It’s the middle of summer! Are you looking for cold refreshing drink ideas?? Unless you’re British, hot tea isn’t going to cut it when it’s hot outside. (I don’t know any of my British friends who skip their daily cups of hot tea, even in summer!) I’m in the mood for something iced, and Cold Brewed Tea is the perfect drink! It’s easy, refreshing, and tastes great!
All you need is tea, water, and time.
I made this Cold Brewed Tea with white tea, but you can use whatever tea you’d like. Earl Grey, English Breakfast, PGTips, Jasmin, Peppermint…whatever suits your fancy. You can use tea bags, but loose tea leaves work better so that they have room to expand and circulate in the water.
No loose tea? No problem! Just take the tea bags and cut them open and you’ve got loose tea! That’s what I do and it works great.
To brew the tea, I use a French press carafe, but you can use any bottle you have on hand, or even a bowl! Pour room temperature filtered water into the bottle with the loose tea leaves. Cover it and leave it alone for about 8-12 hours. I often start the tea brewing before I go to bed so there is tea ready to drink the next day. It’s also easier to leave it alone if I’m asleep!
After those hours pass, if you use a French press carafe, push the plunger down to filter out the tea leaves. Cover the mouth of the bottle you’ll be storing the tea with cheesecloth and pour the tea. The cheesecloth will filter out any remaining (or all) of the tea leaves.
Then you’ll be left with pure golden tea.
The great thing about cold brewed tea is the lack of bitterness. Brewing tea in hot water often results in bitter aftertastes, which doesn’t taste that great, hot or cold. However, letting the tea leaves slowly steep in room temperature water produces a smoother and slighter sweeter tea. I find that because the tea isn’t bitter, I don’t need to add any sweetener to it at all. Just a squeeze of lime and it’s perfect.
If you prefer a sweeter tea, feel free to add honey or your favorite sweetener to the tea. But give the tea a try without any sweetener to start to see if you like it!
Here is a variation of Cold Brewed Tea to make cold lemon tea, a very popular drink here in Hong Kong.
It is basically cold black tea with a few slices of lemon, sometimes on ice. More often than not, they sweeten it (too much), but I always ask for it without sugar. Needless to say, the tea is still bitter, most likely because they brew the tea with hot water.
However, when I make iced lemon tea at home, I stick with the cold brew method. I just regular black tea, like PG Tips, and it is smooth with no bitterness. Cold brewing is definitely the way to go when you wanted iced tea!
Cold Brewed Tea
- 4 tea bags, cut open and loose tea leaves poured out
- 4 cups filtered room temperature water
Combine loose tea leaves and water in a French press carafe, bottle, or bowl big enough to hold all the liquid.
Cover and store on the counter, or in the fridge, for 8-12 hours. If using a French press carafe, leave the plunger up. The longer you steep the tea, the stronger it will be.
Pour the tea through a few layers of cheesecloth into a bottle. If using a French press carafe, push the plunger down before pouring the tea into the bottle.
Store tea covered in the fridge for about a week. Serve over ice and with a lime wedge or lemon slices.