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Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Posted by amck (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 7, 09 at 8:01

Didn't want to hijack your post on Lou's (beautiful!!) wooden spoons, but did I understand that you add a pinch of baking soda to iced tea?

I am curious to know why/how much/when you add it. I've never heard of doing this, but I love serving fresh brewed iced tea in the summer and would love to learn a new tip for making it better.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Glad you asked. A pinch of soda before adding the boiling water helps eliminate bitterness by neutralizing the tannins. And don't squeeze the tea bags!

Cathy


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

I like the bitter, astringent taste that the tannins give to iced tea. I find it to be very refreshing, and is one of the reasons why I don't sweeten my tea.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

I am so glad to know about this! I usually make sun tea to avoid the tanins, much like making Toddy Coffee. It's part of the reason I don't drink hot tea as much, unless it's herbal. Sometimes though, one needs a little kick!


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Thanks, mustangs - I can count this as the new thing I learned today!

I will have to do a taste test to see which way I prefer it. kframe19, you've got me thinking I may be one who would miss the zip & kick from the tanins.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Cathy, I'd never heard of using baking soda in tea. Good to know.

Another way to avoid bitter iced tea, is to cold-brew it. I'm not too keen on boiling water (especially in the summer) in order to make iced tea. Makes no sense. Unless, you don't feel like waiting 4 hours to enjoy cold-infused tea.
Anyway, just fill a pitcher with cool water, and soak in the required amount of teabags, or loose tea, for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Remove tea and serve. No bitterness, always perfect.


Sol


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

I taught her everything she knows and don't knows. LOL

Thanks Cathy :
I pass it on to the Iced Tea Makers.
Sol:
Didn't they do that and put the pitcher out in the sun ???

Mine comes out perfect every time. I buy it in a gallon.
Lou


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Thanks,this is definitely good info! I use boiling water to start, maybe a cup with 3-4 tea bags and then after it's a bit dark then I fill up the rest with cold water.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Luigi, many people still sun-brew their tea, but it is still considered risky. Sun Tea
I haven't known anyone who's gotten ill from this old technique, but why chance it.

Sol


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Sol, I didn't know any of that either, about Sun tea. That article was freaking me out a little, until I realized I make mine with purified water. I never leave it out for any longer than it takes to make it, but it's all good information to know. I'll be making it in the fridge from now on. I may have to infuse the cold liquid with warm brewed lemon verbena leaves, just to give it that little ''extra'' I like in my tea.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

I didn't know that about sun tea. I have been making it for over 30 years. Haven't died yet, but I guess I have been lucky. I usually just have left over hot tea from a pot of tea I made. I put that in a jar in the refrigerator and use it for iced tea.
Clare


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Guess you can put Coffee in the frige and make Iced Coffee.

What ever happened to Iced Coffee ???
Don't hear too much of it anymore.
Not that I want any. I like it hot.
Lou


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Lou - I LOVE sweetened iced coffee with Half and Half. Sometimes I will make extra in the morning or another pot just to have it iced.
Clare


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

I read the baking soda tip yesterday (independently, on another site), and then came here and saw this. So, I gave it a try last night. I used 8 Lipton tea bags and a pinch of soda for a half gallon of tea. I have to say that I was very disappointed. It seemed to me that my tea had lost its flavor. We drink lots of iced tea, so near the end of the day I made another batch. This time I used loose tea. My thinking was that I would get a better brew that way. I used 3 tablespoons of leaves (1 teaspoon more than recommended for 1/2 gallon of tea). Again, just not the flavor I love. I'm guessing that little bit of bitterness is part of my enjoyable tea experience.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Donna:
Try making it a bit Stronger. Don't be Bitter. LOL
Lou


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

It makes sense to me that it would kill the flavor. Acid causes the sour taste that differentiates most drinks - soda, lemonade, etc- from sugar water. Tea is acidic, and probably relies at least partly on that acid for flavor. Baking soda would raise the pH of the tea, making it less flavorful.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Jessica:
That sounds very good but it could be individual tastes.

I don't know if a pinch of Baking Soda would alter the taste drastically.

Or Kill the Flavor.

I'll have to give this a test run.

Sol:
If I left tea out in the Sun, the Deer would probably drink it.
And I'm not about to sit in the sun 4 hours. Lol
Lou


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

True. I haven't actually tried it, so I'd be interested to hear what you think.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Well, what do I know?

However, I will continue to use baking soda to make my colored water. LOL


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

The "lore" in my family is to never squeeze the tea bags. I used to do that and, to me, it tated too bitter. I like the baking soda idea.

