Tea Time: Celebrate National Iced Tea Day
If warmer temps aren’t reason enough to toss some ice cubes in with your tea bag, then perhaps National Iced Tea Day is. With so many interesting and exotic leaves available from the far reaches of the globe, today’s iced teas bring health benefits that have been relied on for centuries. Here are four good-for-you varieties to try in honor of National Iced Tea Day. Even tea, however, should be enjoyed in moderation!
Many medicinal benefits have been linked to green tea over the years. This 4,000-year-old caffeinated tea has been believed to have cancer-fighting properties, guard against cardiovascular disease, provide mental acuity and act as a fountain of youth. It was even fabled to be the elixir that resurrected a Japanese official from his deathbed in the 13 th century. More recent and scientific research has shown that green tea may help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, and aid digestion — all good reasons to continue to drink it cold through the summer months. Grab a bottle of Noyu’s Samurai Pure Green or Plan Tea’s Green Tea sweetened with a touch of organic honey. Honest Tea also has an unsweetened one, called “Just” Green Tea, that is nice.
Matcha is also a caffeinated green tea that has similar healing properties as the traditional variety, yet it is not produced or sourced the same way. Rather, tea leaves used to make matcha are shade-grown and then processed into powder, resulting in a unique flavor profile, a frothy texture and an entirely different-looking beverage. Its bright green appearance is evidence of the presence of polyphenols — believed to help slow cancer growth, help manage blood pressure and help regulate blood sugar. Want to get your hands on this elixir? New Yorkers are lucky to have a new matcha-centric shop in Brooklyn, aptly named Matcha Bar, where matcha is served over ice. If you’re not heading to the Big Apple, you can purchase Matcha Bar’s products online via their website and replicate the drink at home
If we had to choose the prettiest iced tea for the season, it would be hibiscus. This fruity flower originated in Nigeria and may offer body-boosting benefits like protecting against the common cold. One brand that gives added zip is Tazo’s Iced Passion. Not only is it a looker, with its vibrant, ruby-red color, but this herbal blend gets augmented with licorice root and rose hips (high in vitamin C). The tea bags are conveniently designed for making pitcher-sized portions, great for an outdoor party or just to keep in the fridge for when you need a pick-me-up.
White tea is one of the least processed teas around. The leaves are young, plucked as buds, and as a result white tea is believed to be less adulterated and thus have more naturally occurring antioxidants than teas brewed from older leaves. If you’re looking to give it a try, go for Inko’s, whose white tea blends are made a little sweeter with ingredients like honeydew, strawberry and ginger, to name a few — and are GMO-free and always organic. Another bonus? Each 16-ounce serving contains only 50 calories.
Kiri Tannenbaum is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris and holds an M.A. in food studies from New York University where she is currently an adjunct professor. When her schedule allows, she leads culinary walking tours in New York City and is currently at work on her first book.