I love Honest Tea’s Peach Oo-la-long tea. I’ve bought countless bottles of it at $1.00 a bottle on sale, and more than that when it wasn’t. It’s not too sweet (only 60 calories for 16 oz) and has this wonderful refreshing taste.
But, it’s getting harder and harder to find in stores (and the Safeway copy cat brand has twice as much sugar). Plus, it’s an expensive habit in a glass bottle that costs a lot to ship (glass adds weight which requires additional gas which adds to the carbon footprint of the product). Glass itself is also getting harder to recycle, as it costs a lot to ship empty bottles to a glass recycling center, which are often far far away from where you used the bottles, so the glass, after one use, ends up in a land fill.
So last year, when I was financially strapped and 20 minutes from the nearest grocery store, I started tinkering with making my own version of oo-la-long, one gallon at a time. Here’s what I came up with. It’s not an exact copy, but it is yummy, and costs much less than $10 to make – with no glass to recycle.
Honest Tea’s Peach oo-la-long contains oolong and black tea, sugar and brown rice syrup. I substitute quite a bit of green tea, as I like the flavor, and green tea might edge out black tea slightly in the nutritional department. I skip the brown rice syrup, as even I’m not crunchy-granola enough to have it in the house.
Peach Oo-La-La Iced Tea by the gallon
- 4 tsp loose leaf oolong tea (or 4 tea bags if you can find it)
- 10 tea bags green tea (Newman’s Organic makes a nice green at a reasonable price in a 40 count box)
- 2 teabags Celestial Seasonings Country Peach Passion herb tea (*I like this hot, so always have some on hand – see note below).
- 2 teabags black tea (I personally hate Lipton and would suggest using almost anything else)
- 1/4 cup sugar (or 1/8 cup Splenda for Baking – which is half sugar and half Splenda – if you want to cut back on the sugar calories) or to taste
Seep oolong in 4 cups almost boiling water for 4 minutes. Strain tea into gallon “suntea” jar. If you can find it in tea bags, skip this step and just add it in with the rest of the bags.
Hang all tea bags over edge of a suntea jar, and fill jar half way, or until bags are covered, with almost boiling water. (Don’t have a suntea jar? Any gallon jar will do, and these jars are always on sale at big box stores this time of year. After resealing the spigot to the jar with a ceramic glue to stop it from leaking, I’ve gotten about 10 years of use out of mine). Seep tea for 4 minutes (longer and it will become bitter). Remove all tea bags except for the Peach Passion, which can stay in.
Add sugar to taste. Top with cold water and stash in the fridge. Serve over ice.
*If you can find it/prefer, you can use Kerns Peach Nectar or other “peach juice” to flavor your tea, adding it to taste (I’d start with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup), leaving out some or all of the sugar. I once found a bottle of Peach Nectar at Cost Plus that was resealable, and so lasted through several jugs of tea.
Why not make this as “sun” tea, putting all ingredients in cold water and setting in the sun for the day? Well, you could. But when I want a glass of iced tea, I want it now, not tomorrow. Or it’s not a sunny day when I run out and want more. This method works fast (though your tea may be cloudy) and you’re done in just a few minutes. Bottoms up.
Miles Away Farm Blog © 2012, where we try not to drink too much tea, or we can’t sleep at night and have to go out to the barn and count sheep. More critter updates to come in the next post.