I made sun tea over the weekend. Used cold tap water, stuck it outside while I went shopping for a few hours and it tasted fine. Like Aptosca, it hasn't killed me yet.

I do like it to be strong so I use a lot of tea bags to a little water. The ice in the glass dilutes it.

I have a question about mint tea. Do you put the mint in as it brews or add the leaves to each glass for flavor?


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

I've never had any trouble with bitter iced tea. Around here, we just throw 5 red rose tea bags in a glass, stove top coffee carafe full of water, bring the water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until it looks dark enough.

However, adding ice to hot tea will bring out a bitter flavor, and sometimes make it cloudy as well...learned that at the restaurant when someone tried to rush the tea because we were out.

Maybe people register different levels of "bitterness" the way they register different levels of other flavors.

I never cared for the idea of "sun tea". Anyone who has left a pile of damp grass clippings out in the sun knows the smell of them changes from that nice, fresh grassy smell to a sour, spoiled aroma quite quickly. One would like to think that our commercial teas are cleaner than grass clippings, but many teas come from overseas, and even workers in this country can have bacteria on their hands when they handle the tea. A lot of teas now have a mixture of herbs, some with dried fruit or fruit flavorings, adding a bit of sugar into the mix to help bacteria growth.

In general, I'm not overly paranoid about bacteria, but it isn't as if making "Sun tea" is any easier, really, than just making it the old fashioned way, with boiled water.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

I still like my idea. Buy a Gallon of Lipton, pour it in the Glass and drink.
Don't use that much anyway.
Lou


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Lou -- you can't beat that method for convenience and a taste you can rely on!


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

The problem regarding Lipton and the other bottled iced teas, is that the taste is one I can rely on not liking. I usually take my iced tea unsweetened and if I do sweeten it, it is just a bit and the bottled ones are almost always sweetened and too sweet for me. They have an unsweetened one in their Pure Leaf line, but I haven't run into that one.

I'm also interested in how to best add mint to tea. I've recently decided that my problem is adding it with too heavy a hand by putting in a sprig. I think it tastes better when I don't put in the stem and when it is just a few leaves for the cup but I haven't decided whether it is better to add it hot or cold.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Cloud Swift:
I like things sweet, so watch yourself. lol
Lou


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Lou, I'm with you. I have such a sweet tooth.

We have the Lipton bottled unsweetened tea at work. It tastes just like cold tea. That means you pay $1 for a bottle of plain tea!

Lately I have been mixing lemonade and unsweetened iced tea from the soda dispenser at work. Then I add some Equal. I like it better than the bottled stuff.

Any further ideas on adding mint?


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

I'm another person who likes plain, black, iced tea. No lemon, no mint, no sweetener. Just tea.

I have a Mr. Tea maker and make tea by the pitcher full but when I think in advance I use Sol's method and just dump some tea bags into water and let it set for a couple of hours, or until I think of it and take the tea bags out. I'm too cheap to spend a buck on a glass of tea that costs me 3 cents or so to make, and I won't toss all those plastic bottles into the land fills, so I bought a stainless steel SubZero drink container. $3.99, and I fill it with iced tea every morning and stick it in the fridge at work. It's nice and cold at lunch so I drink iced tea all afternoon.

I don't like iced coffee at all though, it just seems so WRONG to have coffee be cold on purpose. (grin)

Cathy, to each their own. I plead guilty to an occasional Caramel Mocha, which my boss calls a "hot milk shake". (shrug) I like what I like, which usually isn't what everyone else likes.

So, you want baking soda in your tea, go for it. You've probably started something for several people here and they'll love it!

Annie


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Cloud swift, if you prefer to buy bottled tea as opposed to making your own, Tejava is a brand of good bottled tea that is unsweetened.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tejava


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Now I have to brew some tea and add an Italian pinch of
Baking soda.
Cathy, you're a trouble maker lol
Lou


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

I'm pretty happy making my own. We have an instant hot water and cool filtered water dispenser on the kitchen sink so it isn't much trouble and doesn't heat the house even in summer. And it probably is more environmentally friendly to ship tea leaves around than bottled tea.

But its nice to know a good tasting brand of unsweetened tea if I find it on a business trip. While I'll occasionally pop a few mint leaves into my tea or some spices, most of the time I like straight black tea. It is amazing the number of otherwise nice hotels that will put out a selection of teas but they are all herbal blends and tea with flowers and other stuff mixed in. And if they do have an acceptable tea bag available, they put it out with water that tastes of the coffee residue in the pot or that isn't hot enough to brew well. And sometimes they put out tiny cold ceramic cups that cool the water further unless you put in one cup of water to preheat them, dump it into another cup and then refill using your precious tea bag to make a tiny cup of tea.

