Super Easy Cold Brew Iced Tea

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The secret to the best iced tea is to cold brew it. Step-by-step directions on how to cold brew tea at home that’s amazingly simple and easy. 

Cold brew tea in glass bottles

Cold Brew Iced Tea

Cold brew iced tea makes THE BEST iced tea. It’s how you should ALWAYS make iced tea — it’s a complete game changer.

  • Cold-brewing tea is a slow and gentle steeping process that creates a sweeter and smoother tasting tea. 
  • Tannins, which make tea bitter, aren’t steeped out of the tea in cold water the way it does in hot water. This means no more bitter iced tea!
  • Because cold brewing doesn’t involve hot water, it’s perfect to make in the hot summer months.
  • It’s the easiest way to make iced tea. BUT, it does take 12 hours since cold brewing takes a while.

RELATED: Quick & Easy Iced Tea

Brewing Guide

TEA: 1.5 teaspoons loose tea or 1 tea sachet
WATER: 1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
WATER TEMPERATURE: Cold water
STEEP TIME: 12 hours (!!!)

Cold Brew Iced Tea Ingredients

What You’ll Need

My Container Pick:

Weck Cylindrical Jars, 20oz

Photo Credit: williams-sonoma.com

In the summer, I fill these Weck jars with all different kinds of iced tea.
SEE PRICE ON WILLIAMS SONOMA

How to Make Cold Brew Iced Tea

STEP 1: Put tea and water in a pitcher or glass container.

Use cool or room temperature water. No need to boil water when it comes to cold brew tea. The best tasting tea is made with the best water so use filtered water.

STEP 2: Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.

Just a note that most teas should be cold brewed for at least 12 hours EXCEPT for green teas. Green tea like sencha only need to be cold brewed for 3 hours.

Tea Sommelier’s Tip: Green tea in general is trickier to brew, both hot and cold. It can taste bitter if not made properly so always check brewing guides. Black tea, oolong tea, and herbal teas are the easiest to brew since it’s harder to mess up and should be brewed for 12 hours.

STEP 3: Strain out tea leaves.

Instead using a strainer, the easiest way to make cold brew tea is in a cold brew maker since you can just take out the infuser instead of straining the tea into another container.

STEP 4: Pour tea into a cup with or without ice.

Cold brewed tea is already chilled so adding ice is optional.

Free Cold Brew Tea Guide

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Cold Brew Tea Tips

  • A cold brew tea maker makes cold brewing tea much easier.
  • Make and store your tea in glass containers. Plastic tends to stain and leave behind odors.
  • Keep cold brewed tea in constant rotation by starting a new brew 1-2 days after starting the first.
  • Ice is optional since the tea is already chilled, but add ice to keep it colder for longer.

Questions You May Have

Is there caffeine in cold brew tea?

Unless it’s an herbal tea, there’s caffeine in cold brewed tea. There’s less caffeine in a cold brew tea (about half) than tea steeped in hot water.

Can I cold brew any kind of tea?

Yes!

Why do you use filtered water instead of tap water?

The best tasting cold brew tea is made with the best tasting water. Use filtered water to make your cold brew.

How long can I keep cold brewed tea in the refrigerator?

Up to 4 days. After that, it loses quality and starts tasting off.

Why should I use loose tea instead of tea bags?

Cold brew made from loose tea is so much better and more flavorful since loose tea is a much higher quality tea. Tea sachets are great for cold brewing too.

What’s the best way to sweeten cold brew tea?

If you want to sweeten your iced tea, use simple syrup. It’ll be the easiest to incorporate into your tea since it’s a liquid. Make your own quick simple syrup by mixing equal parts sugar and hot water until the sugar dissolves.

CONVERSION CHART

TO MAKEWATERTEA
1 serving1 cup1.5 teaspoons loose tea or 1 tea sachet
2 servings2 cups1 tablespoon loose tea or 2 tea sachets
4 servings4 cups
(1 quart)
2 tablespoons loose tea or 4 tea sachets
8 servings8 cups
(2 quarts)
4 tablespoons loose tea or 8 tea sachets

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PIN THIS COLD BREW GUIDE
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How to make iced tea

Super Easy Cold Brew Iced Tea

Author: Jee Choe
How to make the best iced tea — cold brew it! Super easy and refreshing.
4.7 from 67 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Steep Time 12 hrs
Total Time 12 hrs 2 mins
Course Drinks
Yield2 servings

INGREDIENTS
 

INSTRUCTIONS
 

  • Put tea and water in a pitcher or glass container.
    Use cool or room temperature water. The best tasting tea is made with the best water so use filtered water if possible.
  • Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
  • Strain out tea leaves.
  • Pour tea into a cup with or without ice.
    Cold brewed tea is already chilled so adding ice is optional.

