The Best Time To Sweeten Your Homemade Iced Tea

When summer comes knocking, you know it's time to get out the pitchers and prepare for your cold beverage routine. Of course, you can buy some tasty bottled iced tea from the store, but there's just something special about the homemade version. What's more, if you prefer your tea sweet, you probably like it just so and would prefer to be in control of how much sweetener is added. 

There are numerous options: standard sugar, honey, maple syrup, stevia — the list goes on. And if you want to balance the sweetness with a little tang, add fruit juices like lemon, pomegranate, or cranberry. No matter the sweetener you pick, perfect sweetening requires that it gets dissolved entirely and diffuses throughout the beverage. That's why timing is critical for a perfectly sweetened glass of homemade thirst quencher. So whether you're using sugar, honey, or other sweeteners, here's the best time to sweeten your iced tea.

Sweeten your tea while still warm, or else

The best time to add a sweetener is when the tea is still hot (or at least warm). This is particularly true of granulated sugars because they dissolve much better at high temperatures. So if you have the option, don't chill your iced tea before sweetening. 

If your tea is already chilled and you're trying to sweeten it, it's better to reach for something already in liquid form, like agave nectar or honey. While these also will dissolve more easily in hot water, some vigorous stirring will get them there. If you don't already have a bottle of either, you can always whip up a simple syrup by heating equal portions of sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar completely dissolves. This is a great solution particularly if you like making cold-brewed iced tea. You can also store the remaining syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for use up to 7 days later. Now you can enjoy your perfectly sweetened summertime homemade iced tea day after day.