Why You Should Never Make Iced Tea With Hot Water

National Iced Tea day has come and gone, but that doesn't mean we aren't sipping on pitchers of this cool and refreshing beverage all summer long. According to the Tea Association of the USA, we really enjoy our iced tea. The association revealed that, in 2021, about 75 to 80 percent of the 3.9 billion gallons of tea poured and drank was of the iced variety. The majority of that percentage was black tea, but green, oolong, white, and dark tea were all represented as well. 

Sweet or unsweetened, iced tea can cool you off and quench your thirst, while helping you to relax and unwind. In fact, iced tea, particularly sweet iced tea, is a staple and a beloved way to hydrate in the South. Garden & Gun shares, "...the beverage is served at every meal, and all times and venues in between — at church and at strip clubs, at preschool and in nursing homes." Of course, while sweet tea is iced tea, and a popular way to consume it, the site DifferenceBetween.com notes iced tea is more of a staple in the north. And while it can be sweetened, it is generally consumed sans sugar and also be referred to as "sun tea." However, regardless of your preference, we all make mistakes preparing iced tea, and if you are going to be making yourself a pitcher of this beverage and think hot water is the way to go, you may want to reconsider.

Cold tap water has more oxygen

Tea is a pretty easy drink to make. Per The Picky Eater blog, water and tea — loose leaves or bags — are the only ingredients required to brew up a glass. However, since this is such a simple drink, the blog also notes the quality of the water is really important. Cynthia Gold, a tea sommelier, echoed this sentiment in her comments to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, suggesting you do not want to begin by using water with a "chlorinated" taste. Gold went on to explain that you also want to start with cold water and not hot. Why? She said it's because cold water has more oxygen than hot water, specifically when it is coming from the tap, and that oxygen can help with the flavor of your tea.

Bon Appetit agrees, and there are those who believe you do not need hot water at all to make a tall glass of iced tea. This tea has been dubbed "cold brew" iced tea. The writer notes that using hot water can take away from the natural sweetness of your tea, while also leaving it a little bitter. It seems hot water can really affect the flavor of your iced tea. Still, as with most things in the kitchen, the best way to find the way you enjoy your iced tea is to experiment.