A great twist on the traditional tea, made with fresh cherries, black tea and lemon. Hot and iced recipe versions included, which makes this tea the perfect drink for any season. I have also included optional version with cherry leaves, if you want to try something a bit different.
Why make this recipe?
- Great as a iced tea in summer with fresh cherries, ice cubes and a dash of lemon
- Perfect as a hot fruit tea for any time of the year
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Notes on the main ingredients
I like to use black breakfast tea leaves to make this tea recipe, but you can also use tea bags. Ideally you want to use Chinese tea leaves, which are lighter in flavour than tea from India.
If you want to try something a bit different, try Earl Grey or Lady Grey tea to add a hint of bergamot to your tea.
Black-flavoured teas are also fine, but go with a flavour that will compliment the cherry flavour, otherwise, the flavours might clash.
You can use red cherries for fresh and light flavour or use morello cherries for darker, deeper flavour. I prefer to use fresh cherries, when they are in a season (June/July) but you can also use frozen cherries or even cherry compote or preserved cherries.
Cherry jam will work too, but don’t add any sugar in the tea, unless it really needs it. The sugar in the cherry jam should be plenty to sweeten the tea.
White sugar is what I use most of the time, but you can also use honey, golden syrup or golden syrup substitutes, agave or maple syrup or maple syrup alternatives. White sugar has the least flavour, so it’s the best choice for this recipe, but light brown sugar (not dark brown) can be also used if you want to ad slightly caramelised flavour.
Cherries could be quite sweet and perhaps a bit bland as a flavour, so sharpen the tea flavour, you need some lemon or lime juice. You can also use citric acid (which is just a concentrated lemon juice) if you have any.
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How to make Cherry Tea Recipe (hot or iced) with fresh cherries
Boil the water first in a medium sized saucepan and pour over the black tea. Leave to infuse for 3 minutes or so (depending on how strong you like your tea). Don’t leave the tea in for too long, otherwise, the tea could make the drink too bitter.
Add cherries and sugar. Mix and let the sugar fully dissolve before letting the whole mixture to simmer for 5 minutes to soften the cherries.
Pour the cherries mixture through a fine sieve and using a spoon make sure that you get as much of the cherries through the sieve as possible. Discard the leftover cherries.
Add the lemon juice and taste.
I always start with the basic cherry tea recipe, but depending on the season I also add different flavours depending on what I have in the kitchen cupboard or what’s in season. Here are some of my favourite combination for both iced and hot version of this recipe.
Iced cherry tea
- Cherry & Lime – use lime juice instead of lemon – the flavour will be sharper
- Cherry & Gin – add a gin to the iced tea to spice up your drink
Hot cherry tea
- Spiced Cherry Tea – add warming spice to your hot tea, such as aniseed, cinnamon, cloves
- Cherry & Brandy – add a dash of whisky or brandy to make your drink extra special
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How to serve cherry tea
The best thing about this cherry tea recipe is that you can serve it hot or cold.
TO SERVE CHERRY TEA HOT
To serve the tea hot, make sure it’s served straight after you’ve made it as it will be at it’s freshest. You can garnish it with extra cherries or a slice of orange and add a dash of warming cherry syrup or even some alcohol.
A pinch of warming spice, such as aniseed or cloves also work great with the cherry flavour and are perfect way to serve this tea in the autumn and winter time.
TO SERVE CHERRY TEA COLD
To serve your cherry tea cold, leave it to cool down first in a room temperature and then move to the fridge to chill properly. Prepare glasses with some ice cubes and pour the tea over the ice to serve. Garnish with extra cherries and fresh mint leave if you have any. A slice of lemon works also great.
What to do if you don’t have a fresh cherries
Cherry fruit tea bags
You have a couple of different options here. You can buy cherry fruit teabags and use them instead of cherries. I would use about 2-3 teabags for this recipe to make sure the tea is strong enough.
Frozen or tinned (canned) cherries
Another option is to use frozen or tinned cherries, although I’d prefer to use frozen ones. It’s best to freeze your own, if you have the chance to do this in the summer.
If you are using tinned or canned cherries, check first how much sugar is in the syrup.
It’s not a problem as such, but don’t add any more sugar from the recipe, until you are happy with the flavour. I’d also use the syrup as part of the water to add extra flavour.
Cherry jam is the perfect way to add cherry flavour to your tea if you don’t have fresh cherries or when cherries are not in the season.
Make the tea first and add a large tablespoon per cup or person. Mix everything together and leave to infuse. At this stage, don’t add any extra sugar as the sugar from the jam should be plenty to make the drink sweet.
If you want to you can leave the jam in to dissolve completely and leave all the extra cherries or bits in. Alternatively, if you want to have a clear drink, pour the cherry tea through a strainer (you can use the cherry pieces as a topping for a breakfast porridge or add them to a smoothie).
Taste the tea and add sugar (if needed) and lemon juice or citric acid to sharpen the flavour. Serve hot or leave to cool down for an iced version of this tea.
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How to make tea from cherry leaves
You can also make tea from cherry leaves, but it won’t have an actual cherry flavour – you can add the fresh cherries or other flavoured cherry ingredients to the tea.
If you have some real cherry leaves you can use them instead of the black tea in the recipe. The flavour is going to be more herbal than regular black tea taste.
Cherry leaves have many health benefits and can be brewed into a tea that is rich in antioxidants. Cherry blossom tea is also a popular tea made from cherry leaves.
You can add honey or lemon to taste if you like. You can also mix cherry leaves with other herbs or tea leaves to create a unique flavor.
To make tea from cherry leaves, you can follow these simple steps:
- Gather fresh cherry leaves.
- Rinse the leaves thoroughly with cold water.
- Boil water in a pot or kettle.
- Add the cherry leaves to the boiling water.
- Let the leaves steep in the boiling water for about 5-10 minutes.
- Strain the leaves from the tea.
- Pour the tea into a cup and enjoy.
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 tablespoon black tea leaves or use about 2 black tea bags
- 1 cup cherries pitted and stalks removed
- 3 tablespoons sugar or to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or to taste
- ice cubes if making an iced version
- Boil the water first in a medium sized saucepan and pour over the black tea. Leave to infuse for 3 minutes or so (depending on how strong you like your tea).
- Add cherries and sugar. Mix and let the sugar fully disolve before letting the whole mixture to simmer for 5 minutes to soften the cherries.
- Pour the cherries mixture through a fine sieve and using a spoon make sure that you get as much of the cherries through the sieve as possible. Discard the leftover cherries.
- Add the lemon juice and taste.
- Serve hot or cool down for iced cherry tea.
- Leave to cool down first and then move to fridge to chill properly.
- Serve with extra ice cubes
This blog post was originally written on 25 June 2021 and last updated 15 August 2023