I shared my recipe for Starbucks-esque Passion Iced Tea a while back. I’ve been making a lot of it lately and I learned something interesting about the delicate balance of the construction of the drink. I mix brewed Tazo Passion tea with ice, sugar, and berry Propel. My usual method is to, once the tea is steeped 2-3 minutes, add the sugar and Propel to the ice, then pour the tea over it. I noticed, though, that there seemed to be some settling at the bottom. It didn’t taste bad, but I wondered if there was a better way to incorporate the sugar and powder so that there would be less settling at the bottom of the pitcher.
What I found, instead, was one way not to do it. This last time I made the iced tea, I added the Propel powder and the sugar to the hot tea, stirred, then poured over the ice. Voila! No settling powder. I thought I was genius. Until I tasted it.
It doesn’t taste bad, per say, but it doesn’t taste as good. I think it was heating the powder with the tea that changed the flavor. Next time I make up a pitcher, I’m going to try added just the sugar to the hot tea and see how it goes. Otherwise, I may just have to settle.
Let me start by saying that I am not (generally) a tea person. I don’t really drink hot tea, except the German cherry tea my dad brought me back from his last trip, and Throat Coat when I’m sick. That being said, I love good ice tea. My go to summer drink at Starbucks is their Tazo Passion Ice Tea. Well, what I realized a few years ago is that I could buy that same tea at the grocery store. So I bought a box and started experimenting. It came out alright, but something was missing, something that separated it from what I was getting in Starbucks.
This past week, after running out of store-bought cans of ice tea (my favorite of which is a kind of expensive brand), I decided I would try again. I brewed a mug of tea, dumped it over ice and added sugar, more than what I thought was necessary. My thought was always that the Starbucks version was sweeter than what I was making at home. And then it dawned on me that when they make it in the coffee-house, they add a flavor/sweetening syrup. That was what I was missing. So I reached for the closest thing I had in my pantry: Berry flavored Propel powder. I poured a little of the cold tea into a glass, and tipped in a small amount of powder, stirring it together. Sip. Deliciousness. I poured the rest of the powder packet into the pitcher of tea and took a big gulp. It was like I was drinking out of a venti plastic cup (my go to size for the tea), sans barista’s interpretation on the spelling of my name (Rebbecca, Rebeckah, Rebeca, Rebekah…etc.). So I decided to go big or go home, and since I was already home, BIG it was! I brewed two more mugs, added them to the ice pitcher, with sugar and two more packets of Berry Propel. The pitcher lasted about a day and a half. Yum!
In case you want to replicate it, here’s the recipe for one pitcher of my Tazo Passion Ice Tea:
- 3 Passion flavor tea bags
- 3 packets Berry flavor Propel powder (not Propel Zero)
- Half pitcher of ice
- Sugar to taste
You can brew each individual mug and then add all of the ingredients at once, or do as I do and add the ingredients as you go. I brew a mug, dump it into the ice, add my sugar and the packet of Propel powder, and stir. I then repeat until the pitcher is full. When I’ve filled it, I scoop out the ice and refrigerate it. Taking the ice out ensures the mix doesn’t get any more diluted. Also, it’s important to make sure that the sugar and Propel powder are as fully dissolved as possible.
Being lactose intolerant, finding the work around for dairy has become a part-time job. Thankfully, there are companies like Earth Balance, Whole Soy Co., So Delicious, Daiya, and many others, that have created great products that taste pretty damn close to the real thing. In most cases, you can’t tell it’s not dairy. That makes living dairy free a lot easier and not quite so limiting as when I first figured out that it was dairy making me sick.
One of the things that I love making now that I can is a fruit smoothie. I take two 6 oz vanilla (or one of the berry flavors), about 1.5-2 cups of frozen mixed berries, and about .5 cup frozen mango chunks, and blend them together with some honey to taste. When I started doing these, I realized that my parent’s 15+ year old blender wasn’t cutting it–figuratively and literally, I was getting huge chunks, no blending, and there was a burning smell whenever I used the blender. So we bought a new one. Again, I started having problems. With this one, the blades had a hard time thoroughly mixing my ingredients and pureeing all of the fruit. In fact, it would blend the bottom section, but a full 1 inch layer sat on top of it, immobile. So I took to sticking in a rubber spatula (mostly carefully, we do have a rather mangled and misshapen spatula now that I’m told I will be taking with me when I move out) and gently guiding the rest of the mix into stream. Finally, the last time I made a smoothie, I got so fed up I vowed the next time I wanted one I was going to try using the food processor.
Well, this time I used the processor and it was beautiful. And delicious. And way more than I expected! Oh well. In this case, there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing. Spread out over a couple of days, it’s filled in the time between my trips to Whole Foods to stock up on yogurt.