DIY Calamantea aka Calamansi Iced Tea

Iced Tea is serious business at our house. After years of being disappointed by the fluctuating quality of powdered iced tea (Where is the Nestea taste of my childhood?), I have decided to embark on the epic quest of restaurant-quality iced tea. You know, the kind you pay at least 100 pesos for unlimited refills. Result? Epic success. It has become such a staple at our house that I can prepare this with minimum fuss with the recipe permanently implanted in my brain.

Calamantea (Calamansi Iced Tea)

Calamansi Tea. Calaman-tea. Get it? Get it? Oh fine, shoot me.

This may seem troublesome at first, since you have to actually brew some tea, but trust me, all the effort is worth it. This recipe is enough for four liters. I’m sure that will be enough refills for each member of your family to get their fill.

Calamantea (Calamansi Iced Tea)

Six tea bags for four liters.

I start with six tea bags. I use Lipton. Nothing fancy, just the run-of-the-mill brisk black tea. Feel free to experiment, but for a control batch, try Lipton (or any other black tea) first. Boil a liter of water, take it off the stove, then let your tea steep for fifteen minutes.

While waiting, extract 1/3 cup worth of juice from calamansi. I try counting each time, but the number varies. To play it safe, I usually put aside 1/4 kilo of calamansi for this. That’s usually enough.

Calamantea (Calamansi Iced Tea)

Slice and squeeze. Slice and squeeze. Avoid getting on hangnails because it hurts like hell.

When the fifteen minutes are up, stir in your sugar and calamansi juice. It will most likely still be hot, so the sugar will dissolve easily. Top it up with an additional 3 liters of cold water. The amount of sugar I wrote down in this version is enough for a lightly sweetened tea. If you want something sweeter, add more sugar after you add the cold water. Bottle then chill. This will probably last for a couple of days when properly refrigerated. Maybe a week even. It has never lasted more than two days in our family of three (and a half, if you count Miffy). Serve it over ice on a hot day. Serve it over ice on a cool day. Serve it over ice. If you want something not iced, maybe you should opt for hot tea instead.

Calamantea (Calamansi Iced Tea)

Cost-efficient beverage alternative for holiday entertaining, yes?

Calamantea v. 27 November 2014
Makes a little over 4 liters

  • 6 tea bags
  • 4 liters water
  • 1/3 cup calamansi juice
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  1. Boil 1 liter of water.
  2. Steep 6 tea bags for 15 minutes. Remove.
  3. Add sugar and calamansi juice. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  4. Add 3 liters of water.
  5. Chill. Serve over ice.
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