Friday, January 27, 2006

How can you screw up iced tea? Thanks for asking!

There are two restaurants near my office that my colleagues and I frequent for lunch. Both are owned by the same people. (Yes I know that's a misplaced modifier or some grammatical crap like that.) And both feature a beverage you may not wish to encounter in your quest for refreshment. No, I’m not talking about the choking hazard that is bubble tea. (Which will, I’m convinced, follow the meaty gelatin dishes so popular in the 1960s down the garbage disposal of Food Trends Likely to Haunt your Dreams.) I’m talking about cloudy iced tea. Unintentionally cloudy iced tea.

Now, this is a problem for me. I prefer my tea to be translucent enough to read large, warped print through. I also want it to be a warm, glowing amber. (The color. Not the twit who married Rob McCreepystache from Survivor.) If I wanted an opaque, brown beverage, I’d have ordered chocolate milk. Or a chai latte. Or diarrhea with some non-fat, non-dairy creamer.

Why is the tea cloudy? Do you soak diapers in it, Oh Restaurants in Question? Dentures? Does the water undergo a complicated flavoring and filtration process involving gutters, downspouts, and the sewer? What comprises that sediment, cloudy iced tea purveyors?

What’s that, delightful readers? You would like me to describe the taste of cloudy tea? Well, I’d rather not relive this gastronomical nightmare, but for you, I will. Here are the images that come to mind when I close my eyes and think of cloudy iced tea: nougat … Borax laundry powder … the OxyClean fine family of products (as seen on TV!) … baking soda … and cinnamon. With lemon.

Here’s a recipe for unsweetened cloudy iced tea* that you can try at home. (Warning: do not attempt if you desire a healthy digestive system.) First, crush some generic aspirin with a mortar and pestle. About 25 aspirin should suffice. Shake crushed aspirin into large pitcher. Find a barn somewhere. Does it have an old-fashioned, hand-pump well? Good. Begin pumping water from the cistern into the pitcher. Easy does it! That water moves fast once you’re pumping. Next, tap some dust from your shoes into the pitcher. (This is the special, secret ingredient! Shhhhh!) Then, grate some bark from the nearest Box Elder tree into the pitcher. About a cup should do it. Is there a farmhouse near the barn? Excellent! Knock on the door and ask the farmer if you can borrow a dirty pair of his underwear. Run it under the water from the pump, and then wring it into the pitcher. Find some shriveled ice cubes with a hint of onion from the back of the freezer and dump them into the pitcher. If a few fall on the floor, that’s okay. Pick them up and toss them in. Stir with a spoon someone found with a metal detector in 1988. Add lemon and sugar to taste.

*Does not contain actual tea.

In closing, I’m afraid we’ll have to part ways, iced tea from restaurants near my place of employment. I’m sad to say goodbye, but I just don’t think this relationship is working out. I’m sure you’ll be fine without me. Plenty of people like cloudy drinks. Plenty of visually impaired people with damaged tastebuds. So keep the faith, cloudy tea. I just know you’ll find a nice new stomach to call home.


  1. Too funny. Now I'm wondering which restaurant it is.

    We stopped going to one of the Mexican restaurants after we waited for over 45 minutes for our food. If you were paying attention, you could see that whoever was cooking could only handle one order at a time. It's not a big place, either.

  2. Anonymous2:58 PM

    Cute! Especially liked the recipe. I can see why you are dubious about the tea. I'm not a big tea drinker, but even I would notice the cloudiness aspect, I think.

  3. ick! that would make me think it was poured into a dirty glass...but every single time it's like that? perhaps the secret ingredient is flood water? :)

  4. eeeeeeYuck! :V )

  5. hello, thank you for stopping by, I'm not brave at all mind, just curious, like a cat.

    Did you know that the worst thing that you can do to a Brit, who's away from home, is to offer them "a nice cup of tea" , and then screw it up somehow...

    A teabag, some hot water, a little milk and a spoonful of sugar...make the world go around?

  6. LOL! You just reminded me of a funny story. Maybe I'll blog about it sometime.

  7. Anonymous10:17 PM

    OMG, I hope you didn't drink that... :(

  8. Anonymous10:46 PM

    yukky. You know what else is gross? My 15-month-old likes to sip from my water glass and she always backwashes: bits of peas, grapes, hummus smooge. What's wrong with her? Oh and I don't understand that boba tapioca beads stuck in your straw trend. People are sheep.

  9. Where can I order some of that? It sounds delicious and seems like I could catch some sort of buzz off of it!


    I like reading your blog!

  10. So funny! I agree on the ice tea. It's a very dicey proposition, this ordering ice tea at restaurants. My hubby does it all the time and often ends up not drinking it. I think it's cloudy because it's not fresh. My complaint is when places have "flavored" ice tea. Yuck. Original or nothing for me.

    Greetings from Brew-town.

  11. Anonymous4:09 PM

    I love your "recipe."

    We were on I-95 for about 7 hours today, which meant we absolutely had to stop at a Cracker Barrel for lunch and countrified shopping. I drank a ton of iced tea--actually, it was "sweet tea" ('cause I can't get sweet tea where I live) and it was perfectly brewed. Not too sugary, nice and clear. With extra lemon. Southerners know how to make iced tea. I run into way too much of the cloudy crap you describe where I live.

  12. Anonymous5:43 PM

    According to some website I just read, Iced tea becomes cloudy when it cools too fast after brewing. It shouldn't affect the taste, but I'd say that if a restaurant doesn't care whether their tea is clear or cloudy, they probably don't care that it might taste like garbage juice.

  13. Anonymous6:29 PM

    I found this post because I am sitting at a restaurant right now with a glass of cloudy tea in front of me. I couldn't agree with you more! Down with cloudy tea!

  14. Amusing yet this is very true. Tea shouldn't be cloudy. Maybe the restaurant might have chilled the tea too fast by putting it in the refrigerator after brewing.