Cold Brewing Tea: Tips, Tricks, & Inspiring Ideas to Try!
Few things in life compare to sipping fresh ice tea on the porch on a warm day as the sun sinks below the horizon. With this in mind, we thought we should offer you some great tips on making cold brew iced tea (and sweet tea) at home!
Cold brew iced tea can be prepared using an array of tea leaf types and many methods can give you outstanding results. We created this handy guide so that you can readily brew delicious iced tea from the comfort of your home. Perfect for sipping through the day or drinking with brunch, these tea recipes and brewing methods are ideal for people craving smooth and refreshing iced tea goodness!
Whether you love sweet tea, iced herbal tea, or just want to try a few new tea flavors before summer draws to an end, these tips can help you enjoy delicious iced tea whenever the mood strikes.
Best Tea Flavors for Iced Tea
Many people don't realize that tea leaves come in a range of flavors and styles that can be used for ice tea. While regular sweet tea is delicious and refreshing on a hot day, flavored sweet tea can be even more nuanced and indulgent!
Tea flavors like blueberry, pomegranate, mango, pineapple, peach, and blackberry, for instance, can give a subtle flavor to iced tea. Or, floral spice notes such as black currant and orange blossom can sophisticate your tea!
Top 10 Tea Flavors to Try for Making Cold Brew Iced Tea
Everyone's preferences will differ so obviously when it comes to making iced tea, use your palette as a guide. However, here are 10 unique tea flavors to consider trying if you are looking for something new and interesting to sip on when brewing iced tea at home. Many of these flavored tea leaves can be found for sale online in the ‘Flavored Tea section’ at www.onegreatcoffee.com.
- Peach Peppermint Iced Tea (Flavored Leaves Sold Online Here)
- Mandarin Orange Iced Tea (Flavored Leaves Sold Online Here)
- Apricot Iced Tea
- Blueberry Iced Tea
- Strawberry Peach Iced Tea
- Apple Spice Flavored Iced Tea (Flavored Leaves Sold Online Here)
- Black Cherry Iced Tea
- Kiwi Strawberry Iced Tea
- Black Currant Iced Tea (Flavored Leaves Sold Online Here)
- Pineapple Flavored Iced Tea
Best Sweet Tea Recipe: Make Iced Tea Like You’re From the South
If you're from the South, you already know that sweet tea is a seriously delicious and invigorating treat. If you've never had real Southern sweet tea before, you're missing out! We can’t have that, so here are some tips for brewing the perfect sweet tea at home!
Best Sweet Tea Recipe (Zaxby’s Copycat Tea Recipe)
We are using a copycat of Zaxby’s Sweet Tea Recipe to give you delicious flavors and the perfect sweetness to mimic southern sweet tea excellence!
Here’s a video on how Zaxby’s makes their sweet tea as well if you’re curious!
What you need to make a tea slurry:
1 Cup of Good Black Tea like this one (Black tea is the base of this and most sweet teas)
1 Cup of Sugar
5 Cups of Water
- All you need to do is get a glass container and add 5 cups of water. Then, using your preferred heating method, bring the water to a near-boiling point. You don't need to actually boil it, just get the water really hot. If you boil the water, your tea can become astringent.
- Once you have the very hot (steaming but not boiling) water ready, add a cup of black tea. If you are using loose tea leaves, you can wrap them in a coffee filter and steep them like a big tea bag.
- Allow the tea to steep for about 5 or 6 minutes. The tea liquid will be very dark, almost black. This is precisely what you want! The goal here is to create a slurry that you will then dilute with water and ice.
- Remove the tea leaves and add sugar to the still-hot or very warm water. For sweeter tea, add more white sugar. For a less sweet tea taste, add less sugar. Stir the sugar until fully dissolved. You should have a slightly viscous, sticky tea syrup now.
- In a pitcher, add 5 cups of ice. Then, pour your tea slurry over the ice. It will immediately begin melting the ice, that’s fine! From there, you will just add ice-cold water to this mix until the tea is the flavor, sweetness, and strength you prefer.
- If the tea tastes a little too weak or not sweet enough, you can make more sugar/tea slurry syrup and stir it in about 1 ⁄ 3 cup at a time until the taste is perfect!