And when you have breakfast in the hotel restaurant, they bring out the pot of hot water (or worse just a mug) and a tea selection so that when they haven't brought an acceptable choice and go run off to remedy that the hot water is cooling.

As a confirmed tea drinker, the whole experience makes me grumpy. Sorry to rant. Every once and a while there is a bright spot. For example, one hotel that put the cups into a chafing dish so they were pre-warmed. And Fairmont hotels can generally counted on to provide good tea service.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

I just put 4 cup pyrex measuring cup in the micro....set it for 4 minutes....go get out 4 tea bags, open the micro and put the bags in the now hot water....turn it on again. At the end of the 4 minutes, the water has just started coming to a boil when the 4 minutes is up....and by the time I get the ice in the glasses it's perfect.
Yes I know about the fact that microwaved water can become superheated and steam and bubble out of the container....but exercise a little prudence and you are very un likely to get burned
Not a fan of very minty tea....but a sprig in the glass when I pour the tea is good for me.
For "real" mint tea, dry the leaves and mix with your tea leaves to brew.
Linda C


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Linda -- I like the idea of using dried mint leaves. I'll try that.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Linda, since you have the tea bags in the water before it starts to come to a boil, it shouldn't have the superheating problem. As I understand it, as water starts getting hot enough to boil, the vapor bubbles form most easily when there is some imperfection for them to start with. In a pan on the stove, the water movement due to being heated from the bottom helps. In a very smooth glass container in the microwave with water being heated throughout, it doesn't have much to do that.

Heat a mug of water to boiling temp in the microwave and it might not start boiling. Then the movement of taking it out may start bubble formation. If that doesn't, putting a tea bag in does. And once it starts and a couple of bubbles start rising through the water, the movement suddenly causes lots more bubbles to form and water bubbling water almost explodes out of the mug.

Since you put the tea bags in before the water gets to that point, that introduces places for the bubbles to start forming and you shouldn't have a problem. In his tea episode, Alton Brown put a wood chopstick in the mug to stop the superheating.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

cloud swift - I agree with many of your observations about how hotels, and even some nice restaurants, really miss the mark when it comes to serving tea. A friend who travels a lot for business always carries plain black teabags because she doesn't want Earl Grey, or herbal or whatever.

I enjoy a variety of hot teas in the cold months, but I prefer my iced tea black and unsweetened. I like the flavor of mint, but the taste of most mint teas I've had brings to mind toothpaste diluted in water.

There is one we've found that my family is crazy about. It's a Rooibos blend put out by Portsmouth Tea Company. It's called Peppermint Pattea and though its unsweetened, it has hints of dark chocolate and mint that enhance, but don't overpower the flavor of the tea. It's delicious hot or iced and it has no caffeine, so it's fine for sipping through the evening.

I just checked their site and saw that they're currently out of stock - don't know if it's available elsewhere.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

As an avid tea drinker, the best method I have found is cover 3 family size tea bags with hot water from my insinkerator dispensor, let steep 10 minutes add remaining 2 quarts cold water. I also "hate" Earl Gray and the best English Breakfast tea I have found is through mail order from the Tea Source

Here is a link that might be useful: The Tea Source


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

suzyq, I don't care for Early Gray either, or most flavored/herbal teas. I like plain black tea, LOL, I've just now learned to drink the green stuff!

Thanks for the link...

Annie


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

amck, sometimes I take my tea bags along but that doesn't help much when the water tastes like coffee which is one of the worst things they do. Occasionally the water has even been light brown, yuck! and that doesn't bode well for the coffee urns either. Sometimes I'll complain and get them to replace the urn but that doesn't always work. It is usually a good sign when the urn is permanently marked "hot water". I sometimes carry green tea because that is ideally brewed at a lower temp than black - useful when the water isn't hot enough. And I have a bag of spices to toss in which disguises the imperfect nature of the tea if it isn't too bad.

suzyq, another Earl Gray "hater" here - don't know why so many places think they have done their job when the offer an Earl Gray tea to you. I don't like flower flavors in my tea and every once in a while, I run into one that I'm allergic to.

But which tea are you getting from them? I didn't see any labeled English Breakfast, but several have it in their descriptions including Empire Keenum, Irish Breakfast and Welsh Breakfast.

Annie, there is a lot of flavor variation in the green teas (and in the black ones). My favorites include sencha which and genmaicha which has toasted puffed brown rice in addition to the tea leaves, one of the few adulterated teas that I like. Green tea has less caffine than black so I prefer that later in the day.

