Learn how to make cold brew tea with this simple step-by-step guide that breaks down everything you need to know.
Cold brewed tea is a simple way to make a flavorful, delicious tea at home. Using the cold brew method can take longer, but most people agree that cold brew tea is less bitter than tea prepared otherwise.
Cold brew tea doesn’t use hot water, which means that the tannins, which make tea more bitter, are not completely released.
If you already love cold brew coffee, this type of tea may become your new favorite on a hot summer day or any time of year!
How To Make Cold Brew Tea
To make delicious cold brew tea, you need:
- Cold, fresh drinking water (filtered, spring, or bottled water will yield the truest flavor results, but tap water won’t let you down, either)
- Tea of your choice
- Large pitcher or mason jar (a French press or cold brew tea bottle also work)
It’s extremely simple to make cold brew tea and once you try it, you’ll never look back. It will become your new favorite!
The only downside is that it requires time, which can be tricky. It requires 8 to 12 hours of steeping time so it’s a good idea to prepare it before bedtime.
A longer steep will give you a stronger tasting tea, so if you prefer a lot of flavor in your cold brew tea, leave it for at least 12 hours.
This step-by-step guide will walk you through this simple brewing technique which will leave you with delicious homemade iced tea.
Step 1. Decide if you want to make ready to drink cold-brew tea or concentrate.
Ready to drink tea has more water and the name is literal meaning it will be ready to drink when it’s done steeping.
Concentrated tea is a stronger brew and will be mixed at a 1:1 ratio with whatever you choose to add to it. Try lemonade for a delicious mix!
Step 2. Select your tea. With the cold brewing process you can use any of your favorite teas - or even Lipton tea bags to keep things super simple!
Some people prefer to use loose leaf tea requiring the minor extra step of straining the tea after the steeping is complete.
There are nearly endless options for types of tea, from basic black tea or green tea to added flavors and ingredients. White tea, herbal tea and oolong teas are also popular.
Many teas contain elements that have health benefits so you can certainly select one that meets your specific needs.
Remember to always check with your doctor if you are concerned that an herb might interact with your medication or be unsafe for your condition.
Step 3. Add fresh, cold or room temperature water to your jar. Fresh, cold filtered water will yield the best flavor with no added minerals from the water.
Many modern fridges will have filtered water, so this is one option for providing a high quality water for your cold brew tea.
You can also purchase filtered water or an independent filtration system either for your sink or as a pitcher, or you can use another water such as spring water.
You can certainly use tap water to make cold brew tea but the flavor may not be as clean and pure as with a filtered or spring water.
Step 4. Refrigerate your tea blend.
Place the jar of water containing the steeping tea in the fridge and allow it to sit for at least 8 hours.
Step 5. Strain the tea or remove the tea bags.
The final step to preparing cold brew tea is to remove the tea from the infusion.
When you do this is up to you - it is suggested to allow tea to steep between 8 and 12 hours, as a general rule.
For loose tea, pour your tea through a fine mesh strainer and into another clean jar or glass. For tea bags or sachets, simply lift them out.
You now have crisp, delicious unsweetened iced tea ready to drink. If you prefer a sweeter flavor you can add the sweetener of choice to make sweet tea.
What Are the Benefits of Cold Brewing Tea?
Many people claim that cold brew iced tea is the best, and you might be wondering why. Here are some benefits to making and drinking cold brew tea:
- Cold brew tea is foolproof. If you follow the simple instructions, you will yield a perfect tea that you can customize to your specifications.
- It isn’t dangerous. Cold brew iced tea does not require you to handle a kettle, pot, or hot water. You will not risk burns, meaning that children can help as well!
- Your tea will be less bitter. This can benefit you not only with a smoother flavor, but with using less sweetener, making it a healthier tea option. Kids will also love the milder, gentler taste.
- Cold brewed caffeinated tea contains roughly half the caffeine content when compared to a hot infusion.
- Cold brew tea retains more antioxidants compared to hot tea.
What Is the Difference Between Cold Brew Tea and Iced Tea?
Iced tea is typically prepared by boiling water and making a hot tea, then allowing it to cool and refrigerating it until it is the desired temperature. Cold brew tea is brewed with cold water only, allowing the tea to steep slowly over time, drawing out the natural flavors.
Can You Cold Brew Tea Too Long?
Cold water extracts flavors slowly, so it’s easier to sample your tea and find out when you have struck the perfect balance!
What Can You Add to Cold Brew Tea?
Here are some great ideas for what you can add to cold brew tea to enhance or change the flavor:
- Lemon wedges
- Orange wedges
- Milk of your choice
- Fresh mint
- Fresh ginger
- Cucumber slices
- White sugar alternatives - coconut sugar, simple syrup, stevia, agave nectar
- Spirits (21+ only)
What Is the Difference Between Cold Brew Tea and Sun Tea?
Cold brew tea is created by using cold or room temperature water that you store in a fridge while the tea is steeping.
Sun tea is a creative and fun way to make tea in the summertime by using cool or room temperature water in a jar or pitcher to steep tea using the natural heat of the sun by placing your jar of water and tea outside to steep.
Both are slower processing teas and will yield delicious flavors so deciding which to make comes entirely down to personal preference.
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Nicole is a self-published author of fiction novels, and a lover of food and spending time in the kitchen with her six children. She lives in coastal Maine where she loves exploring new recipes especially those that can save time, money and wow a crowd.How To Guides, Tea, Drinks