Easy Cold Brew 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.

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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Free Cold Brew Tea Cheat Sheet

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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 69 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: 1 | Carbohydrates: 1g | Sodium: 12mg | Calcium: 7mg
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63 thoughts on “Easy Cold Brew Tea”

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

      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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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

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