Tea for Tuesday (on a Wednesday) – Just Peachy III

With Thanksgiving upon us, everybody is probably thinking about food, but maybe not about beverages.

Ice tea is a good classic beverage option. It can be made from scratch for pennies per serving, and it’s a lot more elegant than a glass of sofa pop next to a plate of turkey and all the trimmings.

Here’s one way to make classic sweet iced tea. Click here.

A variation is fruit tea — peach tea is one of my favorites. Click here for that. Include cranberry juice for a Thanksgiving variation

But if you find you have zero time for either of those and want to offer something other than soda pop, fruit juice, or milk, then powdered drink mixes might work.

I tried a lot of powder drink mixes over the summer in my search for a perfect peach tea. (And for convenience because sometimes, I just don’t have time for anything else.)

While scratch is oh-so hard-to-beat, there are some drink mixes that I actually enjoy. The iced tea drink mix that came out on top for me was Crystal Light Peach Iced Tea. I tried many others. I’m not always a fan of Chrystal Light. But this Peach Iced Tea won me over because I can taste the tea and the peach. It has a light, refreshing flavor with enough tartness to taste fruity without overpowering the flavor of the tea or peach. Some mixes add so much malic acid, that it’s hard to taste much else. Those tend to taste tart and nonspecific fruity.

Crystal Light Peach Iced Tea is a sugar-free option that uses artificial sweeteners (Aspartame). That may scare some away (and make others happy). If you don’t drink aspartame, this isn’t the drink mix for you. It nearly kept me away, but in the end that nice peachy tea taste won me back. But I’m hoping they come up with a version using Stevia.

Crystal Light Peach Iced Tea is available in boxes of single-serving, on-the-go pouches or pitcher size packets. Either one is handy in a pinch.

Advertisements

Tea for Tuesday: Just Peachy II

This is part II of my journey to finding a good, traditional, southern, peach tea. I made the real stuff, here, using Lipton or Luzianne tea and real peaches. But in this post I investigate using only flavored tea bags to make peach tea.

In my search, I purchased gobs of peach-flavored tea bags thinking that one of them would yield enough peachy tea flavor to make a good, classic peach tea without harming any fruit in the process.

Sadly, I was unsuccessful. Mostly.

You’d think:

Tea + peach = peach tea. No problem, right? It didn’t exactly turn out that way, though many of teas yielded something yummy. And they all call themselves peach and are tea. Or are they?

The rundown of suspects:

Bigelow, Perfect Peach

Lipton, White Mangosteen Peach

Celestial Seasonings, Country Peach Passion

Lipton, Peach Mango

Celestial Seasonings, Sleepytime Peach

Bigelow, Green Tea with Peach

English Tea Shop, Ginger Peach Tea

I’ve also tried some loose-leaf teas, but I’ll stick to tea bags for this blog post.

Bigelow, Perfect Peach

I should have known this wouldn’t taste like classic peach tea from the fact that the label said “herbal.” It has no actual tea leaves. So it lacks tea flavor. It has a nice peach aroma and some peach flavor, but it’s mixed with cinnamon flavor too. It claims to taste like peach pie. It might, if you use a lot of cinnamon in your peach pie. That said, it is pretty yummy. It is a nice alternative to the classic apples and cinnamon tea. I can see myself drinking more of this as the days get cooler this fall. So yum, but not classic peach-tea yum.

Lipton, White Mangosteen Peach

It’s like they got it right, but then they said, “wait, no. Instead of  traditional tea-flavored peach tea we’re going to swap out the black tea leaves and replace them with white tea leaves. Won’t that be nice?”

Wait. What?! Black leaves matter! (Did I just go there?)  And on top of it, I just noticed that it’s a green tea, yet they call it white. They need to get their colors correct. I have nothing against white or green tea, and this actually has a really pleasant peach taste. I’m not sure what a mangosteen is (maybe it’s what’s white), but it doesn’t mess up the peach. It can stay. I just miss the classic tea flavor it might have had if it used black tea leaves. That said, I like it, and I’m on my second box. That’s saying something. I just have to ignore the fact that it’s not the tea I was looking for.

Celestial Seasonings, Country Peach Passion

I knew going into this one that there would be no tea flavor because Celestial Seasonings is an herbal tea (or tisane) company. I was hoping for a solid, country peach flavor though. This one tastes mostly fruity to me. Fruity and herbal with some peach flavor. That’s about it.

Lipton, Peach Mango

This has peach flavor. And it’s not bad. It also has mango flavor and a good bit of hibiscus. I like mango and hibiscus, so I like this one. But it turns out it is also an herbal tea, so it doesn’t actually taste like the tea part of peach tea. I may or may not have known this when I purchased it.

Celestial Seasonings, Sleepytime Peach

I knew this one didn’t contain any tea leaves. It’s an herbal Sleepytime tea, so no caffeine. I was hoping for more peach flavor. I probably knew it wouldn’t have much, but it was on sale, and I was deeply entrenched in this peach-tea obsession. I was bad. It’s more herbal tasting with spearmint and lemongrass and a little bit fruity. It’s like drinking Sleepytime tea right after you took a bite of a peach, but you already finished eating the peach. It’s not a bad bedtime tea (if you need to use it up).

Bigelow, Green Tea with Peach 

This one has some of the same problems that the White Mangosteen Peach tea has. I don’t get a classic peach tea flavor because it uses green tea instead of black. That said, it has a pretty good overall flavor. It somehow manages to taste like peach and pit fruit without tasting especially fruity. I like it. It’s it tastes like green tea with peach (so the name is super fitting), but it doesn’t taste like a traditional southern peach tea either.

