You can now find in almost every tea house, and even outlets that just sell tea as a food service, are all starting to offer a cold brew iced tea option. This is because this type of iced tea has managed to gradually gain popularity.
It is usually prepared to give it a satisfying subtle and smooth flavor. It is also not that hard to prepare, and because of this it has grown in popularity.
This is all encapsulated in cold brewed iced tea being the perfect refreshing cold drink for you to enjoy during the hot summer months.
However, since it is a type of drink which often requires a lot of time to be prepared, as well as some preparation skills, those who have not made it before have started to worry about how safe it is to make this type of tea.
Because of this we have put this guide together to give you all the information you need on how safe it is to make your own cold brew iced tea, and what the safest way to make this refreshing drink is.
So, if you want to make a cold brew iced tea, but you are unsure what the safest way to do so is, then keep reading this guide!
Cold Brew Tea Or Sun Tea?
If you have heard of it, you might know that sun tea used to be a relatively popular option for preparing tea.
The method of making it was simple, you would put your clear glass pitcher outdoors, and then you would fill it with something like Lipton tea bags, and then you would fill the pitcher with room temp water.
After this all you would do is place it in a warm place in the sun so it can steep. However, this method of preparing tea started to gradually lose its popularity when studies found microbes would start to grow in this type of tea since it would just be sitting out on a warm day for hours.
The main reason for this is that the warmth given from the sun would be enough for the tea to steep, but not hot enough to kill any unwanted bacteria in the water.
Because of these health concerns that led sun tea to lose its popularity, you can understand why so many people are concerned with how to brew cold brew iced tea properly and safely.
However, the method of brewing cold brew iced tea is a lot more controlled, so you will not need to worry about growing bacteria. This method will also likely get you better results than making a sun tea as well.
How To Cold Brew Your Tea
Making a cold brew iced tea is actually almost as simple as making your own sun tea, but as we alluded to in the previous section, it is much safer when you are doing it properly.
So, while the process and principle of brewing this tea is very similar, there are some key differences you should know. For example, you will be eschewing the kettle along your hot water to ensure the tea is getting steeped.
By cold infusing your tea, all you are doing is extracting flavor from your tea leaves, but not by using heat.
This means that the process will be a lot slower, usually needing between 6 and 8 hours, so you will need to give yourself a good amount of time to get this tea ready.
The flavors that come from the tea leaves are going to be released gradually, and this means that you will get very little bitterness, and the overall flavor will be a lot more smooth.
If you are doing a cold infusion for your tea, you will end up with a flavor that is a lot more mellow and a bit more sweet, this is because you will not be getting any of the chemicals that come with hot brewing tea.
There are some notes you should keep in mind before making cold brew iced tea. Firstly, you will need to ensure that your cold infused tea is getting refrigerated throughout the brewing, you will not just want to use cold water as you will let it sit on the countertop after infusion.
Your iced tea, if made correctly should last for a few days in your fridge and will still be good.
Cold Brew Green Tea
If you want a type of cold brew iced tea that is perfect for refreshing you on a warm day, then we have to recommend iced green tea.
This is the perfect thirst quenching drink, and if you are craving a green tea, but do not want a hot one, this one will be perfect, and luckily this type of tea is actually perfect for being cold brewed(see also: How To Cold Brew Tea).
When it comes to our favorite types of green tea to cold brew, we have to choose a jasmine green tea, especially the type from Kusmi tea.
This jasmine green tea has a light jasmine flavor which you can capture perfectly through cold brewing and will be smooth when you drink it.
There are plenty of reasons we love the Kusmi tea bags other than their flavor, for example, the tea bags are made with muslin that makes them eco friendly, and also makes cold brewing with them super easy!
Method For Cold Brewing This Tea
For every 6 ounces of cold filtered water that you are using to make the tea, we recommend using one tea bag, so make sure to measure precisely to get the best flavor possible.
Once you are sure you have your measurements correct, you want to put your teabags into the pitcher, then you want to combine this tea with your water and then leave it in the fridge to infuse.
You want this to be refrigerated for about 8 hours if you want to get the best results. After you are sure it is ready you want to take out and discard the teabags, and then serve the drink cold.
Steeping Tea That Is Hot Brewed Or Cold Brewed?
As we have alluded to, there are specific differences between a cold brew iced tea and a hot brewed tea, that are not just in the flavor, but in the chemical composition of them as well.
If you are hot brewing your tea, it will usually have been in your boiling water for anywhere between 3 and 7 minutes, and as you have seen already, a cold brewed tea will be in the water for a lot longer, but of course the temperature will be a lot different too.
There are chemicals that can taste nice that are extracted from your tea leaves when they are in hot water, that you will not get from cold water. This shows that the time of steeping, and how many tea leaves are used can massively affect the overall flavor.
Specifically, the hot brewed tea will be pulling out the tannins from your tea, and this can create some bitter flavors, however, the flavor pulled out when cold brewing will avoid these tannins and will give you a more smooth and refreshing tea that is perfect for sipping on over the summer months and will not be bitter at all.
The cold brew iced tea specifically will be pulling out fewer of the tannins and the catechins. While we know how cold brewing affects the flavor, we do not know how it affects the caffeine content of the tea.
How To Cold Brew An Iced Tea
As you have seen, the technique for brewing will drastically affect how the tea tastes, and the concentration of the flavanols in the tea.
You know that the higher the temperature your tea is brewed in, the quicker the speed of the diffusion will be, so the hotter the water, the more catechins and tannins will get drawn out from the leaves.
