How to Easily Make the Best Iced Tea (Cold Brew It!)

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. 

How to Cold Brew Tea

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.

  • Better tasting iced tea
    Cold-brewing tea is a slow and gentle steeping process that creates a sweeter and smoother tasting tea. 
  • No more bitter iced tea
    Tannins, which can make tea bitter and astringent, aren’t steeped out of the tea in cold water the way it does in hot water. No more harsh or bitterness in your iced tea anymore!
  • No need to boil water
    Because cold brewing doesn’t involve hot water, it’s perfect to make in the hot summer months.
  • Not quick, but super easy
    It’s the easiest way to make iced tea. BUT, it does take 12 hours since cold brewing takes a while.

RELATED: How to Make Herbal Tea Properly

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Brewing Guide

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

My Cold Brew Tea Container Picks:

Questions You May Have

Is there caffeine in cold brew tea?
Yes, 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.

How many tea bags or tea sachets can I use instead of 1.5 teaspoons of loose tea?
You can use at 2-3 tea bags or 1 sachet per cup of water.

Can I cold brew any kind of tea?
Yes! My favorite tea to cold brew is a dark roasted oolong tea called Dong Ding. It’s smooth with a toasty flavor. Other recommendations: Earl Grey, Mango Black, Hojicha, Jasmine green.

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 or even bottled 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.

RELATED: 30 Refreshing Iced Tea Recipes

Cold Brew Tea Tips

  • 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.
  • 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 simple sugar by mixing equal parts sugar and hot water until the sugar dissolves.

Free Cold Brew Tea Guide

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Cold Brew Iced Tea Ingredients

What You’ll Need

How to Make Cold Brew Tea Properly

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.

Cold brew tea can be steeped for up to 24 hours. 

How to Make Iced Tea

STEP 3: Strain out tea leaves.

Instead using a separate 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.

How to cold brew tea

RELATED: 4 Easy Cold Brew Iced Teas with Fresh Fruit

Cold brew iced tea
Cold Brew Iced Tea

Cold Brew Iced Tea

Yield: Makes 2 servings

How to make the best iced tea -- cold brew it!


  1. 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 -- use filtered water.
  2. Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
  3. Strain out tea leaves.
    Instead using a separate strainer, use a cold brew maker since you can just take out the infuser instead of straining the tea into another container.
  4. Pour tea into a cup with or without ice.
    Cold brewed tea is already chilled so adding ice is optional.


  • 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.

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  • Roxanne Testen
    3 years ago

    love your site

  • Stephanie
    3 years ago

    Where did you get those containers and strainer?

    • Jee
      3 years ago

      Hi Stephanie, I got them from Williams Sonoma.

  • 2 years ago

    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!

    • Jee
      2 years ago

      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!

  • Lenny
    2 years ago

    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.

    • Jee
      2 years ago

      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.

  • Lenny
    2 years ago

    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.

    • Jee
      2 years ago

      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.

  • Lenny
    2 years ago

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

    • Jee
      2 years ago

      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.

  • Abdulaziz
    2 years ago

    What about using syrups in the recipes

    • Jee
      2 years ago

      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.

  • Lenny
    2 years ago

    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.

    • Jee
      2 years ago

      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.

  • Lenny
    2 years ago

    Did you ever receive my last 2 messages to you, thanks.

  • Lenny
    2 years ago

    Why steep the tea at least 8 hours or overnight instead of less than the minimum of 8 hours, just curious.

  • Florencia
    1 year ago

    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!

    • Oh, How Civilized
      1 year ago

      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.

  • John M. Rothschild
    8 months ago

    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.

    • Jonathan
      4 months ago

      Do I need to use a pitcher, can I use a plastic water bottle?

      • Oh, How Civilized
        4 months ago

        Hi Jonathan, you can definitely use a plastic water bottle but I prefer glass.

  • 7 months ago

    These guidelines work for all tea types?

    • Oh, How Civilized
      7 months ago

      Hi Antonia, yes! You can use the guidelines for all types of tea.

  • Matt
    6 months ago

    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?

    • Oh, How Civilized
      6 months ago

      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.

  • 6 months ago

    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!

    • Oh, How Civilized
      6 months ago

      Hi Mike, oh, I like the sound of your experiment! Hope it tastes better than when it’s made with hot water!

      • 5 months ago

        Ha ha, yes puerh can be a challenge but I have turned some disappointing ones into fine iced tea, Southern style.

  • Faith V.
    3 months ago

    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!

    • Oh, How Civilized
      3 months ago

      Hi Faith, sounds wonderful!

  • Gian Cassini
    3 months ago

    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.

    (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.

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

    • Oh, How Civilized
      3 months ago

      Thanks so much Gian for your thoughtful and helpful comment!

  • Christopher John Peltz
    3 months ago

    What strainer did you use here?

  • Elizabeth
    2 months ago

    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.

    • Oh, How Civilized
      2 months ago

      Hi Elizabeth, the bigger jars weren’t sold on Amazon the last time I checked. I only see the smaller asparagus jars which I’m using in the photos:

  • Sandra
    2 months ago

    I like my tea hot! Would it work to cold brew the tea, store it in the fridge, and just heat a cup when I want it?

    • Oh, How Civilized
      1 month ago

      Hi Sandra, it would be best just to make hot tea instead of heating up the cold tea.

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