1Bring 1/2 gallon of cold water to a boil. Add 8 finely crushed star anise pods, 1 teaspoon orange blossom water, the scrapings of 1 vanilla pod or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, a pinch each of ground cloves and ground cinnamon, and 1/2 cup Chinese black tea leaves.
2Boil for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup sugar and a few drops of red food coloring (optional, though traditional). Cover, steeping until tepid.
3Strain and pour the tea over plenty of crushed ice. Top with half-and-half or sweetened condensed milk.
David Wong, director of tea culture and education at Tillerman Tea, has seen all of the wrong ways that people brew tea. He’s here to show you the right way. There are three “hows” of steeping: how hot the water should be, how much tea to use, and how long to steep.