Cold Brewed Iced Tea

iced tea

Iced Tea

I’ve found a way to make iced tea with no bitterness, and it doesn’t become cloudy. It’s called cold-brewed iced tea. Iced tea is something I have around all year, but there’s something about a cold glass on a hot day that makes me shiver with anticipation, and iced tea is still a nice winter beverage for those who like cold drinks. The tannins in the leaves can add astringency (which equals bitterness) to iced tea that I prefer to avoid. By cold brewing the iced tea rather than using warm water, you can still extract all the great flavors without a lot of tannins. Don’t even get me started on “sun tea.” The bacterial levels in that stuff are enough to make me sick just thinking about it; leaving a jar of tea in the sun for a few hours is just not a good idea. “Sun tea” is a potential bio-hazard and iced tea made this way should be avoided.

I’ve been cold brewing my iced tea for years, and this really works. This iced tea is great, and incredibly easy to make. I only wish I had known about this when I was younger.

1 cup loose black tea (or 10 teabags), or flavored tea of your choice
12 cups water

1. Place the tea leaves or bags in a large pitcher with a top (you can use only 1 cup of tea leaves, or fewer bags if you prefer a lighter tea).

2. Add the water and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, I generally let them soak overnight.

3. Strain the tea or remove the bags and drink!

I like to put in a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint, but you can do anything you like. I sometimes add mango nectar, but any fruit juice works very well too.  You are only limited by your imagination. Iced tea combines with almost any fruit flavor, so any juice works well.

For “Sweet Tea” I just add a little simple syrup, which dissolves easily in tea unlike sugar. Having a southern belle for a wife I always have a lot of tea and simple syrup around and my iced tea is her sweet tea.

5 Responses to “Cold Brewed Iced Tea”

  1. Chef Dennis says:

    great to know you don’t have to leave it out all day…..two of the biggest shockers a few years ago when I had to re certify for serve safe was finding out that now you can get food poisoning form Ice Tea and Rice.. I never really thought about just leaving it in the refer….it is also easier to make if you do it early for the nest day.

  2. war3rd says:

    I know. I tried this once years ago on a lark, expecting a tepid flavor, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it actually tastes great. I pretty much always have a large pitcher in the fridge brewing, and another one full of tea and just switch them off (yes, I drink that much tea).

    An added benefit is that this kind of tea doesn’t get cloudy, unlike hot brewed tea, which is great for restaurants as it looks so much cleaner when you serve it.

  3. francesca says:

    A cup and a half of tea leaves is a hell of a lot for 3 quarts of tea! I think I’ll stick with hot water brewing.

  4. war3rd says:

    Actually you are right, Francesca. I’ve been experimenting lately and when I use 1 cup it pretty much tastes the same, so I shaved the recipe down. Why waste good, tea, eh?

  5. Nick says:

    I love iced tea. Never thought of cold-brewing! I might have to try this one. Thanks for experimenting for our benefit!!

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