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.)
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.

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?


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.


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

MOre Drink recipes

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.
4.8 from 71 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Steep Time 12 hrs
Total Time 12 hrs 2 mins
Course Drinks
Yield2 servings



  • 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.


  • 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.


Calories: 1 | Carbohydrates: 1g | Sodium: 12mg | Calcium: 7mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ohhowcivilized and use hashtag #ohhowcivilized!


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68 thoughts on “Easy Cold Brew Tea”

  1. That sounds so easy! Where did you get those glasses where you made the tea in? They look like the perfect size for storing in the fridge.

  2. Is cold brew better tasting than sun tea? I recently discovered that I wasn’t doing sun tea wrong, but that I just don’t like it. It has a flavor that makes me think of hay.

  3. 5 stars
    My copy cat Starbucks iced green tea recipe uses 3 Prince of Peace tea bags and 1 Bigelow Plantation Mint bag. I’ve never heard of Weck before, those jars look great, thx for the tip!

  4. 5 stars
    Hi, great article, just led me to buying a cold brew tea maker, 🙂 can’t think why I haven’t heard of these before.

    Can I ask if you can steep the tea more than once when using this method? I drink organic oolong ( way too expensive ) and always steep 3-4 times when making hot tea.

    I am also thinking of mixing my oolong with my herbal lemon & ginger tea, would you suggest making up two seperate teas and mixing in the glass or is it possible/better to combine before brewing?

    • Hi Jules, you definitely can steep tea more than once but just steep it for longer than the first time by adding a couple of hours and giving it a taste. As for mixing oolong and herbal and ginger tea, I would make it separate at first to figure out the best ratio of each tea then once you’re happy with the ratio, combine it before brewing.

  5. 5 stars
    Nice recipe, a bit curious, if sencha should be brewed only 3 hours, should we also brew other green tea like Long Jing Tea or other chinese green tea for 3 hours in refrigerator?


    • Hi Daniel, great question! Sencha is steamed in the tea making process so it’s more delicate than Long Jing which is pan-fried instead of steamed. Long Jing is heartier so it’s best to cold brew it for longer.


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