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Why does tea become cloudy? For some reason my husband has...

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Question by Linda
Submitted on 9/7/2003
Related FAQ: rec.food.drink.tea FAQ
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Why does tea become cloudy?  For some reason my husband has a problem with this.  We have an electric tea machine, when i make tea it is clear, but when my husband makes tea it is cloudy.  (iced tea w/sugar)

Answer by II Timothy
Submitted on 1/27/2004
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GH chemists, Lipton Tea Co and the NY City-based Tea Association of the USA say that when tea steeps, tannins - the natural compounds that color tea leaves - are released into the boiling water.  The heat helps dissolve them, and the brew is clear enough to see through.   But refrigeration causes tannins to separate out again, turning the tea murky.   Generally, higher-quality tea contains more tannins (because it is richer in solids) and is more likely to become cloudy.  Hard water is another culprit behind hazy tea.  

You can fix it....

Here's How:

Make up your iced tea, with whatever recipe you want. Do not put it straight into the refrigerator after it's made. Let it cool at room temperature first. THEN put it in the fridge. Cooling too fast makes the tannin settle out, causing cloudy tea.


Hard water can also make your iced tea cloudy. If your tea is already cloudy, add some hot water to it.


Answer by ginny
Submitted on 2/3/2004
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I've been making tea for years, never had
any trouble with  cloudiness til I moved here (GA)from (VA), I've let it stand after making til it completely cooled; before
refrigerating..used sugar and left it out;
doesn't seem to make any difference (It'
s Lipton's)  so apparently it's the water.


Answer by TeaFor2
Submitted on 4/14/2005
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Ginny has missed one important part of what Timothy quoted.  Higher quality tea has more solids.  Lipton tea you buy out of the supermarket is not high quality tea.


Answer by Dottie
Submitted on 6/11/2005
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Tea is expensive so don't throw it out.  Cloudy ice tea can be made clear by adding a generous amount of very hot water. This also removes the bitter taste.


Answer by Jason_m
Submitted on 12/1/2005
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I have had one of those mr. coffee iced tea machines.  6 Litpon bags cut open and put into the basket with a filter works best.  It seems as most other brands of tea bags are weaker, so that I have to put up to 10 bags in the basket.  With that much tea in the basket, it seems as it's not getting wet enough, and almost always the resulting iced tea comes out weak and very cloudy.  So I only use the machine with Lipton tea bags.  Normally I just heat up water on the stove, and steep the 10 bags double strength directly on the stove for 7 minutes tops. Pour over water and ice, it always comes out great that way.


Answer by Southern Sweet-tea
Submitted on 4/22/2006
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Nothing is more infuriating to a southerner (and one that started drinking tea at a year old) than having a pitcher of tea go cloudy! I have tried everything--I was combining decaf w/regular tea to cut down on the caffeine, so originally I thought this was the culprit, but no! I let my tea brew to room temperature (all day!) until refrigerating, but still to no avail. And suspecting it could possibly be the water, I've used boiled bottled water...still no...UGHhhh! Any more ideas would be appreciated...I've started drinking Coke as an alternative, so please save me...thanks! Goin' crazy in the Pacific Northwest.


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