|It's hard to get a photo of a full pitcher on a summer's day|
- Japanese gen mai cha, a green tea that can be purchased in many supermarkets as well as Asian markets
- Japanese mei cha, a green tea that can be purchased in many supermarkets as well as Asian markets
- 8 to 10 fresh mint leaves
- Water (preferably filtered to remove purifiers such as chloride and ammonium ions)
- 3 lemons (Meyer lemons for preference)
- Stevia, also known as sweet leaf, a plant extract several times sweeter than sugar
- Make 2 litres (or 64 oz) of tea with 1 Tbsp gen mai cha and 2 Tbsp mei cha. To make the tea, boil water, allow it to cool for about 45 seconds, then pour it onto the tea leaves in a large teapot or similar vessel.
- Add the mint leaves to the mei cha and allow them to steep with the tea.
- Allow both teas to cool to room temperature, or for no longer than an hour.
- Squeeze lemons until you have 125 ml (or 4 oz) of juice.
- Strain the tea and the lemon juice through a fine sieve into a serving pitcher, and place it in the refrigerator.
- When cooling is complete, add sufficient stevia to sweeten the drink to your taste. Adjust lemon and tea volumes as necessary, i.e., make it taste good to you.
- Serve in chilled glasses, preferably without ice.
In 2009 we went to Vietnam on a bicycle tour. The weather was hot and humid. Our support crew stopped their van every now and then to provide us with extra water, snacks, and fruit. One day, I spied some green bottles on ice in the van and took one. It was a lemon-flavored iced green tea, sweetened with sugar, and deliciously refreshing.
When we returned home and resumed our regular bike rides, I kept remembering that iced tea in Vietnam, and was determined to reproduce it as closely as possible. Then, when I started growing spearmint in a pot outside, I included a few leaves of it in the steeping tea. It proved even more popular than the plain lemon tea. We now keep a pitcher of "Summer's Sweet Icy Green" in the refrigerator at all times. It's a great favorite, even with people who don't cycle and who don't need to avoid sugar.