How to Make the Best Iced Tea

how to make the best iced tea :: cold-brewed versus hot-brewed

First of all, you need to use loose leaves. No powder and no special machine. All you need to make the perfect iced tea is a glass jar, cold water, possibly a kettle, loose tea leaves, other ingredients to add flavor and garnishes.

Chances are that you make iced tea with hot water but I prefer the cold-brewed technique. I also enjoy the fact that it is simpler to prepare. I discovered the technique when I was in San Francisco in June. We stopped by a Lupicia shop to taste and buy tea leaves for my husband. The Grapefruit Green leaves make a sublime iced tea.

The Fridge Iced Tea Method

Cold-brewed iced tea is becoming more and more popular. It produces a more subtle tea than the hot-brewed technique. It is recommended to use filtered water or natural source water. You can use tap water as long as it is tasteless.

Basically, the cold-brewed iced tea method is done in 5 easy steps:

  • Pour the cold water into a glass jar,
  • Put your tea leaves in a generous size tea strainer,
  • Place the tea on the fridge to infuse overnight,
  • Remove the strainer in the morning,
  • Pour you a glass filled with ice, garnish and enjoy your creation on the porch.

You can do two batches of iced teas with the same leaves. The second batch will be weaker but it will be still delicious.

The Teas Dictate Which Brewing Methods

Use hot water if you are making your iced tea with Assam, Ceylon or Darjeeling second flush. You can add fine sugar while the water is very hot. But I prefer to let people sweeten their tea they way they like it. Therefore, I serve simple syrup.

If you use flavored green teas, Japanese green teas, white teas and Darjeeling first flush, go for the cold-brewed method.

Lemon verbera and green tea mix very well. Lemon verbera has a strong lemon scent. If you rub the leaves, your finger will be filled by the wonderful scent. Elise of Simply Recipes published a Lemon Verbena Mint Herb Tea recipe.

Simple Rules for Making  Teas

If you want a stronger tea, have more leaves and respect the recommended infusion time. Never steep longer as it adds an unwanted bitter taste.

Know the ideal water temperature for your tea. Let the boiling water cools down a bit before pouring the water. if you are making hot-brewed iced tea, wait until it is cold before putting it on the fridge. Otherwise, your tea will be more cloudy than usual.

If you still prefer the hot-brewed technique, Chow published a Mint and Lime Iced Tea recipe done with green tea leaves.

+ Lemon Verbena Mint Herb Tea recipe by Simply Recipes
+ Lupicia Handy Cooler 1 liter $18 USD
+ Grapefruit Green Leaves $5.50 for 50 g
+ Bodum Ceylon Iced Tea Maker and Water Infuser $23.57 USD
+ Mint and Lime Iced Tea recipe by Chow

  • Oza Meilleur
    August 25, 2009 at 15:55

    Bonjour Kim!

    I’m a big tea drinker, so when summer arrives, I resort to iced tea to keep me fresh (and awake) while I work. But never had I heard of cold-brewed iced tea before — much more convenient and, if you think about it, also more eco-friendly as you’re not using energy to boil the water.

    So from now on, it’s cold-brewed tea for me!
    Thanks so much for this very useful post.

    Peace & Love & A Little Mint On The Side,
    Mudd a.k.a. Happy Oza 🙂

  • myth
    August 25, 2009 at 20:57

    Tea and the Tea Culture of China

    Since I started my major in the tea culture of China, I have been deeply impressed by its sophistication and beauty. I would like to share some fascinating aspects of the tea culture of China.

    In a country with the history of five thousand years, the Chinese tea drinking habit dated back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907AD). It became a national tradition and led to development of a delicate tea drinking ritual. Over the centuries, poets and artists in China wrote many marvelous masterpieces, in appreciation of tea and Chinese people’s constant love of tea ……


  • Pam Wenzel
    January 6, 2011 at 19:32

    Enjoyed this too:)