English Tea Shop, Ginger Peach Tea

I actually purchased this one at a Mashalls (or T.J. Maxx), so who knows if I’ll ever be able to find it again. But I had to try it. It was only about $4 for 60 tea bags. And it turned out to be pretty darn yummy. It actually uses black tea leaves so it tastes like there’s traditional tea in it. It has a nice peach aroma and some of that comes through in each sip. This would be quite a win … except that it also has ginger in it. It’s fairly similar to Republic of Tea’s Ginger Peach Longevity Tea. I’ve purchased that one several times too, and it is very good even though the ginger makes it a gingery peach tea instead of just peachy. So it’s almost classic peach tea! But not quite. Another one so close in my search for classic peach tea using only tea bags.

A Little Success

So after sampling each individual tea, I tried mixing them all together and adding an extra bag or two of classic black tea (because clearly that’s part of the equation) and voila a pretty darn good tea! I’d leave out the Sleepytime tea because it’s a bit too herbal. But the others resulted in something quite good. The cinnamon and ginger were softened by all the other stuff, so those flavors became a nice accent flavor while the peach and tea flavors shined through. Because normally I don’t add 7 or 8 tea bags to a cup when I make tea, I find I can simplify this combo by using a traditional black tea like Lipton or Luzianne plus Lipton’s Peach Mango or White Mangosteen Peach. Simple. And yummy. A bag of  Ginger Peach or Perfect Peach add a nice twist of spice when I want something different. Sweeten to taste and enjoy!

Copyright 2016 Debora Kapke (but feel free to share as long as you link back and give credit).

Tea for Tuesday on a Thursday – Just Peachy I

Along with classic iced tea and sweet tea, I especially love a good peach tea. So began a search for a great peach tea that I could make at home.

There are three major roads to peach tea.

1. Scratch recipe with real tea and fruit.
2. Peach-flavored tea leaves in tea bags or loose.
3. Instant, peach tea powder or liquid drops.

Today’s blog covers peach tea from scratch. There are still some excellent peaches to be found. Get ’em while you can!

Peach Tea from scratch. 

The process is fairly simple. This makes about 3 cups of peach iced tea. It partly depends on how juicy your peaches are. (Scale up the recipe for more tea.)

1.) Make 2 cups of iced tea concentrate. My process is here. Let the tea cool some while you work on the peaches.

2.) Peaches! Start with 3 cups of cut up juicy ripe peaches. (Cut out any bruises.) This is a great way to use up super ripe peaches.

3.) Finely chop peaches in a food processor or blender.

4.) Add about a half tablespoon of lemon juice to the peaches as you blend. This perks up the taste and helps keep the peaches from oxidizing (turning brown) too quickly. (I know the tea is brown, but …)

5.) Strain the blended peaches. If you like it pulpy, use a mesh strainer with larger holes. If you hate chunks and pulpy bits, then use a fine mesh strainer or a even strain a second time through a coffee filter (it will drip through slowly though). The leftover peach pulp can be used for frozen ice pops or peach purée in baked goods or peachy apple sauce, etc.

6.) Add the nectar (juices) to tea that has cooled some.

7.) Sweetener or sugar can be added to bring out the sweetness of the peaches. Start with about a tablespoon or two of sugar. Adjust to your liking. Mix in the sugar before you put the tea in the fridge so it can dissolve well. You can also use a non-sugar sweetener, but keep in mind the peaches add a lot of sweetness on their own. So taste as you go.

8.) Keep your fresh peach tea in the fridge.  Serve over ice. Yum.

Variation Z.

Zombie* Peach Ice Tea

I make what I call Zombie* Peaches anyway and this makes it easy and quick to make real peach iced tea. This yields about 2-1/4 cups of peach tea (not including ice).

1.) Make iced tea.

2.) Make Zombie Peaches. (You’ll want to make them ahead of time by several days if possible.)

3.) Pour the tea over ice. Zombie Peaches already have sugar dissolved in them, so you don’t need to add more. But you can adjust to your liking by adding extra sweetener. If you add extra sugar, add it before the ice.

3.) Stir peach liquid into tea. Add about 4 or 5 tablespoons of the syrupy juice from a jar of Zombie Peaches per 2 cups of iced tea. Use more or less to taste. You can add some peach chunks too (or not). And you can add a squirt of lemon too. Stir well. (Keep in mind that remaining Zombie Peaches should always have enough liquid to cover any peach chunks to prevent mold, so it’s best to use some chunks as you use up the liquid. Chunks can be frozen into super yummy home made Popsicles. Served as a topping for ice cream. Or just spoon them in your mouth because, yum.)

The beauty of Zombie Peach Iced Tea is that it is usually fairly clear and not cloudy like blended peaches. Zombie Peaches last for weeks in the fridge so it’s easy to make ahead of time and whip up a glass of peach iced tea when you like.

This same process can be used with other fruit like raspberries and strawberries.

Enjoy!


*I know the name “Zombie Peaches” may not sound very appealing. When I originally named them, had been thinking “zombie” because the fruit seems like it should be dead but it lives on and on. Zombie, right? Plus my daughter had a zombie ranger summer camp that she loved! So we had zombies on the brain. But zombies get pretty yucky looking. Vampires, on the other hand, stay relatively youthful and well preserved. And this is about preservation. So maybe I should call it Vampire Peaches? Both zombies and vampires are forms of the undead, right? Humm. Maybe I’ll post an updated recipe with a new name.
Copyright 2016 Debora Kapke