If you have ever seen a well brewed cold brew iced tea before, you will likely have noticed that the final product is incredibly clear, and there is very little sediment at the bottom of the container either.
This is because you will not be pulling the heavier molecules like tannins, and these are what tends to settle and the bottom of the solution.
While some teas are better suited to getting cold brewed, some teas will work better than others. For example, our method works best when you are cold brewing green teas, for example matcha. However, you can also brew tea like Darjeeling or herbal teas as well.
How Long To Cold Brew Your Tea
While we have given some specific brewing times here, we know that you can get some amazing results from experimenting with your brewing times, but if you want something to follow keep reading!
For a green tea, a white tea, or an Oolong tea, you will want to be infusing this between 6 and 8 hours. For a black tea you will want to have this brewing in your cold water between 8 and 12 hours, and this same timing will also work for herbal teas too.
How Much Tea To Use For A Cold Brew?
To get the best flavor from your tea, and to get the best flavor possible, you will want to use about 1.5 the amount of tea which you would typically enjoy for a hot brewed tea.
For example, if you tend to enjoy 3 grams of loose leaf tea for your hot tea, you want to multiply the amount by 1.5 and then you will get 4.5 grams of tea leaves, and this is how much you can use for a cold brew, but again, feel free to experiment with this amount.
Best Iced Tea Makers?
There are actually plenty of different tools you can use to make your iced tea with, so for this section of the guide we will be going over all of our favorite options and let you know which we think is best for different situations.
This is quite a unique tool, and it works by suspending ice over your small container which holds onto your tea, under this is a container which has a pitcher that will then catch the tea that has been brewed.
The ice will melt, soak up the tea, and then move into the next chamber one drop at a time. These tea leaves will be getting saturated at a very slow rate with each drop getting an incredibly high concentration as the drips of infusion will go into the pitcher.
Making cold brew iced tea this way will actually only take between 2 to 5 hours to get a full batch, which is a bit faster than other methods, but the product you get after will vary in size depending on the size of your infuser tower.
Pitcher And Refrigerate
This is the most common method since it uses a device which everyone usually already owns, that is why most of the advice in this article assumes this is what you are working with.
All you have to do is get your favorite glass pitcher and then fill it with your filtered water and add all the tea leaves or tea bags you need. After this you leave it in your fridge for anywhere between 6 and 12 hours depending on the type of tea you are making.
This is another quite simple method which uses something which you might already have lying around. All you have to do is fill your mason jar with tea leaves and water and leave it for a few hours in the fridge. This is a great idea if you just want to get a single serving.
Cold Brew Tea Bottle
You can do this using any typical hot tea infuser. All you have to do is add in your favorite tea to the basket or whatever container is used and then fill the other container with cold water, and then just put it in your fridge overnight, again this will get you some delicious refreshing cold brew iced tea the next morning.
There are plenty of different types of bottles designed to do this, so make sure to do some research before choosing your favorite one.
Cold Brew Iced Tea Recipe
This is our go-to recipe for making a cold brew iced tea, of course like our other recipes for tea, you can adapt this however you want, but we recommend making it our way first, and then once you are comfortable with the recipe, then move onto adapting it to your taste.
It is worth keeping in mind that for the best results, you want to use the best quality tea possible, of course the recipe matters, but if you are working with a low quality tea, you are destined to not get the best results.
The tea that we usually make this cold brew iced tea using is a Chinese white tea that includes jasmine pearls and rose buds.
It is quite a high quality tea so we know that we will get great results when working with it, however, this method should be able to get the best potential from any type of tea that you are brewing.
Since cold brewing is still a relatively new way of making tea, it is worth noting that this is not an exact science and the details of getting the best results are still being worked out.
This is why after you have made this recipe the first time, we recommend experimenting to see what works best for you, this is especially important if you are working with different types of tea as well.
As we mentioned earlier a lighter tea like white, green, or Oolong will need less time to brew than a black tea, you also want to choose a tea that you like when it is not sweet since it can be hard to incorporate a sweetener into cold brew iced tea, but it can sometimes work.
For this method, all you will need is to have 2 cups of filtered cold water, and about 6 grams of your favorite tea. For this recipe we used a Chinese white tea with jasmine and rose flavors.
The method for this tea is just as simple as the ingredients, all you need to do is add your tea leaves to a pitcher and then pour over your water into the pitcher. Once this is done all you need to do is cover this and put it in your fridge for around 8 hours.
Once this is done, if you used a loose leaf tea, you want to pour out the tea using a strainer, and if you used teabags, you want to pull them out and discard them. Once this is done you are ready to serve and enjoy your tea!
Beware Of Lipton Cold Brew Tea Bags
It is worth noting that there is no version of instant cold brew iced tea which will work amazingly. A cold brew tea will not be the same as an instant version.
The reason why these instant versions of the tea will be patented is because the tea which is used will have been altered. The way the tea is altered is to change the tea to act like it is being hot brewed when it is being cold brewed.
It is designed to look like a hot brewed drink, but just cold. While you can find products which actually contain tea leaves, they usually mainly contain an instant tea powder or just cover tea leaves with extracts.
You can see if you read the patents that these teabags often use powders and extracts, as well as colorants which can drastically alter the results.
Cold Brewing Matcha
A drink that can be instantly brewed that uses cold water is matcha, this is because of how matcha is made like a powder. Like our other recipes, you can also experiment with this, for example, you can add some fresh juice, or sparkling water to make it more refreshing.