How to Cold Brew Tea: A Step by Step Guide

Looking for a way to cool off in the warmer months, while still enjoying your favorite teas? Cold-brew iced tea is a fantastic way to stay cool without forgoing the pleasures of good tea. Best of all, it’s a hands-off process - simply leave your tea to steep in the fridge overnight, and enjoy iced tea the very next day!

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How to cold brew tea

Cold brewing tea is a breeze! Here’s our simple, step-by-step guide to foolproof iced tea.

1. Choose an iced tea

While you can make an iced tea out of any tea, some teas particularly shine when served cold. Fruit-forward teas are typically great choices that make light, refreshing iced teas. Dessert-like teas with flavors like vanilla, caramel, and chocolate are also good options, especially if you plan to enjoy them as an iced latte with milk and sweetener.

2. Choose a tea brewing vessel

The easiest way to cold brew tea is to use an iced tea pitcher with a built-in tea infuser. This makes it super simple to add tea leaves and water, infuse your tea leaves, and then quickly and easily remove the leaves when your tea is ready to enjoy.

If you don’t have a tea infuser pitcher, however, there are several other options that also work well. Other options include tea infusers or filters, which you can use in tandem with an iced tea pitcher or a smaller vessel. We also recommend using our urban tumblers for a single glass that you can take on the go!

3. Measure your tea leaves

The basic rule of thumb is that you should use one teaspoon of tea leaves for every six ounces of water in your pitcher or other vessel. For example, if your iced tea pitcher can hold about sixty ounces, use ten teaspoons of tea. This isn’t an exact science, so feel free to experiment in order to find the ratio that works best for you!

4. Add water

The next step is to add cold, filtered water to your iced tea pitcher. Because the tea will be infused over a long period of time, you want to use cold water instead of hot water so that your tea doesn’t get bitter.

5. Refrigerate your tea

We recommend refrigerating your tea overnight, or for at least eight hours. This gives the tea leaves time to slowly infuse and release their flavor. A great strategy is to place your iced tea pitcher in the fridge before you go to bed, then wake up to iced tea that’s ready to enjoy in the morning!

6. Enjoy your tea

You can enjoy your cold-brewed tea over ice, as the base for a tea cocktail, or even as an ingredient in a tasty tea-based popsicle! Cold-brewed iced tea is also a great option for iced milk teas like boba, iced tea lattes, Hokkaido milk tea, and Okinawa milk tea.

Benefits of cold-brewing tea

Cold-brewing tea has several different advantages when compared to hot-brewing, then chilling tea.

Less caffeine

When you cold brew even highly caffeinated teas, the resulting tea will have less caffeine than if you prepare it using hot water. This is because the water temperature affects the caffeine content in the brewed tea, with colder water resulting in less caffeine. If you enjoy drinking iced tea but want to limit your caffeine intake, you may want to give cold-brewing a try!

Smoother flavor

Similar to cold-brewed coffee, cold-brewed tea has a smoother flavor. When traditionally prepared, iced tea can taste bitter thanks to the tannins present in tea. Cold-brewed iced tea, however, results in a mellower, sweeter flavor, without any of the tannic bite.

Easy to make

Cold-brewing tea may take a little more time than preparing iced tea using hot water, but almost all of that time is completely hands-off. Just infuse your tea leaves in cold water, leave your iced tea pitcher in the fridge for a few hours, and you’ll have perfectly-brewed, ready to drink iced tea!

Cold brewing vs. ice brewing

You may be familiar with cold brewing tea, but have you heard of ice brewing? The Japanese koridashi method involves brewing tea using ice cubes instead of cold water. Like cold brewing tea, ice brewing tea results in a mellow, smooth tea with a prominent sweetness and low astringency.

How to choose an iced tea

While you can make an iced tea out of any tea, some teas particularly shine when served cold. Here are a few of our favorites to cool off with in the summer months:

1. Iced Tea Trio

Our Iced Tea Trio includes three of our most popular blends that make great iced teas:

  • Apricot Brandy blends black tea, apricot pieces, and natural brandy flavor for a luscious blend that captures the spirit of late summer in Santa Fe.
  • Moroccan Mint combines  gunpowder tea with exceptional quality spearmint in a minty, refreshing blend.
  • Blueberry Pomegranate features blueberry, pomegranate, apple, and hibiscus for a delightfully fruity, naturally caffeine-free iced tea.

2. Apricot Brandy Black Tea

Apricot Brandy blends black tea, apricot pieces, and natural brandy flavor for a luscious, sweet, and fruity blend that captures the spirit of late summer in Santa Fe. Aromatic and incredibly flavorful, it’s also our best selling flavored tea blend.

3. Blueberry Pomegranate Herbal Tea

Blueberry Pomegranate blends blueberry, pomegranate, apple, and hibiscus for a delightfully fruity, naturally caffeine-free blend.

4. Moroccan Mint Green Tea

In Morocco, mint green tea is a sign of hospitality and friendship. Our Moroccan Mint blends the finest Chinese gunpowder tea with exceptional quality spearmint. A lively and refreshing tea that's delicious served hot or iced.

5. Raspberry Lemonade Herbal Tea

Summer in a cup! Raspberry Lemonade blends raspberry, apple, hibiscus, lemon peel, rosehip peels, chamomile, and strawberry leaves for a fruity, tart tea that's delicious hot and excellent iced.

6. Lavender Mint Herbal Tea

One of our most popular herbal teas, Lavender Mint is a simple but satisfying herbal blend. Calming lavender blossoms complement cooling peppermint for a fresh, lightly floral cup that tastes great hot and makes a superb iced tea.

7. Rose Petal Raspberry Herbal Tea

Rose Petal Raspberry blends rose petals, raspberry, hibiscus, lemon peel, rosehips, and apple for a silky, aromatic tea that's fruity, tart, and refreshing. While this herbal infusion is excellent hot, it truly shines when served as an iced tea.

8. Mango Pear White Tea

White Peony tea leaves combine with mango, apple, and pear for a delicate, fruity tea with tons of flavor. Mango Pear is delicious hot and also makes an excellent iced tea.

9. Sandia Sangria Oolong

Our Sandia Sangria Oolong is a fruity sangria-inspired blend with hints of watermelon, lemon, and orange. This tea is named after New Mexico's Sandia mountains—sandia means "watermelon" in Spanish, which is what these mountains are said to look like when they glow red at sunset.

10. Peach Rooibos Herbal Tea

Peach Rooibos blends green rooibos and red rooibos with peach bits, blackberry leaves, and calendula petals for a juicy, fruity tea that's bursting with flavor.

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