I like oolong sometimes which is between black and green.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

I need to print this and take it with me to the Starbucks at the Grand Rapids airport. I was waiting for doucanoe to come for the Michigan Run and I decided to get a cup of tea. they had mint and camomile and Earl Gray and some others, but no "just plain" tea. The young smart a&& behind the counter told me that only two people in the world still drink "plain tea", that's me and the Queen Mum. I told him that when the Queen Mum got there he was going to be in a world of hurt. Ahem.

My favorite is a bulk black tea that I get at the Mediterranean Market for an obscenely cheap price and it's labelled simply "tea". It's probably lawn clippings, but I like it.

Boy, did we get off topic on this one. Sorry, Cathy.

Annie


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Annie! LOL!

I like plain ol' tea too. I don't like any flavors in my tea except mint. No fruits, no flowers, no english royalty (such as earls!).

I buy mint from Penzey's, it's dried and comes in a plastic pouch, and I add that into my hot water at the same time as the tea bags when I make iced tea. I do mine kinda like suzyqtexas: water from my hot water dispenser, pour over tea bags (and dried mint leaves), steep, take out the bags and add ice.

I might try the baking soda next time if I remember just to see what it tastes like.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

I like my tea plain with no flavors, so it's me, Annie and the Queen Mum I suppose. The only tea I like besides plain is Earl Grey and I really like it best. I'm going to try the baking soda trick next time.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

I have been making a pitcher of tea almost every day for 4 months. Okay, so what's the big deal??--well I haven't had to buy ONE tea bag or loose tea because I had such a stockpile of assorted teas and I'm determined to deplete my supply before buying more.

This week I have been adding pomegranate syrup. I got a bottle of this when Lee took me to some markets in Denver two years ago and didn't know what to do with it. I'm liking it so now I'm searching for more pomegranate syrup.

I prefer black tea and I'm not big on Earl Grey.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Thanks for that idea, Cathy. I have a bottle of pomegranite syrup too, I forget what for. I like tea plain and black but Ashley likes it sweet and flavored, I'll bet she'll like that in her tea!

Annie (who has been trying to clean out the pantry AND the freezer)


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Cathy:
Who are you kidding. You are depleting your Stockpile , so you will have more room for gadgets.LOL

Now is the time for a short Tea Story. I think I've told this before.

Before we were married my wife would visit her girfriends mother ( Mrs. Mc Kensie )
and had some tea and chatted.

My wife noticed that she always used a Tea Strainer, with Loose Tea.
Mrs. Mc Kensie told her repeatedly for a very long time ,
" Loose tea is stronger "( brainwashed )

Sooooooo !!! The second week after we were married I had a Stoumach Viruse.
She called the Doctor ( at that time, you could call tham )

The nurse relayed a message from the Doctor. Take an Enema
With Strong Tea.
A light bulb lit up " Strong Tea " !!!!!
She didn't know much then.

No loose tea ??? and that's the strong tea.
So she broke a Bunch of teabags into the E bag and poured in some warm water.

Came out and said OK !!!
I limped into the bathroom and squirted some water into the tub and out came, all these tea leaves.

I managed a Roar . Never did do that thing the Doctor said.

That's one of a Hundred Stories. I could write a short novel.
Lou


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Omg Lou! LOL

Annie, that's funny.

I like black tea and Earl Grey. Hate any kind of mint or that spiced tea blend, shudder. I do like some flower/herb teas occasionally like raspberry leaf, or chamomile and I like rose hip, especially when it's my own dried hips. Smiles.

Never tried the baking soda. I do hate, hate any kind of bitterness in tea. I make mine different than any mentioned so far, I think. I use 8 or 9 bags for a half gallon. Nowdays I use the hot water from the water dispenser. It really amazes me that it really is hot enough to make tea. Anyway. I put my tea bags in the container, add about 3 cups of water and start vigorously stirring and smashing the tea bags, dunking them up and down and such. I don't do this for any longer than about 30 seconds, yup, seconds. I can generally see that the tea has gotten fully dark. I quickly pick up the bags in a big slotted spoon and smash all the liquid out of them. I want to be done with all of it before a minute is up. Then I add my sugar. I like it sweet. Stir till sugar is dissolved then add water. Never the least bit bitter and not cloudy. I have a big 2 gallon crock that I got years ago from Williams and Sonoma and used to keep that full but I drink mostly just seltzer these days so when I make iced tea it's generally the half gallon or a full gallon container I have also. I use lemon in my tea too so I slice several lemons and keep them in a container next to the tea to add to each glass when served. Works for me.


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RE: Mustangs - baking soda in tea?

Cathy, thank you for this tip. I tried it today in the iced tea I made this morning. It's much better than my previous batch.

After tasting, I kept waiting for that little bite of bitterness, and it never happened. What a difference. :-)


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