- Food: Cold Brew Iced Tea
- Writer: Lizzie Green
- Content-Type: Food Blog
When I was a kid, my mother prepared me sun tea. She’d put Lipton tea bags and water in the same clear plastic pitcher and lay it out in the sun to steep.
I’d go out there and watch the process unfold. I filled cans with water and macaroni noodles and positioned them next to her sun tea to “cook” as an experiment. No matter how long I left them out there, they never worked.
After a few years, my mother relaxed her once-a-week soda limit. I started downing Dr. Pepper like she downed unsweetened iced tea, and I shrieked every time I reached for the wrong cup in the cup holder. Yuck!
I’ve given up Coke in favor of nice, clean water these days. I’ve always wanted to understand my mother’s iced tea obsession, and I’ve finally figured out how to drink it properly—cold brew!
Because you’re simply steeping tea in water for hours, the cold brew process reminds me of sun tea, but cold brew takes place in the refrigerator rather than on the back porch.
Tea’s tannic, bitter characteristics are brought out by the heat. You’re left with a brilliantly refreshing, extremely smooth tea for calm summer sipping in the absence of heat.
It’s not bitter in the least. The same can be said with coffee, which is why I adore cold brew.
How to Make Iced Tea with Cold Brew?
The procedure is really straightforward. Simply combine loose-leaf tea or full tea bags with water in a pitcher and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours to allow the tea to infuse the water (see instructions below for specifics).
After straining, you’ll have cold-brew tea that will last for days!
I used loose-leaf tea because Bon Appetit recommended it, but since then, I’ve been making lazy cold-brew tea by soaking whole bags in water, which tastes almost as wonderful and is much easier to make.
Is there another option? In a clean French press, steep your loose-leaf tea—just press down the filter to remove the loose tea leaves and serve!
COLD-BREW ICED TEA
|Time to Prepare: 5 minutes
Time allotted: 5 minutes (plus 6 to 12 hours of chilling time)
Without the tannic, bitter qualities inherent in ordinary tea, this cold brew iced tea is super simple and delightful! It also has a long shelf life and retains its fresh flavor.
- 1 tea bag (or 1 teaspoon loose-leaf tea) per 6 to 8 ounces of water, depending on desired strength
- Optional add-ins: sliced lemon, sweetener of choice, fresh mint leaves, sliced cucumber
- If you’re using tea bags, snip off the corners and put the loose tea into your pitcher for the finest flavor. Alternatively, throw the full bag in the pitcher for a tea that’s almost as good and a lot easier to make. Fill the container halfway with room temperature or cold water.
- Refrigerate the pitcher after covering it. White or green tea should be steeped for 6 to 8 hours, while black or oolong tea should be steeped for 8 to 12 hours.
- When the timer goes off, strain the loose-leaf tea from the pitcher using a fine-mesh sieve (for optimum results, cover the sieve with cheesecloth or a paint-straining bag designed specifically for food products) or simply pluck out the tea bags. Tea or tea bags should be discarded.
- Serve tea plain or with your favorite toppings. Tea will keep for 3 to 5 days if kept covered and refrigerated.