5 Fresh Ways to Enjoy Tea

A spread of different types of tea

Africa Studio / Shutterstock

Deemed fit for parched pashas and thirsty laborers, there's a lot more to drinking tea than dunking tea bags in hot water. This summer try expanding your horizons with these five tea-inspired infusions with a plant that changed the world.

1
of 5

Moroccan Mint Tea

Photo: Enrique Gili

A deceptively simple light tea that will have your taste buds humming.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 bundle fresh mint springs, stemmed and torn
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 bags green tea
  • Handful ice
  • Pinch fresh mint leaves, garnish

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes to allow cooling

Cooking directions

  1. Bring water to a boil in saucepan, about five minutes.
  2. While water heats, rinse sprigs under cold water and trim ends. Remove 15 to 20 leaves from sprigs and tear into small pieces.
  3. Place torn leaves, sugar and green tea in a French press coffee maker.
  4. Add hot water. Steep contents for several minutes until contents turn light shade of green. Compress plunger to filter ingredients. Allow to cool, about 30 minutes.
  5. Pour tea into glasses over ice. Add mint.

Yield: Makes 4-6 cups

2
of 5

Jamaican Hibiscus Tea

Enrique Gili.

A glass of hibiscus tea is thought to lower cholesterol levels, but the best reason to drink it is the vibrant color and the lovely taste of lemon. Jamaican Hibiscus Tea

Ingredients

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 2 heaping tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers
  • 2 heaping tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • Handful ice
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges

Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Cooking directions

  1. Bring water to boil in saucepan, about 5 minutes.
  2. Combine next 3 ingredients in a French press coffee maker. Add boiling water. Steep 15 minutes until water turns dark magenta. Press plunger to filter ingredients. Allow to cool, about 30 minutes.
  3. Pour tea into glasses over ice. Add lime.

Yield: Makes 4-6 cups

3
of 5

Iced Chai Tea

Enrique Gili.

A milky sweet tea spiked with spices, think of chai as Yoo-hoo with an attitude. Iced Chai Tea

Ingredients

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 4 black tea bags
  • 2 cups milk, chilled
  • 1 cookie stick, optional garnish

Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes to allow cooling

Cooking directions

  1. Bring water to a boil in saucepan.
  2. While water heats, lightly grind cardamom, pepper, cloves and cinnamon with mortar and pestle. Add spices to water.
  3. Remove water from heat. Add ginger, sugar and tea. Steep for 5 minutes, squeezing out liquid before removing tea bags. Strain contents into pitcher. Allow to cool, about 30 minutes. Add milk and stir.
  4. Pour chai into glasses over ice.

Yield: Makes 1 pitcher

4
of 5

Green Tea Sorbet

Enrique Gili.

A bracing shaved ice without the downside of artificial colors or sweeteners, great for post-BBQ meat fests. Add limoncello to turn a palate-cleansing dessert into a yummy cocktail. Green Tea Sorbet Ingredients

  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 bags green tea
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Sprig mint, optional garnish
  • 1 ounce limoncello, optional

Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes to allow freezing

Cooking directions

  1. Bring water to rapid boil over high heat in saucepan. Remove pan from heat. Add sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves completely, about 2 minutes. Add tea, zest and lime juice. Cover and steep about 5 minutes. Drain and remove teabags. Allow to cool about 20 minutes.
  2. Pour contents into freezer-proof container. Whisk after 30 minutes and again after 60 minutes. Wait about 20 more minutes, or until almost frozen solid. Scoop and serve into bowls. Add limoncello if desired.

Yield: Serves 4

5
of 5

Ginger Tea Punch

Enrique Gili.

Perfection in a glass, this light, refreshing blend of green tea and ginger is ideal for the dog days of summer. Ginger Tea Punch

Ingredients

  • 6 cups filtered water
  • 6 bags green tea
  • 2 thumb-sized sections fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 6 sprigs fresh mint, rinsed and stemmed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Handful ice cubes
  • Splash club soda, to taste
  • Wedge lemon, optional garnish
  • Sprig mint, optional garnish

Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: 1 hour with refrigeration

Cooking directions

  1. Bring water to rapid boil in saucepan. Remove from heat. Add tea, ginger, honey, mint and lemon juice. Stir, cover and steep 5 minutes. Remove tea bags. Allow to cool about 20 minutes or until it reaches room temperature.
  2. Strain contents into large pitcher. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  3. Pour tea into glasses over ice. Top with club soda to taste.

Yield: Makes 6-8 drinks