Iced tea is super easy to make and a healthy way to stay hydrated and cool in the summer. There are two ways you can make iced tea - cold brew and hot brew. Both make delicious iced tea but each method has its own pros and cons. We recommend experimenting with both methods and trying out different tea types and steeping times to find your favorite iced tea recipe. Read on to learn how to make hot brew and cold brew iced tea at home!
Cold Brew Iced Tea
The cold brew method steeps loose leaf tea in cool water for 2-12 hours. Cold brew tea can be steeped at room temperature or in the refrigerator. We love experimenting with the steeping time to enjoy different flavor profiles of our favorite tea.
What you’ll need:
- A pitcher or jar
- 12 oz. filtered drinking water - room temperature or cool
- Ice (optional)
Can I use regular tea bags for cold brew tea?
Cold brew slowly extracts the flavor and nutrients from tea leaves over several hours. So it's best to use large tea leaves like whole loose leaf tea so that you get plenty of flavor and antioxidants. Smaller tea particles found in conventional paper or plastic tea bags are not ideal for cold brew tea.
1. Put 2-3 tbsp of loose leaf tea or one tea sachet in your pitcher
2. Pour filtered drinking water into the pitcher
3. Let it sit at room temperature* or in the fridge for at least 2 hours
4. After 2 hours, taste the tea and decide whether you want to steep for longer. Cold brew tea can be steeped up to 12 hours.
5. Once your tea is steeped to the desired taste, remove tea leaves
6. Enjoy alone or with ice!
*steeping at room temperature for an extended period of time can lead to bacteria growth in the tea, especially on hot days. If you plan to cold brew overnight, we recommend steeping in the fridge.
Pros & Cons of Cold Brew Iced Tea
- Less bitter and smoother body than hot brew (tea leaves release less tannins in cold brew)
- Slow infusion makes it easier to control the strength of the tea
- Time consuming
- Needs to be prepared in advance
Hot Brew Iced Tea
Hot brew is the method we're most familiar with - pouring hot water over tea leaves. This is a quick and easy way to prepare iced tea whenever you’re craving it.
What you’ll need:
- Heat resistant teapot, pitcher, or mug
- 8 oz. freshly boiled hot water
1. Put 2-3 tbsp of loose leaf tea or one tea sachet in your teapot
2. Pour hot water into the teapot
3. Steep tea leaves for 3 minutes or longer if you prefer stronger tea
4. Once your tea is steeped to the desired taste, remove tea leaves
5. You have a few options for cooling your tea:
a) If you’re patient, wait for the tea to cool down. Refrigerate or add ice
b) Not so patient? Immediately add ice
c) If your tea is too strong, dilute it with cold water and add ice
Pros & Cons of Hot Brew Iced Tea
- Can be made quickly
- Stronger flavors and aroma (tea leaves release aroma and flavors faster in hot water)
- Tea can taste more bitter and astringent than cold brew iced tea
- Needs more ice and time to cool down hot tea
Hot brew and cold brew iced tea are so easy to make that you can't go wrong using either method. So have fun with it! Play around with the steeping time and tea types to perfect your homemade iced tea.