One Possible Reason Your Homemade Iced Tea Is Cloudy

For tea lovers, homemade iced tea is one of those drinks you just can't live without — especially if you're from the American South, and the temperatures outside hit a sweltering 100 degrees Fahrenheit. That's when the crackling sound of tea pouring over ice sounds like music to your ears. Thank heavens this thirst quencher is so easy to make; just water and tea, and you're all set. However, brewing a perfect cuppa every single time can be tricky if you don't know the secrets to a tea-rrific masterpiece.

First, you need to get the taste right, and that may require using at least one add-on ingredient to elevate your tea — we're talking lemon and herbs for a more traditional flavor, or cranberry juice for a little extra kick. Next, make it a delightful sight to behold so your guests can't help but grab a glass. That means a hazy pitcher of amber liquid isn't exactly what you're hoping for. 

Although cloudiness does nothing to the tea's taste, it's visually unappealing and could be a bit embarrassing if you are looking to impress. The most likely reason your sweet tea turned cloudy is a temperature shock as a result of putting your tea in the fridge while it's still hot.

Refrigerating tea while still hot causes cloudiness

Murkiness occurs when tannins and caffeine clump together. Tannins are the compounds that give the tea a bitter flavor, while caffeine is a natural chemical stimulant in tea. To prevent these chemicals from binding and causing cloudiness, allow your tea to cool down to room temperature for at least one hour before popping it into the fridge or adding some ice cubes. 

The trick is to avoid that sudden drop in temperature. Another cause of cloudiness is high brewing temperatures. Cook's Illustrated even did an experiment to prove this and concluded that cold brewing is one surefire way of preventing your tea from going hazy altogether. However, what if you've already prepared a jug of refreshing sweet tea, and just when you're about to serve it the next day, you find that it's already cloudy? Well, no need to panic. Just add a pinch of baking soda, and your tea will instantly clear up. You also get bonus points for using baking soda, as it removes any bitterness in the tea, so you can confidently serve a deliciously sweet and clear beverage to your guests.