How to Cold Brew Tea and Make It Taste Great

For a sweeter, smoother steep, learn how to cold brew tea like a pro.

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During the dog days of summer, no beverage is as refreshing as a glass of iced tea. While sun tea remains a popular brewing method for tea, cold brew tea is having a moment, too. Keep reading to learn how this trendy brewing method works, how it’s different from traditional iced tea and its health benefits.

The Best Cold Brew Tea Bags

suggested tea blends for cold brew teaLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Not all teas are ideal for the cold brew method. It’s true that any tea can be cold brewed; however, certain blends are better suited for cold brewing because of how they react to the cooler brewing temperatures. For example, some more robust black teas are not able to fully develop their flavors when cold brewed. For this reason, we recommend white, green and oolong teas for the best cold brew tea results.

  • Best Green Tea: Nothing says summer like peaches! That’s why we love this flavorful green tea with peach by Bigelow that’s loaded with natural antioxidants.
  • Best White Tea: The quality of your cold brew tea really comes down to the quality of your tea. Which is why we love this all-natural loose white tea by Teamonk.
  • Best Oolong Tea: This aromatic, mild oolong tea by Imozai is perfect for cold brewing and strikes a great balance for those who want a tea that falls somewhere between black and green tea in terms of strength.
  • Best Black Tea: If you’re a dedicated black tea drinker, this is our go-to variety for the cold brew method. The Earl Grey tea by Harry & Sons has subtle floral and lemon notes.

How to Cold Brew Tea

a cold brew pitcher of water with tea leaves and tea bags just added to steep for cold brew teaLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Yield: 1 Serving (8 Ounces)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cold, filtered water
  • 1 standard tea bag (or 1-1/2 teaspoons of loose tea)
  • Ice

Editor’s Tip: You can adjust this ratio to make cold brew tea for a crowd, or to craft a stronger or weaker brew.

Instructions

Step 1: Add the Tea

Get started by placing your tea bag(s) in the water. For best results, use clean filtered water for the purest tasting tea. If desired, you can also use loose tea leaves also.

Editor’s Tip: If using loose tea, you can avoid straining the tea once it’s brewed by using either these fillable tea bags or invest in a simple cold brew tea or coffee maker. We especially love this cold brew pitcher by Takeya.

Step 2: Let It Steep

Place the tea in your refrigerator and let it steep for several hours (or overnight). Anywhere between 12 and 24 hours will work. The longer you let it steep, the stronger (darker) your tea will become.

Step 3: Remove Tea Bags

Remove the tea bag from the water. Squeeze the tea bags gently into the brewed tea before discarding. This will ensure you get every last drop of the tea’s flavor in your finished beverage.

Step 4: Dress it Up

Add any desired mix-ins, like simple syrup, citrus slices, fresh fruit, etc. Then, serve over ice.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cold Brew Tea

What Is Different About Cold Brew Tea?

It never comes in contact with heat. For cold brew, tea is placed in cold water and steeped for several hours. Just like cold brew coffee, the end result has fewer tannins and tastes less bitter.

Does Cold Brew Tea Have the Same Benefits of Hot Tea?

For the most part, yes. Cold-brew tea is full of the same antioxidants and health benefits of hot tea. The only drawback is that hot tea can soothe a sore throat or reduce nasal congestion when you have a cold. Cold brew won’t do that.

Is Cold Brew Tea Good for You?

Yes! In fact, the cold brew process helps the tea retain some of its natural sweetness, whereas steeping tea in hot water can extract a bitter flavor. You may end up using less sugar or sweetener in cold brew tea.

Is it Possible to Infuse Cold Brew Tea with Fruit?

Feel free to get creative with your tea. Mix a few different blends of tea together or add some fresh fruit and herbs to your glass or pitcher before brewing. Simply discard any fruit you add to tea when you remove the tea bags. Here are some fruit-infused combinations for white, green, black and oolong cold brew tea.

  • Peach + lime + rosemary
  • Honey + blueberry + oranges + basil
  • Strawberries + blackberries + mint
  • Pineapple + cucumber + mint

Next, learn how to make sweet tea like a Southerner.

Our Favorite Iced Tea Recipes
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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.