NOTES

  • The formula for cold brew tea is 1.5 teaspoons of tea for every cup of water.
  • Cold brewed tea can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Green tea should be cold brewed for less time. Check brewing guide for each type of green tea to cold brew it properly.

NUTRITION

Calories: 1kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Sodium: 12mg | Calcium: 7mg
Keyword cold brew iced tea recipe, cold steeped iced tea, how to cold brew iced tea, iced tea
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ohhowcivilized and use hashtag #ohhowcivilized!

59 thoughts on “Super Easy Cold Brew Iced Tea”

  1. Great summary! What are your thoughts on brewing at room temperature vs in the refrigerator? I tend to do my coffee at room temperature on the counter but my tea in the fridge but I’m curious if anyone here prefers tea at room temperature?

    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Hi Chip, I like my tea either hot or cold so I’ve never tried to brew it at room temperature although I know some people like to brew it at room temperature for a couple of hours before storing it in the fridge. If you like yours room temperature, I don’t see any reason not to brew it that way!

      Reply
  2. Would it be okay to add a simple syrup to my loose tea iced tea and if so should i wait for the syrup to cool down to room temperature before adding it to the cold brew tea.

    Reply
    • Hi Lenny, best to wait till the simple syrup cools down a bit before adding into your iced tea but if you’re in a hurry, you can just add more ice. And yes, definitely ok to add the simple syrup to your iced tea if you prefer.

      Reply
  3. I usually make a 2 quart (usually 8 cups all together) pitcher of cold brew tea what would be the right amount of equal parts sugar and water for my simple syrup that would give me just the right amount of sweetness but not overly sweet.

    Reply
    • Hi Lenny, it’s a little hard to say since everyone’s idea of the right amount of sweetness is a bit different. I would start with 1/2 cup of sugar for the 8 cups and adjust from there.

      Reply
  4. What would be the maximum time that i can cold brew my loose iced tea in the refrigerator before having to strain it

    Reply
    • Hi Lenny, you can probably go up to 48 hours but I wouldn’t do it for longer since the cold brew would be too strong.

      Reply
    • Hi Abdulazis, you can use simple syrup which is half sugar (you can also use honey) and half water that comes to a boil on a stovetop.

      Reply
  5. I’m making an 8 cup pitcher of loose tea iced tea by adding 1 teaspoon of loose tea for every cup so basically i’m using 8 teaspoons but if i wanted to make a stronger tasting tea how much more teaspoons can i add to the pitcher. Should i double that amount (16 teaspoons) or less than that.

    Reply
    • Hi Lenny, I would double if you want it to be super strong. But if you just want iced tea that’s stronger than normal, I would go with 12 teaspoons for 8 cups.

      Reply
  6. Hi! How long it last the ice tea in the refrigerator after the cold brew? It would be better to add the fruit and the leaves of mint or basil when i am going to serve it if i want my ice tea last longer? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Florencia, the cold brew will last up to five days in the refrigerator. You can cold brew with the fruit and herbs for 2 days (you want to make sure the flavors get a chance to infuse into the tea) then discard so that it’s not in the cold brew for the entire 5 days.

      Reply
  7. I put 9 black tea bags in a gallon container, add appx. .5 gal. boiling water and steep for 8 min. Lightly press bags, discard, and fill container with cold tap water. Pour out some to fill 20oz. ice-filled mug. Refill container with more tap water. Leave out to cool for a few hours, then put in refrigerator. Outstanding! I will try your method for comparison.

    Reply
  8. Hello! I was wondering about reusing the loose tea leaves? I assume they lose potency with each batch. So how often would you switch from reusing to new leaves? Also can you maybe recommend a ratio of old/new leaves if I want to have a consistent brew each day?

    For context, I plan on making about 3 cups to drink throughout the day each day. So that’s about 4-5 tsp of leaves for each batch. Maybe I should do half old and half new? What do you think?

    Reply
    • Hi Matt, I wouldn’t mix the new and used brewed tea leaves. Make the first batch with new leaves, cold brew it for 12 hours, then strain out the leaves and put it in a new container and cold brew that one for 18-24 hours. So shorter cold brew time for new leaves and longer cold brew time for used leaves. I would cold brew used leaves just once.