Tips for Brewing Better Iced Tea
Making the perfect picture of iced tea can be a complicated process. So, here are some tips to help you get everything just right!
5 Ice Tea Brewing Tips
- Make a Slurry for Sweet Tea
When brewing iced tea, it is easiest to make a slurry using hot water, sugar, and black tea leaves. Then, you will mix the slurry with ice and water to dilute it and make a sweet tea beverage.
- Brew Hot, Then Add Ice
If you want to make iced tea, brew it hot and strong, then pour it over ice.
- Avoid Over-Extracting Tea with Boiling Water
Although you want your tea to be very strong, you don't want it to be overly astringent. When making iced tea using hot water to extract the tea flavor from leaves, avoid boiling the water. Instead, bring it to a very high temperature that is steaming, but not boiling. This will give you smoother, more nuanced iced tea that still has plenty of flavors.
- Use Loose Leaf Tea
When brewing iced tea, use loose-leaf tea and make it two or three times as strong. Loose-leaf tea is almost always better than tea bags. This is because most loose-leaf teas are of a higher grade.
- Branch Out and Try Other Types of Tea Leaves
Try using other types of tea like green tea, Jasmine tea, or chai tea, in your iced tea recipes.
Can You Cold Brew Tea?
Yes! You can use the cold brewing method to produce deliciously smooth iced tea without ever heating the tea leaves. A steeping and extraction process will take place in the fridge. With a bit of patience, good tea leaves, cold water, and an understanding of this cold brew method, you can create some truly delicious cold-brewed iced tea.
Cold Brew Tea Guide and Tips
Cold brewing your tea instead of using heat is a great way to produce smooth flavors for a delicious cup of unforgettably satisfying iced tea. Here's what to do!
- Get a large glass jar with a lid, and about ½ to 1 cup of loose tea leaves. You can use as much tea as you want, depending on the strength you prefer your cold brew tea to be. Not to worry, if you use too much tea, you can just dilute it with water later.
- Add the tea leaves to the jar. Then, cover them in purified cold water. Screw on the lid and leave the jar in your fridge for at least 16 hours but up to 30 hours. The tea leaves will steep in the cold water and extraction will take place.
- After the allotted time has passed, in a separate jar, gently pour your very strong cold brew tea. There's a good chance the tea leaves will already have sunk to the bottom of the jar, so you won't have to worry about straining. However, if the leaves are still floating around everywhere, you can use a strainer.
- Then, add the tea to a glass of ice. The ice will dilute the strength and give you a superior cup of cold brew iced tea! Enjoy.
What is sun tea?
Sun tea is similar to cold brew tea. It is tea made without excessive heat. Usually, sun tea is made with black tea leaves. Instead of boiling the tea, sun tea is steeped in a clear container in lukewarm water for many hours. Then, it is poured over ice.
Sun Tea VS Cold Brew Tea: What’s the Difference?
Sun tea sits in the sun in a clear container. It is warmed slightly, which helps speed up the extraction and brewing process. However, cold brew tea is made in the fridge so the tea leaves are never actually heated. Extraction from cold brew takes many hours. Ultimately, sun tea takes less time to make than cold brew tea, but both produce a similarly smooth cup of delicious iced tea.
How to make flavored ice tea and sweet flavored iced tea at home?
You can make flavored iced tea in many ways! One of the easiest ways is to use pre-flavored tea leaves such as these. However, you can also flavor your iced tea with concentrated frozen juices, simple syrups, flavored syrups, lemon juice, lime juice, frozen fruit pieces, and anything else that tickles your fancy!
- Frozen berries (sliced or blended strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries)
- Lemon, orange, or lime wedges, frozen or unfrozen
- Edible flowers like rose petals or lilac blooms
- Mint and/or raspberries
The Best Way to Flavor Iced Tea
One of the best ways to enjoy flavored tea at home is to buy pre-flavored loose tea leaves. Pre-flavored tea leaves are often infused with flavorings and extracts to produce a bold cup of deliciously flavored hot or iced tea. You can also use different types of gourmet tea leaves like chai tea, green tea, Jasmine tea, Oolong tea, and other teas that may produce different nuances and notes in your cup.