This may be our most tested advice ever. We’ve been making this tea for years after Teavana (Starbucks supplier) shut down and we were in a puddle of distress over how to get the tea we loved at a price we could live with.
This tastes EXACTLY like the Black Iced Tea from Starbucks! And we went through a lot of tea to get it right. It has to be STRONG! It must not be CLOUDY!
And the bonuses??? We make it by the GALLON and it stays clear like this for days in the refrigerator. That picture at the top of the page…that is ONE DAY OLD tea! Really and truly. Still clear, still tasting fresh!
Now let’s get to the instructions. You must follow them all because the technique is what makes this all work.
Here is what you will need before you start:
We recommend you use a Stainless Steel 2-qt pan like in the photo. You probably have one in the cabinet. A larger pan is fine as long as you can use enough water to cover the tea infuser completely.
THE TEA…so important. We buy from Upton Tea Company. The black tea we buy is called Java Bop. The 250 gram packet seems to work well and stay fresh after opening. It will make a 6 gallons of tea. so we have the bag opened for almost 2 weeks. If you go bigger, you save money but may encounter a reduction of freshness.
We use loose tea, so we use this tea infuser. It is large enough to steep enough tea to make a gallon. The tea needs room to expand when it is steeping. This infuser is actually 3 inches by 3 inches by 3.2 inches.
Purified Water. I know you don’t want to do this but it is essential for the taste and for the tea to be clear and not cloudy. We recommend a Zero Water Pitcher if you don’t have a Water Filtration System in your home. You can also buy purified water at the store but then you are spending too much money.
A Gallon pitcher or jug.
Sweetener of choice.
Instructions for How to make Black Tea like Starbucks
- Fill a 2-qt pot with Purified Water. Bring to a boil.
- Put 1/2 cup dry loose tea into the tea infuser. This fills the infuser only about 1/3 of the way, leaving room to expand.
- Turn off the boiling water pot and insert the tea infuser. You want the water to cover the infuser.
- Set a timer for 5 minutes.
- Remove the tea infuser and let it drip into the pan of steeped tea.
- Add sweetener to this pan of warm steeped tea. We like Splenda and we use exactly 43 packets of Splenda for a gallon of tea.
- Dump steeped tea into a gallon pitcher. Add Purified water to make a gallon. Refrigerate.
You might be tempted to fill your gallon pitcher with purified water and add the hot steeped tea on top. We don’t know why but we think this shocks the hot tea more than adding the purified water after. There is science involved in all of this. We hate cloudy tea so much that we will throw it out. So do everything you can to avoid cloudy tea!
This is strong tea. We take our Starbucks with light ice and light water (yes you can order it that way if you need it stronger!) If you don’t like it as strong, use less loose tea. Not more water. Experiment until you get it the strength you want it.
The loose tea at Upton is very reasonably priced. For this tea, you will end up paying just 25 cents per 16 oz glass of tea. Instead of $2.25 at Starbucks. A gallon of this tea will cost $2.00. A gallon of Starbucks tea is $18.
If you need a glass of tea every day, it will cost $7.50 per month to make it at home. If you bought it at Starbucks, it will be $67.50 plus tax.
For that matter, all you people who drink Chick-fil-a tea, and maybe buy it by the gallon: Chick-fil-a charges $5.50. Why not just make it at home and save HALF!
Share this post with your favorite tea drinker! They will LOVE you for it! Hey maybe they will take the extra $720 you saved them for the year and buy you a really sweet birthday present!