As the warmer months are coming, you might find yourself drinking less tea and craving something cooler and more refreshing.

I’m exactly the same and don’t put the kettle on and brew a pot as much, but that doesn’t mean I stop drinking the good stuff!

I just change my method of drinking tea. I’m sure you’ve all heard of, and maybe tried, iced tea. The sweet stuff in a can/bottle, often lemon flavoured and only ever so slightly related to tea. This is not the one, there’s so many better ways to drink cold tea.

Iced tea vs cold brew – as the name suggests, cold brew is brewed from cold. I simply put 3tsp of my tea blend of choice into a 1L bottle, fill with cold water and leave in the fridge overnight or up to 2 days. This allows the tea to fully infuse with the water and gives a beautiful depth of flavour. Iced tea on the other hand is made using a hot brewed tea and then cooled down. I like to make a stronger brew (usually double what I’d use for a pot of hot tea) and then either pop in the fridge or pour over ice to drink immediately. As this uses hot water and is a short, sharp, shock method of brewing, I often add a little sugar to bring out the flavours and take away any bitterness from the tannins that the tea leaves release. The great thing about brewing your own, is you get to decide how much sugar to use, and what type! I often find that all the cordials etc are just so sweet that they don’t appeal to me and aren’t even that refreshing. Cold brew in particular is a great option for me and those who ae trying to reduce their sugar intake.

My favourite blends to drink as iced tea/cold brew are Tropical Punch, Pink Grapefruit, Mango & Apple Black and Jasmine Green – I always think the fruitier blends lend themselves well to being drunk cold, and then you can even put some fresh or frozen fruit in there to jazz it up even further.

Something a little fun to do with the above brew is to pop into a lolly mould and freeze. This means you get a delicious refreshing lolly and also a tea hit too. And if you get some fun mould shapes it makes it even better. A friend of mine bought me some under the sea lolly moulds years ago and I absolutely love them!

Kombucha – this requires a little more work and patience but, in my opinion, is completely worth it. It all starts with the weird and wonderful SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast), this is what makes the magic happen. Kombucha is a fermented product so is full of gut friendly bacteria, and although contains sugar, the majority is used up during the brewing process. I use 2 strong cups of SCOBY, 1 cup sugar and 12 cups tea made with 2tbsp plain tea of choice. I tend to make a tea concentrate in a teapot, add the sugar, let it cool and the strain into my brewing vessel, topping up with cold water. My favourite tea to use is a Green Sencha, but you can use any plain (unflavoured) tea – black, green, oolong or white. Then you just leave until it’s magically transformed into a tart, almost vinegary mixture and most of the sweetness has gone. You can then drink straight away or strain into clip top bottles and flavour with a variety of fruit and herbs for a Second Fermentation and create a little bit (or sometimes a lot) or fizz. The great thing about brewing your own is you get to decide when it’s done! I didn’t think I liked kombucha until I started brewing my own, now I love it! There are some great resources online, and I highly recommend joining one of the many Facebook groups about home brewing kombucha as they’re endlessly helpful with troubleshooting and you can find someone in your local area who can give you some SCOBY to get you started (you can also purchase online from sites such as Amazon). The connection to your kombucha and the end product is so beautiful, and I highly recommend giving it a go.

If you don’t want to commit to brewing your own and nurturing your little SCOBY, I can recommend Zak’s Kombucha and Zambur Ferments (find them in Instagram) who are both local to me in Kent. But there are plenty of great brewers around the country, so I would recommend doing some research and finding one that brews in small batches and doesn’t pasteurise their brews, so they retain all the yummy goodness.

If you have any other unusual ways of drinking tea, I’d love to hear them, so please do send me a message or tag me in any of your social media posts so I can check them out.

Sending you love from my heart to yours,