      Reply
  9. I’ve ruined more than my share of sweet iced tea using boiling water. I have to give this a try, before the warm season passes. I think I’ll use a sheng puerh that I’m not too fond of, just as an experiment. Thanks!

    Reply
  10. I am drinking some cold brew iced tea right now, and it’s so refreshing and delicious (despite it being January haha!) I’ve never tried to cold brew iced tea, but I got the idea because I wanted to use up some loose leaf tea that had been lingering in my pantry. I ended up tripling the recipe, because the pitcher I used was a lot larger. The possibilities are endless to the blends I can come up with now!

    Reply
  11. Thank you for the great post. Exactly what I was looking for after hearing some recommendations for cold brew tea.

    Regarding the tea brewing bottles used here:

    Williams and Sonoma is blocking access to their website for folks outside of the USA so the link for us expats does not work.

    If anyone wants these nifty ice tea brewing jars they are Weck Model 908 (1 liter) or 905 (.5 liter) cylinders.

    On some sites the 1 liter weck 908 is listed as 1040ml and the 905 as 600ml but my box of 908s says 1 liter. So if searching on 1 liter weck cylinder does not give you any good hits, search on 1040ml weck cylinder.

    https://weckjars.com/product-category/cylindrical/

    (note the 908s are listed as out of stock indefinitely but the german page is stating they will be back in stock this spring)

    When ordering make sure you are also getting the covers and metal clips (mine shipped with glass covers but no clips) or order the clips separately.

    Alternatively for something not as pretty but way easier to work with Weck sells plastic “keep fresh” covers for the jars. 80mm for the 1l and 60mm for the .6l.

    https://www.amazon.com/Weck-Fresh-Plastic-Medium-models/dp/B073SM4LTJ/

    Thanks again for the wonderful post on how to make cold brew ice tea!

    Reply
  12. Can these glass cylinder quart/liter jars be bought on Amazon.? If not then where do I find them? I tried looking based off the previous comments but still hard to find.

    Reply
  13. I purchased a GLASS ICED TEA JUG WITH BASKET INFUSER, 68 OZ. and the tea leaves constantly leak through the strainer, is this normal?
    I also use the ratio recommended and the tea seems too weak?

    Reply
    • Hi Melissa, sorry to hear you’re having problems with the tea jug. The leaves definitely should not be leaking through the strainer although if they’re super tiny, they may, but that shouldn’t be an issue. If the cold brew seems too weak, I would make it stronger by adding 2 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon of tea per cup, especially if you add ice to it which will dilute it.

      Reply
  14. Hi Jee,

    I live in the Netherlands, where the tap water quality is much better than in some other countries (I feel like the water in the USA has a very strong chloride taste, for instance). To me, the taste of our tap water is similar to that of bottled water. I believe the amount of calcium is higher in tap water though.

    Would you still recommend filtering water in my situation?

    Reply
  15. Hi, Jee,

    If I plan to make a milk tea, how much more extra tea per cup should I use so as not to dilute the flavor?

    Reply
    • Hi Olivia, I like to use hot brewed tea then cool it down when it comes to milk tea, but if you want to make it cold brewed, use double the amount of tea, so 1 tablespoon for 1 cup of water.

      Reply
  16. what is the weight in grams of 1.5 teaspoons of loose tea? Very difficult to measure large loose leaf green tea? Would be much more accurate to put in weight in grams.

    Reply
    • Hi Dani, it is difficult to measure large loose green tea. I would put in 5 grams if you’re using a scale. I don’t usually put in information by weight since not a lot of people have tea scales at home.

      Reply
  17. Hai Lee, thank you for your helpful information about cold brew tea.
    actually I’m just wondering if I mix the kinds of tea like chamomile and earl grey (e.g) will the tea loose the benefits? as we know tea has its own benefit.
    thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Fransiskus, by mixing teas, it won’t cancel the other out and instead, you’ll get the benefit of both.

      Reply
    • Hi Ratanpriya, you can definitely reuse the tea leaves. I usually use it once more and cold brew it for 15-24 hours instead of the usual 12 hours.

      Reply
    • Hi Lucky, I would start with 1 flowering tea to 1 cup of water — the same as how you would brew it hot.

      Reply
  18. I was wondering if its possible to make cold tea like cold brew coffee where I still add my milk and sugar? I love my orange pekoe tea but its just getting a bit warm for it. Any suggestion?

    Reply

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