Here are three great ways to make iced green tea, Southern-style

Kei Nishida
Ice Tea Green

Y’all know we love our classic Southern sweet tea. But we also love to try new things with our tea, which is why we’ve enlisted the help of green tea expert Kei Nishida, who is teaching us to make sweet tea with a little Japanese flair.

I’ve lived in the US for over 20 years now. It almost feels like a lifetime. But I still remember the early days when I just moved here from Japan. I was a young high school student looking for ways to make it in the new world. While the transition to the states wasn’t easy, I fairly quickly adapted to the “Western” way of living.

I did miss Japan, and I especially missed a few things I took for granted while living at home. Green tea and tea ceremonies were on the top of this list. I knew that it’ll be hard to continue with my tea drinking rituals but I wasn’t going to give up. I started looking for ways to incorporate green tea into my everyday life. And it wasn’t long before it hit me — why not mix my favorite types of tea with American recipes?

It did take some time to fine-tune my experiments, and let’s just say that some recipes proved to be a bit much. Green tea doesn’t mix well with some foods and drinks. But when it does, it is revelatory. And what better way to get your dose of antioxidant-filled tea than by adding to to food and drinks you’re already consuming?

Mezcal Green Tea Arnold Palmer

I’m here to show you, my Southern cuisine loving friends, how you can start adding green tea to your favorite summer drink. Yep, the one and only sweet tea. I lived in Columbia, South Carolina for a few years and I loved the culture of the South. I now live in Portland, Oregon, but I often visit my friends in South Carolina. And every time I’m there for a visit, they serve a batch of sweet tea.

Right next to friendly people, sunny weather, corn and barbecues, sweet tea is one of the first things I think of when I think of the South. This makes sweet tea the perfect gateway drink to green tea and matcha powders.

Let’s jump straight into it. For every cup of green tea, be it iced or hot, we need to first pick the type of tea we’ll use. I always avoid green tea bags. I know these are the most widely available and probably the easiest to make, but the quality of tea bags can’t even compare with authentic Japanese whole leaf teas or matcha powders.

Green Tea Leaves

True tea lovers actually have fairly rigorous rules when it comes to brewing green tea. You have to pick the right type of water (yes, there’s more than one type of water), the right brewing method, the right kettle for the type of tea you’re using, and so on. But that’s too much. For now, let’s focus on the basics.

Again, avoid tea bags. Steep loose leaf tea for 1 to 3 minutes at a temperature of 180 to 185 degrees. If you do these two things correctly you’re good to continue.

Now that we have our teas, we can get to the fun part: adding sweeteners and extra flavorful goodies. Here are three simple iced green tea recipes you can make in your kitchen.

Lime-Lemon-Honey Iced Green Tea

This is a refreshing and rejuvenating drink that is perfect for sunny days when you feel you’d like to try something different.


2 teaspoons loose leaf green tea or 1 teaspoon matcha powder

5 cups water

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 to 1/2 cup honey

Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Lime and lemon slices, for garnish


First, start by brewing the tea in 2 cups of the water. 

Bring out your pitcher and pour the remaining 3 cups of water in it. Add the lime and lemon juice to the pitcher. When the green tea is brewed, wait for it to cool a bit and stir in the honey to taste. Then, pour the tea and honey mixture into the pitcher. Stir the whole thing until well blended.

Refrigerate the tea until chilled. Add the mint leaves, and the lime and lemon slices before serving over ice. Voila!


Ginger and Mint Sweet Iced Green Tea

Ginger makes everything it touches zesty. This drink is perfect for long summer nights when you feel you need something spicy.


2 teaspoons loose leaf green tea or 1 teaspoon matcha powder

5 cups water

1/4 cup peeled and sliced fresh ginger

1 lemon, halved

Fresh mint leaves

1 to 2 cups sugar


As before, start by brewing the tea in 2 cups of the water. 

In a separate pot, combine the remaining 3 cups water and the ginger slices. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it boils, remove from the heat and pour the brewed green tea in the pot with the ginger. Squeeze the juice from half of the lemon into the pot and stir in a handful of mint leaves. Cover the pot and let everything steep for 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the lid and strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher. Stir in the sugar to taste. Refrigerate the tea until chilled. Before serving, add 1 to 2 lemon slices, additional mint leaves and ice cubes to each glass.

Matcha Powder

Iced Matcha Latte

Do you want to surprise your guests with a unique iced tea blend that will blow them away? This iced matcha latte might be your best bet. You can use any type of milk you’d like, even alternative milks such as almond, in this drink. Just keep in mind that higher fat milks will produce more froth.


1/2 cup milk of your choice (see note)

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons matcha powder

1 tablespoon vanilla syrup


Ice cubes


In a cocktail shaker, combine the milk and water. Sift the matcha into the milk mixture and add the vanilla syrup and additional sugar to taste. Shake until chilled and frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. (If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you can mix the ingredients in a blender.)

Once the mixture is well shaken, you can use it to create two smaller lattes or one large one. Add ice to serving glasses and pour the mixture from the shaker into the glass. (Iced matcha tea goes great with a small amount if whipped cream if you really want to take it over the top.)