Cold Brew Iced Tea - Easy, Perfect, Loose Leaf!

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Tired of bitter, bland iced tea? Here's a perfect solution... let it steep in the fridge!

It takes 4-8 hours depending on the tea, so it's great to start it before bed or early in the morning.

I've been doing this for years and I couldn't recommend it more. It's perfect for green and white teas - you'll get all the flavor and none of the consequences from water that's a bit too hot or from steeping it too long.

Plus, I'll show you a really simple way to brew with loose leaf tea without having to buy any extra filters or muslin tea bags. :)

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Step 1: What You'll Need:

  • a pitcher
  • a square or rectangle of CLEAN cotton cloth, at least 6x6 inches
  • your preferred tea, around 3 tablespoons
  • warm water from the tap
  • a fridge
  • a bit of time
  • sugar (optional)
I have seen a lot of people recommend using insane amounts of tea for cold brewing - but I have not discovered that I need double or triple the amounts. I'd say start with the 3 tablespoons and work your way up if it's not strong enough.

Plus... tea is expensive, so you don't want to go overboard. :P

Step 2: Make Your Tea Pouch!

Place your tea in the center of the cloth.

Then, fold one corner into the center, followed by the corner that's diagonal to that one.

The remaining two corners are tied loosely over the previous corners, securing them into the middle and keeping the tea inside.

Make sure it is tied loosely, though - the tea will expand as it gets wet. :)

Step 3: Plop the Pouch Into Your Pitcher...

...and fill with warm water from your tap.

(This gives it a bit of a head start!)

Step 4: Put It in the Fridge!

For white, green and herbal teas, four hours is normally enough. For black or spiced teas like chai, I tend to leave them the full eight hours if I can, though I've had them after four hours and they've been fine.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Add sugar if you'd like!

(Note that I prefer to add sugar now because it's better to know how strong your tea actually is before you go dumping sugar into it. You can ruin perfectly good tea with too much sugar!)

And remember that you can compost those tea leaves! :D

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13 Discussions


4 years ago on Introduction

Could you clarify the suggested amount of tea to water proportions? Is it 3 TB tea to a half-gallon or 2 qts of water?

By keeping the tea below 40 degrees, (the temp in your fridge) you prevent bacterial growth and the tannins present in tea from ever blooming. Thats why refrigerator tea tastes so much better. Now leave that same tea out, and let it warm up for about 4 hours and the bacteria and tannins will multiply and you will have bitter tasting tea. Make sure when your brewing in your fridge that you keep a tight lid on the container because the water your brewing with can absorb the flavors and odors of other things in your fridge, i.e. chopped onions adjacent to tea will make for bad tea.

P.S. as a food safety/sanitation auditor I can tell you this is the preferred way of doing it. Go into a mcdonalds and look at their tea dispenser. It will have a time stamp on it. Tea is hot brewed then poured over ice and left out at room temp. 4 hours after its made its thrown away because its not kept under refrigeration.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Yup... NEVER brew in a pitcher. I use one of those light blue water dispensers with a tap and lid. I get them from the Wallymart in the container section. They come in two sizes. I use the smaller/skinnier one now. I also use 1t of cardomom seeds to inhibit mold growth. Cardamom is an antiseptic.


4 years ago on Introduction

I'm not fond of infusing refrigerator odors into my iced tea. Use a 1/2 gal. Mason jar instead of a pitcher. Seal wit lid and band. If you have a vacuum sealer attachment, use it. Lie these on their side to save space. They wont leak. Skip the cloth and just put the tea into the jar. Simply strain through a tea strainer.


7 years ago on Introduction

I know how to stay away from boring bland ice tea come down south and get some sweet iced tea.


8 years ago on Introduction

I love this recipe and told several people about your method! Thakn you for sharing! 5 stars!

2 replies