There are a lot of things that can cause bad tasting iced tea and I’ll focus on a couple of them.
If you’re brewing it, you could be making bitter-tasting tea, but I’m not talking about what it tastes like when it’s freshly brewed.
Great tasting iced tea can turn into bad tasting iced tea overnight. It doesn’t matter if it’s brewed tea or instant.
If you won’t drink water from the tap because it doesn’t taste good, why would you use it for tea? Nevertheless, many people do. The taste of the water can vary depending on what the water company adds to the water. When used for tea, it may taste okay when it’s fresh, but it’ll probably taste pretty bad when it sits for a couple of hours.
Frankly, I refuse to use tap water to make tea. After drinking it with filtered water (where the particulates and chemicals have been removed) for more than 20 years, I can tell when it’s been made with tap water during the first sip.
I’ve searched the Internet for the exact reason but it’s kind of vague. The best anyone could come up with is that the tea starts to ferment, starts to sour due to some form of bacteria, or it starts to decompose.
Storing iced tea in the refrigerator for more than a day doesn’t seem possible with tap water. I know because I’ve tried. After a day, it turns into bad tasting iced tea. It even smells bad. On the other hand, I can keep it in the refrigerator for two or three days if I used filtered water.
If the outside temperature is cold, I’m more likely to drink a cup of coffee or a cup of hot tea. I prefer a teabag for the hot tea, but I’ve used instant iced tea in a pinch.
If the outside temperature is hot, I’m more likely to drink iced tea. I’ll make it by the pitcher and finish it off the same day. Of course, that only happens if I’m home all day. If I’m going to be running around, I’ll make a glass at a time and I’ll use instant tea. Brewing tea doesn’t make sense for a glass at a time.
If I accidentally sip on bad tasting iced tea, it will ruin things for me. The bad taste seems to stay with me for days. It’s the same thing with added flavoring, like lemon or raspberry. I have instant iced tea and teabags in my kitchen cabinet now, waiting to be used. I haven’t made a glass or a cup in weeks because my younger son decided to make us iced tea with tap water in December. His excuse? We were out of bottled water.
There are hundreds of things I can drink instead of bad tasting iced tea. If I can’t have good tasting iced tea, I won’t have it at all.