Spice Up Your Iced Tea

We’re partial to our Iced Green Tea, which is infused with passion fruit and papaya. But you can wake up your home-brewed teas in lots of easy ways, too.

Myrna Adolfo, a member of the Panera Bread® Food Team, loves to get creative with her iced-tea flavors. She took Panera’s Iced Green Tea in a decidedly tropical flavor direction.  

“America is enamored with green tea because of the antioxidants, but many of us aren’t quite ready for its distinct flavor,” Myrna says. “Adding passion fruit and papaya lends a sweet, aromatic aftertaste that makes green tea more appealing to most palates.” 

Here are a few of her best secrets for creating some of your own refreshing iced-tea blends.

Think beyond black pekoe

A super-easy way to create a flavorful iced tea is to brew and chill your favorite herbal tea. You can offer this option to guests, as well, so each can choose his or her own flavor. If you’re starting with green tea, pair it with fruity, citrusy add-ins. White tea is very delicate, so you may not want to spice it up at all. Plain hibiscus iced tea also makes a refreshing drink and is one of Myrna’s personal favorites. 

Add a gourmet garnish

While you might consider lemon the standard, you can add just about any type of fruit to your iced tea. Pineapple, watermelon, berries, and even cucumbers make delicious additions. Or try a more interesting citrus, such as blood orange, Maya lemon, or the Japanese fruit yuzu. You can float fruit as wedges, strips, or chunks in the pitcher. Or “muddle” pieces of fruit in the bottom of a heavy glass by smashing them with the back of a spoon. For the best results, wait until just before serving to add any fresh garnish.

Sweeten creatively

Try a 50-50 mix of iced tea and 100 percent juice. Or add a fruity jelly, jam, or marmalade to a cup of hot tea, stir to dissolve it, and then pour the sweetened tea over ice. Check out your supermarket’s selection of gourmet spreads, which might include yuzu and passion fruit jellies.

Enjoy a sparkling tea

After letting your favorite tea steep, pour it over ice and then add a mixture of club soda and a bit of cranberry juice. This is a drink you can concoct on the town or even on an airplane, as Myrna does.