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Looseleaf Iced Tea with Berry Lime and Pineapple Orange Simple Syrup

Looseleaf Iced Tea with Berry Lime and Pineapple Orange Simple Syrup

Iced tea

The heat wave has arrived.

It’s going to be 107 soon, and our pool area burned to the ground about a week ago.

My husband and I were lounging in bed when we heard the screaming. He was watching the History channel, and I was scrolling through Pinterest, looking for tomorrow’s dinner recipe.

I asked him if he heard the noise, but he shrugged it off. I rolled over.

Ten minutes later, I got up to brush my teeth, but heard more commotion outside. The flashing lights from a convoy of cop cars reflected through our windows and onto the bathroom walls.

I opened the front door.

Instantly, a wall of smoke sucked into our home like a warm breath, stinging my eyes and filling my lungs. I coughed, burying my face in the sleeve of my worn Glacier National Park hoodie.

“Babe, come here!”

Together, we stepped onto the sidewalk. I felt the heat of the flames on my face, a warm, destructive sun. My legs were shaking.

“Is anyone in there? Is everyone okay? Get out of your houses!”

People were banging on doors, dodging firetrucks and small children frozen in awe… or fear.

“Get out! Get out! Fire!”

I stood in the dark next to neighbors I’d never met. We waited, in our pajamas and hair curlers with zit cream on our faces, cell phones armed like guns.

We recorded the footage. We didn’t know what else to do.

We were helpless.

The flames surged higher, licking the limbs of the trees that took decades to grow and would be destroyed in just moments.

Our entire neighborhood breathed in as much smoke as we could handle, keys in hand, mentally checking off what to throw in the car for the evacuation.







God, what’s really important in my house that I can’t bear to lose?

Mothers around me were counting heads, tall standing lighthouses, children clinging to their limbs like they were ladder rungs.

My husband’s hand burned into mine. I squeezed it.

“Is everyone safe?”

The woman across from me grabbed a passing fireman by his thick, ashy coat sleeve. She couldn’t be much younger than seventy, but her gray hair was stained black.

The fireman’s eyes were fixed on the flames, burning two stories of books, t-shirts, school projects, memories. Someone had smashed the glass on a fire extinguisher, and it sat foaming at the mouth, used up, on the sidewalk.

The wind surged, whistling past us, squeezing into the tiny spaces that remained between strangers permanently knitted together by this tragedy.

“Not sure,” he replied.

The smoke swallowed him, and we were alone.

As it turns out, everyone was safe. We found out the next day, after foggy, sleepless nights full of terrible dreams and lots of coughing.

We’re still waiting to hear what caused the fire.

The summer heat here doesn’t help, and neither does the dry air, suffocating you the moment you step outside.

I used to live on the ocean, where the temperature rarely spiked above 75 and nobody needed air conditioning in their homes.

Where we are now, though… it’s a desert. People use blue- and white-striped umbrellas just walking from their cars to the entrance of the grocery store. Walking anywhere, really.

Even inside, in the AC, I feel the pressure of the relentless heat on my body… leaking in through the cracks in the blinds and the gap under the door.

We’ve had to find different ways to cool down: wet towels, aloe spray, cold drinks.

I have always loved iced tea, but it’s not something I would ever buy at the store. Here, in this desert, it has been a saving grace.

When I married my husband, our “cold drinks” game changed. Juices and teas are some of his favorite things on earth. I’ve at least been able to shift him from pop to Hansen’s (with cane sugar) to La Croix and mineral waters.

He could drink Tejava unsweetened iced tea every single day.

I typically only drink water and juices I make myself, but if I’m having iced tea, it’s probably going to be sweetened. And if it’s sweetened with organic sugar and fresh fruit that I’ve made, EVEN BETTER.

When he requested tea for our next grocery list, I decided to just make it myself. We always have good-quality looseleaf tea on hand, and I don’t use it as much as I should.

Here’s an easy homemade iced tea recipe to make all summer long, whether you’re battling 100 degree temperatures like I am, or you just need a nice drink for dinner tonight.


What You’ll Need: 

-6T looseleaf tea
-1c organic cane sugar
-1c fruits of choice, fresh if possible (I used pineapple and orange in one, frozen berries and lime in another)
-Glass bottle
-Large glass pitcher


For the Iced Tea:

-While selecting your pitcher, multiply Tablespoons of Looseleaf2cups of water your pitcher should hold. For example, I’m using 6T looseleaf, so my pitcher should hold 12c water, or 3 quarts.

Quick Cook

  1. Put 6 cups of filtered water into a pot on the stove (equal cups to how many T looseleaf you’re using).
  2. Measure 6T looseleaf and put it in your glass pitcher.
  3. Once the water is “almost boiling,” or about 190 degrees, dump it into the pitcher with the looseleaf and let it steep for 5 minutes.
  4. Add 6 more cups of cold, filtered water.
  5. Strain the entire mixture through cheesecloth or a fine straining sieve and discard the looseleaf tea pieces.

Overnight Tea

  1. Fill a pitcher with 6T looseleaf tea and 12c filtered water.
  2. Let it sit overnight for at least 8 hours.
  3. Strain the entire mixture through cheesecloth or a fine straining sieve and discard the looseleaf tea pieces.



For the Syrup:

  1. Add 1c fruit, 1c sugar, and 1c water to a pot on the stove.
  2. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn down to low (3).
  3. Stir frequently. Continue cooking until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 5-6 minutes. Then, let the mixture simmer for 10 more minutes, until the fruit is very soft.
  4. Let cool slightly. Strain everything through cheesecloth or a fine straining sieve. Discard the fruit pieces.
  5. Use a funnel to transfer the syrup to your glass bottle.
  6. This will keep for about 2 weeks in your refrigerator. Be sure to label it or otherwise mark its “best by” date.

