Here in California, the children asked for iced tea last weekend. Our spring in Northern California enters in fits and starts, but seventy-degree days have already arrived. Their vivid memories of last year’s pitchers of peach- and cherry-iced tea excite me to introduce these Wellspring flavors to you.

Bottled iced tea choices abound, and Americans consume bottled iced tea more than any other available tea source. Granted, it is convenient and often better for us than soft drinks or Kool-Aid. However, there is a couple of factors to remember if you are a bottled iced tea fan. First, how much are you paying per ounce for the convenience and second, are you paying for a large amount of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners/chemicals?

Making your own iced tea costs pennies a pitcher (and I’m not speaking of the large powdered drink mix available at your local warehouse store). Remember, a pound of tea provides 200 cups. If you pay $40 per pound for tea, your cost is .20 per cup, a great deal less expensive than pre-made iced tea.

The Wellspring adds 1/4 cup of sugar for every two quarts of iced tea we make. This is not ideal, considering how much we drink. However, we end up drinking a teaspoon and a half per 8-ounce cup, which according to my dietitian friend, equals less than 25 calories. Because tea and water do not add to the calorie count, our favorite summer drink costs us next to nothing.

Adding to the above a lack of artificial sweeteners, colors, or other additives, making your own iced tea from loose leaf tea provides an affordable and healthy warm-weather drink.

Last summer, Wellspring Tea’s peach and cherry iced tea flew off the shelf. Stay tuned! We will announce as soon as it is available this year. In the meantime, celebrate the beginning of spring wherever you live with this wonderful description and thoughts of glass pitchers sparkling in the sunshine filled with clear, ruby-red, cherry iced tea shared with a friend under the oak trees.

Meet me for tea at three,

P.S. Using the sun tea method of placing bagged tea in a glass jar in the sun is not ideal for two reasons. One, if real tea leaves are being used, especially black, the water will not reach boiling level to release their full flavor. Second, without the water really hot, bacteria growth is a strong possibility.