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How To Make Frozen Tea Treats

Here’s an easy tutorial on how to make tea ice popsicles and granitas (an Italian sweet that lies somewhere between sorbet and Italian ice).

First, brew your chosen tea at double strength (using twice the leaves you’d normally use).  Strain your tea leaves.  Then, add your preferred sweetener – and plenty of it!  (As the tea freezes, it will lose a lot of the sweetness in the flavor.) We recommend coconut palm sugar, or if you’d like, you can also add flavor by blending in ingredients like lemon juice, mango nectar, finely chopped mint leaves, puréed strawberries or almond paste. No matter what you add, stir it in very well.

Ryokucha ice pops with ginger simple syrup
Ryokucha Green Tea Ice Pops with Ginger Simple Syrup

For Tea Popsicles:

Pour your tea into popsicle molds (or into tall, narrow, heat-safe, freezer-safe plastic cups, with one spoon sticking out of each cup) and place them in the freezer.  After the first hour, stir the mixture.  (This helps keep the sweetener and other ingredients from concentrating in the tips of the ice pops.)  Then, keep them in the freezer until frozen (about four hours, depending on the size and your particular freezer). Tea popsicles taste the best when enjoyed within one week of freezing.

For Tea Granita:

Pour the tea mixture into a shallow, heat- and freezer-safe dish. (If it’s a metal baking pan, be careful not to burn yourself.)  Place it flat in the freezer.  After 45 minutes (or once ice crystals have formed across the top of the liquid’s surface), remove the dish and scrape a fork through it, breaking the ice into fine crystals.

Repeat this process every 30 minutes, until the mixture is thoroughly frozen, and once again immediately before serving.  Serve your granita in small bowls

Honey, Peach, and Fukamushi Sencha Green Tea and  Granita
Pureed Peach, Tupelo Honey, and Sencha Green Tea Granita with a Lavender Sprig.

or wide glasses, and garnish with mint or a slice of fruit for more color. Your tea granita will keep (covered) in the freezer for about a week.

In Italy, the preferred texture for granitas varies from town to town.  If you want a smoother granita (with a consistency like an ICEE), scrape it more often.  If you prefer larger ice crystals (with a consistency more like a Sno-Cone), scrape it less often. Depending on the final texture, it may be easier to consume it with a straw or with a spoon.

Tea Ice Cubes

Black Tea Ice Cubes with pineapple and mint

For tea ice cubes, instead of letting ice water dilute your chilled tea as you sip it, you can freeze the same tea type (to keep your flavor consistent) or a different tea type to mix things up. You can also add honey or lemon juice to the ice cubes, making the flavor become more complex as the ice melts.

For added visual appeal, wait until your ice cubes are half-way frozen, then drop a beautiful brewed tea leaf (oolongs are great for this), rose petal, ripe raspberry or other colorful, food-safe item into the center of each cube.

Stay cool and enjoy!

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