iced teaSummer time = iced tea time! Yeah! I love iced tea during the hot, sweaty days of summer. Nothing is more refreshing.

And, sure store-bought bottled iced tea is convenient and can be fast.

But it’s also (frequently) loaded with sugar and preservatives. The sugar ranges from the horrible high fructose corn syrup to the less-than-ideal cane sugar to the bitter-aftertaste of stevia. In the case of the first two, that’s NOT a figure-friendly beverage; it’s just sugar water with a hint of tea. Stevia, and the other ‘diet’ sweeteners, not only taste like crap, increasing research suggests they’re not any better for your waistline than the real stuff. So, watch out for sweetened bottled tea.

Bottled TeaThe second issue with bottled iced teas is that because they need to have such a long shelf life and be stable in many temperature and shipping conditions, they contain preservatives. These preservatives can range from the relatively benign to the rather unsavory. They oftentimes change the flavor of the tea, and depending on the variety used, can be quite difficult to breakdown and excrete from the body. Maybe not the healthiest thing for your body or the best for detoxing and achieving weight loss goals.

Finally, store-bought tea gets pricey–fast. $2 a bottle. $3. $5 a bottle?!?!

Those are the reasons why store-bought iced tea is a distant second for me. Now, why I think you’re better off making your own at home.

First, more variety! There are many more kinds of dry tea than will ever make it into bottled tea. Whether you like oolong, lavender, Belight, chamomile, pu-erh, or some other unique flavor, making your own means you get to make the exact flavor you want. You also choose the ratio of tea to water, stronger tea or weaker tea, more bitter or lighter in flavor–it’s all up to you.

You also control how sweet it is, or if it has sugar at all. Same with adding fruit, mint leaves, or other aromatics–you can decide if you want your tea with more punch. And of course, no added stabilizers, emulsifiers, preservatives, or any other additives.

iced tea 6You can do it in large pitcher and serve lots of people (or just yourself for a long time), or make it in individual bottles and have lots of different flavors on hand. Either way, it’s definitely more cost-effective than bottled iced teas. If you opt for single-serve bottles (like in the picture), keep them in the fridge and then grab one on your way out the door, for a cool, refreshing drink in the car. Uber convenient!

And finally, perhaps the best reason: it’s super fast. In fact, if you use hot water, then pour over ice, it can be faster to make iced tea at home than to go out in the heat, make your way to the store, and buy some.

Booyah, making iced tea at home is waaay better!

Looking for at-home iced tea ideas? Click here to check out DIY iced tea tips and recipes.