Guide to Cold Brew Tea

Jeffrey McKean

All About Cold Brew Tea


Cold brew tea, as its name suggests, is tea that is made without the use of heat or hot water. As with cold brew coffee, cold brewing tea can offer benefits that traditional hot water brewing cannot. Read on to learn about the pros of cold brewing tea.


Capture Flavor Nuances

The slow and gentle process of cold brewing makes it possible to extract more of the good stuff that gives a tea its unique flavor profile. Even when steeping tea at the correct temperature, there is the risk of losing some of those flavor producing compounds to evaporation. Steep a tea in water that is too hot, and not only do you have to worry about evaporation, but scalding the leaves can greatly affect the tea's flavor and cause bitterness.


Avoid Diluted Iced Tea

When making iced tea, many people will brew up a large amount of hot tea, allow it to cool a bit, and then pour it all over plenty of ice to bring the temperature down. The problem with this is, unless the tea is already chilled, a fair amount of that ice is going to melt as soon as the tea hits it, resulting in diluted, weak tasting iced tea. Because cold brew is steeped in cold conditions, ice is not needed to bring the temperature down. When you do finally fill up your glass and add ice, the amount of dilution will be far less since the tea is already cold and ready to cool you off!

No Bitterness

 As mentioned above, using water that is too hot and steeping for too long can result in bitter tea. With cold brew, even though the tea is steeping for an extended period of time, the fact that the water is cold negates most of the risk of brewing bitter tea. That said, if you do add an excess amount of tea leaves for the amount of iced tea you're preparing, bitterness can occur. However, when done correctly, cold brew should never be overly bitter.


The How-To of Cold Brew

A Step-by-step guide to making a quart of cold brew iced tea


Step 1: Create the concentrate

Fill your brewing vessel with 12 ounces of fresh, cold water. One easy option is to use a 12 ounce French press. 

Add 4 heaping teaspoons of tea to the water. For those who enjoy their tea slightly stronger, add a fifth heaping teaspoon "for the pot". 


Step 2: Let it (cold) brew

With the tea leaves in the water, place the brewing vessel in the refrigerator. Regardless of what sort of vessel you use, make sure it is covered to avoid any dust or foreign materials from getting in. 

Once in the refrigerator, allow the tea leaves to steep undisturbed for 8 hours. Starting a cold brew right before bed is a great way to prepare tea ahead of time.


Step 3: Dilute the concentrate

After 8 hours, that 12 ounces will be a concentrated, strong version of your tea. To turn it into a refreshing iced tea you can enjoy, pour off into a 1 quart pitcher. Next, add 20 ounces of fresh, cold water - more or less can be added to suit your tastes.

If making sweet tea, add in sugar and stir to dissolve. Alternatively, you can make up a batch of sugar syrup ahead of time and pour in for an easier way to sweeten things up.


Step 4: Pour and enjoy!

Add any garnishes you wish, then kick back, relax, and enjoy!