’t been able to drink it since. 🙂

  3. Marva Grossman says:

    These I’m cold-brewing tea in a 1-liter jug and refrigerating it. The tea of choice is usually green tea with spearmint – I use two teabags for a liter of water – but I also have tea-less tisanes on hand I want to try. (I have chamomile, melissa (lemon balm) and lemongrass & lemon verbena. I had some wonderful organic peppermint, but I ran out and so did my supplier.)

    Another tea variation, when I want something a little caffeinated, is an Indian-inspired “chai masala” blend with coconut milk (cold from the fridge) instead of milk or cream, and a few ice cubes. I can’t quite break the habit of sweetening black teas, though. I’m trying, but as with coffee, I find that without any added sweetness I just don’t enjoy it.

  4. Deborah says:

    When I was younger, I needed some sugar in my tea, but now I only need it occasionally. Once, in Bath, I ordered a cream tea, and was surprised to have my hot tea with milk — but on a chilly rainy day, that was exactly what I needed. And I had the same burnout with Earl Grey, although I can still drink Lady Grey, which is milder on the bergamot; I just can’t drink it often.

    Online, I patronize the English Tea Store: they have a great brand of tea and carry several British brands, as well as tea equipment. I like their peach, and their raspberry flavored teas. They carry white, green, and roobios, and I think a few others as well.

    When I’m drinking iced tea regularly, I use an English or Irish Breakfast, and I dump 10 tea bags and water into a four-cup Pyrex measure, microwave it, and then strain it into a three-quart pitcher and fill it with cold water. Or I drop the ten bags, plus 2 extra, fill it with cold water, and stick it in the fridge overnight. I find that with both those methods, I almost never get cloudy tea.