Cold brewed coffee has become very trendy, but I feel like very few people are familiar with cold brewed tea.
Having a hot and soothing cup in the winter is one thing. But during a hot summer afternoon, I prefer my tea ice-cold.
And if you are going to drink the tea cold anyways, then why not just steep it in cold water?
Well, there are some differences in brewing tea with cold water — the process is more simple but takes more time. Also, the end product will not taste the same and usually contains less caffeine.
Now, let me tell you everything you need to know about cold brewing tea, how to do it at home, and why I like this method so much.
Can You Really Make Tea With Cold Water?
Steeping tea in cold water actually works really well. It just takes more time compared to brewing with hot water.
Here are a few good reasons to make your tea with cold water:
- The taste will be more smooth and less bitter and astringent.
- The process is very simple.
- Less caffeine and more vitamins.
I know many people who say that when they make green tea, it’s often too bitter and unpleasant to drink. This is probably because they have used water that is too hot or steeped the tea for too long. When you steep your green tea in cold water, this will not be a problem!
Another nice thing is that cold brewing tea is super easy — just add water and loose leaf tea and put the container in the refrigerator. The exact process depends on the equipment that you use (more about this later).
If you are trying to lessen your caffeine consumption but still want to enjoy all the health benefits of tea, then cold brewing is a perfect option. Using cold water results in lower caffeine content but preserves vitamin C and other delicate compounds that might be obliterated in hot water.
How Long to Steep Cold Brew Tea?
When you make tea with cold water, you can steep it anywhere between 4 and 12 hours.
The recommended time depends on the type of tea you use, how strong you like it, and how much time you have.
If you are new to cold brewing, I recommend that while the tea is steeping, you pour a little taster every once in a while. This allows you to sample the tea and find out what brewing time works best for you.
How to Cold Steep Tea – Step-by-Step Instructions
Steeping tea in cold water is very simple and easy — and you don’t really need any special equipment!
Here are a few great options for cold brewing tea:
- Using a tea tumbler with infuser is probably the most convenient option. You can drink the tea at home or just grab the bottle and bring it with you!
- A French press will also work well for cold brewing since you don’t need a separate strainer.
- Any jar, pitcher, or container can be used, but you will need a strainer to filter out the tea leaves.
One option is to simply use tea bags for making the tea. I will cover this option in more detail later in this guide.
The cold brewing process is very simple. Next, let’s see exactly how it’s done.
- Add some spring water (or distilled drinking water) to your bottle, pitcher, or other container. You can use cold water or room temperature water.
- Put some loose leaf tea in the infuser basket or directly in the water, depending on the equipment that you use. Start with about one and a half teaspoons of loose leaf tea per each cup (8 oz) of water (you can try adding more the next time).
- If you want, you can add fruit slices (e.g. lemon, orange), berries, or fresh herbs (e.g. mint, rosemary) for extra flavor.
- Put the container in the refrigerator and let it steep for about 6 to 14 hours, depending on the type of tea and how strong you like it (more about the steeping time of each tea later).
- Pour into glasses or drink straight from the bottle and enjoy!
A few more tips:
- You can adjust the ratio of tea and water according to your personal preference.
- If you like it sweet, use agave nectar or simple syrup as a sweetener (they dissolve easily in cold liquids).
- Add ice cubes, slices of lemon or lime, and fresh mint leaves when serving in glasses — this will make it look more impressive!
- After straining, you can also save the tea for later. Covered and refrigerated, it will keep for 3 to 5 days.
Cold Brew Iced Tea with Black Tea
Recommended steeping time: 8 to 12 hours
If you want to make some refreshing iced tea and you are not in a hurry, it really makes sense to cold brew it.
This means that your tea is already cold and ready to be enjoyed!
No need to boil water, brew the tea, and then wait for it to cool down or use a lot of ice cubes to cool it instantly.
Want to try something different?
Instead of water, you can also steep the tea in milk. This will create an extra thick and smooth iced tea.
You can also make any other type of tea in milk instead of water.
Cold Brew Green Tea
Recommended steeping time: 6 to 8 hours
Steeping green tea in cold water is a great option — it will result in a smooth and a bit sweet brew with no unwanted bitterness.
You can basically use any type of green tea (or white tea) for cold brewing.
Cold Brew Herbal Tea with Hibiscus
Recommended steeping time: 10 to 14 hours
Use about 1/2 cup (or 15 grams) of dried hibiscus flowers per 4 cups of water. You will have some nice, deep red herbal tea loaded with healthy antioxidants!
You can also add other herbs like ginger, cinnamon, and mint for more flavor and health benefits.
I also recommend trying this hibiscus tea with sweetener and some lime wedges.
If you want a herbal tea with caffeine, try my cold brew yerba mate recipe.
Can You Put a Tea Bag in Cold Water?
I always make my cold brew with loose leaf tea, but there is no reason that you couldn’t use tea bags.
One great thing about using tea bags for cold steeping is that you don’t need a strainer!
You can use any kind of pitcher or jar and just add one tea bag per cup of water.
Lipton Cold Brew Tea
Lipton has tea bags designed for cold brewing — the product is called “Lipton Cold Brew Family Size Tea Bags.”
These tea bags are larger than usual, so you only need 2 bags per 8 cups of water.
According to Lipton, this is a blend crafted specifically for iced tea.
Difference Between Cold Brew Tea Bags and Regular
I don’t think that there is any real difference between regular tea bags and cold brew tea bags.
Although Lipton advertises their cold brew tea bags as “specially blended for iced tea,” I think that this is just a marketing gimmick. You can use any kind of tea bags or loose leaf tea for cold brewing.
Good quality tea is always good, no matter how you brew it!
Final Thoughts on Cold Steeping Tea
If I know there is a hot day coming, I often prepare some cold brew tea with a tea infuser bottle or a French press in the evening.
I add the water and tea, then put it in the ref overnight. The whole process only takes about one minute.
This way, I will have some refreshing cold brewed tea ready to be enjoyed the next day.
If you haven’t tried making tea with cold water, I recommend that you give it a go. Feel free to experiment with different types of teas and herbal ingredients to find your favorite combos!
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