For a real connoisseur of tea, re-locating to any desert country is nothing less than a punishment. For them it is not about the difficulties of the sweltering heat, but the unhappiness of not being able to enjoy their hot cuppa any time of the day.
Years back it was the same for me when I first landed in Muscat during the peak summer months. The first thought that came to my mind then as an ardent tea lover was ‘how would I enjoy my tea in this heat?’
I was certainly in no mood to wean off my habit of waking up to a hot cuppa. Flooded with disappointments, one day when I went to a friend’s house she asked, “Would you like to have a cool glass of tea?” I nodded but kept wondering why was she offering a ‘cool glass of tea’ rather than a hot cup of tea?
My inhibitions were silenced as a tall glass of tea with a generous helping of ice cubes was placed in front of me. Must say it was ‘love at first sip’.
As you try to beat the Muscat heat, one of the best things to have during the long summer months is to have a glass of cold and refreshing iced tea. This is a perfect beverage which can act as an instant energiser and is available in various flavours and tastes, each distinct-ly different from the other.
While my personal favourite are the ones that have lemony tastes, the other favourites include mango, strawberry, lychee, orange, and more.
Replete with many health benefits a cool glass of iced tea is any day better than aerated drinks to quench your thirst on a sultry day.
Usually served in a glass with ice, it may or may not be sweetened and can be mixed with flavoured syrup, including lemon, raspberry, lime, passion fruit, peach, orange, strawberry, and cherry. While most iced teas get their flavour from tea leaves, herbal teas are also sometimes served cold which are made by prolong steeping of tea leaves at low temperature.
To make the perfect iced tea the first thing one should get right is the measurement. If you are planning to make eight cups of iced tea, then preferably use 10-15 good quality tea bags depending on how strong you like the flavours. For a stronger flavour go for 15 tea bags.
Boil water in a pan with a pinch of baking soda and put the tea bags in a pitcher. Once the water starts boiling, remove the vessel from the flame and pour hot water in the pitcher with the tea bags. Keep the tea bags only for 5-6 minutes and do not over-steep. It can make the tea bitter. Sweeten by adding sugar or syrup. Add a little lemon juice to enhance the taste. If you are making lemon mint tea then add mint leaves before boiling the water.
For a different flavour you can add fruit juice to your iced tea. Allow the tea to reach at room temperature and then keep it in the refrigerator for an hour to chill. Pour into long glasses and add the ice cubes. Don’t refrigerate the iced tea when it is hot as it will get cloudy.
Best Iced Tea in Muscat
Chatime Oman, Shatti Al Qurum, Near City Cinema
Go for: Hawaiian fruit tea that is blend of black tea combined with tropical fruit flavours; lychee black tea, blend of black tea and lychee flavour; and mango green tea that is a blend of green tea combined with flavourful mango pulp.
Contact: +968 2494 9456
La Cigalo, Mina Al Fahal, Muscat
Go for: Fresh peach ice tea.
Contact: +968 2457 1860
Eat Street, Al Noor Plaza, MQ
Go for: Turkish saffron iced tea.
Contact: +968 8007 4992
Copper, Sayh Al Malih Street, Qurum
Go for: Handmade iced tea with red berry and rose tea with a splash of lemon juice and hibiscus syrup.
Contact: +968 2456 4292
Shake Shack, Muscat City Centre, Al Mawaleh
Go for: Fifty Fifty, a combination of iced tea and lemonade or the freshly brewed ones.
Contact: +968 2230 0182
Crafty Kitchen, Al Noor Plaza, Madinat Qaboos
Go for: Summery iced tea brews available in different flavours.
Contact: +968 2469 6660
Passion Café, Al Khoudh
Go for: Passion and lemon flavours
Contact: +968 9460 0633