June 19, 2018

How to Make Cold Brew Iced Tea

Consider this post a revival of sorts of my How to Make series. It's also likely my singular contribution to the topic of iced tea during National Iced Tea Month. My favorite way to prepare iced tea is to cold brew it. Read on for my method.

The Standard Recipe for Cold Brew Iced Tea

The traditional approach is to combine tea and water and refrigerate overnight, or at least for eight hours. The typical tea to water ratio is one teaspoon of tea to six-eight ounces of water. I have had great success following the standard. Last summer I cold brewed several teas from Story of my Tea using this method.

My Recipe for Cold Brew Iced Tea

I'd like to offer something slightly different, however. My method was born out of not enough time. I don't always finish a tea session in one day. I would save the leaves at room temperature for the next day but then I read that this can lead to bacterial contamination. I then began to refrigerate the leaves but they would acquire the taste of my fridge. One day I decided to transfer the leaves to a jar, fill the container with water, and store in my fridge. The next day I sipped the liquor and my cold brew iced tea method was born! It works even if you've infused your leaves many times. There's always a bit of flavor remaining in your tea leaves that a cold, slow infusion will extract. You can steep the leaves for more many more hours than eight.

If you open my refrigerator you will find a few jam jars – Bonne Maman is my favorite – of cold brew iced tea in progress. It's rewarding to re-use glass containers, plus I compost the spent leaves. If I drink the iced tea at home, I don't usually strain the leaves. I drink the iced tea "grandpa style". For tea on the go, I strain the liquor into an empty jam jar.

Here is the complete Cold Brew Iced Tea recipe:
  • Add infused (or fresh) leaves to a jar or other resealable container
  • Pour water to fill the jar and seal it
  • Place the jar in the refrigerator overnight, or longer
  • Strain, or not, and enjoy

More Cold Brew Iced Tea Recipes

This is a slow method obviously. If you need to make iced tea quickly, this Lipton how to make iced tea recipe was almost at the top of Google search results. If you want to use un-infused leaves to make your cold brew iced tea, check out the Tea for Me Please Cold Brewing Tea Guide. If you want a fruity twist on iced tea, then read Oh, How Civilized How to Make the Best Iced Tea.


  1. I tell you, I have been making so much cold brew lately! The summer is the perfect season for it.

    1. Notes on Tea7/13/18, 2:31 PM

      Nothing like opening the refrigerator and pulling out a jar of cold brew!

  2. Thanks for sharing this! A great way to save ‘spent’ tea leaves! I’ve found cold brews are a great way to get a sweeter flavor with less tannins, though it does take a little more time. I will also brew a concentrated amount of tea and pour over a cup of ice cubes for instant iced tea.

    1. Notes on Tea7/13/18, 2:32 PM

      I'll have to try your concentrate method, Leona. Thanks for the tip!


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