Combination Ideas:

-1c pineapple and the juice of 3 clementines
-1c frozen organic berries and the juice of 2 limes
-1c raspberries and the juice of 2 lemons
-1c watermelon and 1/2 mango
-1c blueberry and 1/2c frozen strawberries

You can try all kinds of combinations!




I’m beyond relieved nobody was hurt in the fire.

I definitely hugged my husband a little closer this week (and double-checked our renter’s insurance policies).

It’s close-calls like this that make you realize nothing really matters besides the health and safety of your loved ones.

And tonight, as we sit together sipping Pineapple Orange tea, I’ll be sure to tell him exactly how much I appreciate having him in my life. (:

Looking for more great drink recipes? Click here to learn how to make Anti-inflammatory Green Juice or an earthy, nutrient-dense Turnip the Beet Juice.

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44 thoughts on “Looseleaf Iced Tea with Berry Lime and Pineapple Orange Simple Syrup”

  • Oh my goodness! This is stuff that I usually only read in the news or see in movies :-O I’m glad nobody got hurt! On a side note “He was watching the History channel, and I was scrolling through Pinterest,” ahaha I can relate 100% 🙂
    ps: love your site! So glad to have found it!

    • It felt like we were in a movie! A bad one! And yes we are super lucky everyone was okay. I’m really glad you like my blog (: I really appreciate that!

  • Wow that’s crazy! I hope you never have to go through that again! Sounds horrible! But may I just say – smooth transition between the story and the ice tea 😉
    That recipe sounds lovely! I will try it asap!
    Sending love from Austria, Theresa

    • Haha I wanted to split these into two posts, but I took on the challenge of combining them together… it was tough (: I love Austria! I’ve only been there once, briefly. It was beautiful.

  • It must be such a frightening moment for you and your husband, thanks goodness no one was hurt! I love to make the pineapple iced tea myself too! Looks so refreshing!

    • Yes it was so scary! The pineapple iced tea was super unique… I don’t think I’ve had anything quite like it before. I really liked how it turned out (:

    • It was scary! The worst feeling was watching everything burn and not knowing if anyone was still in there. So helpless. But we are all good now (:

  • OMgosh, what a scary experience to have to evacuate because of a fire and not know if your home will still be standing when you get back. I think you really needed a relaxing drink like your delicious Iced Tea with Berry after such an ordeal! With everything going on, thank you so much for taking the time to share your recipe. 🙂

    • That’s exactly how I felt. I’ve never had to think that quickly about what I’d take and what would happen if our apartment was burned when we got back. Haha the iced tea was a good stress relief (:

    • I know! I still can’t believe it happened. I’m so glad everyone is okay. Let me know if you end up making one! My husband and I loveddd them (:

    • Thank you so much… that is such a huge compliment! You should definitely drink more tea haha… that’s so funny (:

    • Aww thank you so much! I’ve had the same Nikon camera forever but I did invest in a nice lens years back, and it’s still kicking (: I appreciate the compliments!

  • Wow! I’m so glad that no one was hurt! I could easily picture everything that you described in your story! That tea looks so good too….I need to try it very soon! Thank you for sharing!

    • Haha thank you so much! (: I needed something to get through the 105 degree heat we’re going to have all summer… I’ll be making this a lot!

  • wow, that is so scary! I am so glad everyone is safe! And I’m with you, my pets would be my first pick to take. Glad youre safe and sound. And, this tea! YUM!

    • Yes I was so worried that the smoke would bother the pets’ little lungs 🙁 ha poor babies. They are all fine, though! Thanks so much for reading.

  • It’s good no one was hurt! I lived in a flat that had a fire. It was in a roommate’s room at the front of the flat. Mine was at the back. Luckily no one was hurt and my stuff survived. It was something I never want to go through again.

    • Wow that sounds so terrifying 🙁 I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I’ve only ever experienced one other small fire that was put out with an extinguisher… so this huge was near me was so scary. I’m glad in your case, too, that everyone was fine… but it’s so stressful to go through!

  • OMG that is so scary! I am glad everyone was ok, but definitely not a fun situation! I love everything that you put in that ice tea and have never thought of doing it this way before. I will for sure have to try this!


    • Not a fun situation at all… agreed! You should definitely try the tea. It’s super easy and delicious. Let me know if you do and how you like it (:

  • Oh my God that is terrifying! Genuinely one of my nightmares. It’s difficult to comment on the drink for sounding uncaring but it does sound delicious! I’m so glad you and your Husband are both ok.


    • I know. I should have split this into two posts, but I wanted to take on the challenge. Haha. Such a dark topic followed by a lighter one. (: Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

  • What a scary experience! I was on the edge of my seat as I read your story. I can imagine it was a relief to know that everyone was okay. On the plus side, the iced tea sounds delicious and refreshing!

    • Aww thank you so much! It was such a relief once we found out everyone was fine … but the night-of was terrifying!

  • That must have been very scary!! Luckily you are ok! On the other hand… The icetea pics are absolutely amazing! and looks and sounds delicious! The photo’s gives me that summer feeling!

  • That is sooo scary but I am glad to hear your family is okay. The ice tea looks very delicious and it definitely will have us feeling fresh on these HOT summer days.

  • So sorry to hear about the fire! I used to live in San Diego so im used to wildfires happening often! So scary! This tea looks amazing tho and I love the pineapple being used as a cup!

    • Yes! I just moved from near Big Sur and we could smell that Sobreanes wildfire from our house for months! I’m sure you have a lot down there, too. 🙁

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