Plantation Iced Tea is a popular drink in Hawaii, and found on menus of restaurants and cafes. It's made from black tea, pineapple juice, and simple syrup. Refreshing on a warm day!
All you need is three ingredients.
What Is Plantation Iced Tea?
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Everyone in Hawaii knows Plantation Iced Tea. It's basically iced tea + pineapple juice. Always served iced.
It is one of the most refreshing drinks you can imagine on a hot Hawaii afternoon.
Plantation Iced Tea goes by a few other names including:
- Pineapple Iced Tea
- Hawaiian Iced Tea
- Honolulu Iced Tea
But at most restaurants and cafes, you'll find it listed on the menu as Plantation Iced Tea. This drink is easy to make, and requires just three ingredients:
- Black tea
- Pineapple juice
- Simple syrup
Let's take a closer look at each ingredient...
You can use any type of black tea as long as it is a non-flavored tea. (Eg. don't use a black tea blended with chocolate, caramel, fruity flavors, etc).
I often rotate between these three to make Plantation Iced Tea:
- PG Tips - Always reliable and tea bags make for easy brewing.
- Boba Guys Blend No.1 - Classic malty black tea. Also great for making milk teas.
- Fortnum & Mason: Royal Blend (pictured) - Blend of two black teas: Pekoe and Assam.
For best results, cold-brew the tea overnight in the fridge. My friend Jee has a great cold-brew guide here.
Cold-brewing will give you clear, bright flavors without astringency or bitterness. Plus, it's super easy. Fill a container with water and tea and let brew in the fridge overnight (8-12 hours). Use the ratio of 1 heaping teaspoon (or 1 tea bag) for each cup of water.
If you need to make this in a rush (like when people come visit without warning), it's ok to brew the tea hot and then let cool before mixing in the pineapple juice and simple syrup. Don't let timing stop you from making the drink ^_^
If you have time to make fresh pineapple juice (not unheard of, we have good pineapples in Hawaii 🙂 ), then do it by all means.
If not, canned pineapple juice is great. We like to use the 6 ounce cans of Dole 100% pineapple juice.
Simple syrup is...simple! It's just equal parts (1:1 ratio) of water and sugar.
Bring the water to a boil. Add the sugar. Stir till dissolved. Let cool and pour into a jar.
Variations On Plantation Iced Tea
This recipe covers the classic Plantation Iced Tea. Think of it as a base or starting point from where you can build *your* Plantation Iced Tea. Potential variations include:
- Adding crushed lemongrass stalks
- Others add fresh mint leaves and/or lemon juice.
- One friend uses orgeat (almond syrup) in place of simple syrup...the almond flavor takes the drink to another level.
- Add rum to make a boozy Plantation Iced Tea (this is very tasty).
- You can also keep it simple and add chunks (or spears!) of fresh pineapple to the drink.
Plantation Iced Tea at Restaurants
Make sure to check out the drinks section when you visit restaurants and cafes in Hawaii. You'll find Plantation Iced Tea on a lot of menus. A few places that do it nice:
- La Palme D'Or Patisserie (they do a very cool version that involves pineapple jelly!)
- Cafes and casual spots including: Diamond Head Market & Grill, Morning Brew, and Waikiki Tea.
- At most hotels including: Halekulani, The Royal Hawaiian, and The Kahala. This is where you'll also find great boozy versions of Plantation Iced Tea.
Or you can try making yourself. Recipe below ^_^
- Cold-brew the tea by putting 4 heaping teaspoons of black tea leaves (or 4 tea bags) in a jar and adding 1 quart cold water. Cover the jar and leave the fridge to cold-brew for 8-12 hours.
- Once the tea is done brewing, strain out and discard the tea leaves (or remove the tea bags). You now have 1 quart of cold-brew black tea.
- In a pitcher, mix together 6 ounces pineapple juice and 2 ounces simple syrup.
- Add the 1 quart of cold-brew black tea to the pitcher and stir till combined.
- Fill glasses ice with, pour in the Plantation Iced Tea and serve!
- To make simple syrup, use equal parts (1:1 ratio) of water and white sugar. Bring the water to a boil and then add in the sugar. Mix until dissolved, and remove from heat. Let cool and store in a covered jar.
- I like to cold-brew the tea overnight, and then assemble the drink in the morning. If you are in a rush, brew the tea with hot water (brew 2 minutes) and let chill before mixing in the pineapple juice and simple syrup.