There have been many advantages of work from home life: sleeping in a bit, wearing sweat pants, and mid-day dog snuggles, to name a few. But I sure do miss my access to free and unlimited drinks including iced tea on tap. Fortunately, I’ve found an easy way to keep myself tea’d up: cold brew iced tea.
How to Make Cold Brew Iced Tea
Cold brewing is the easiest and most foolproof way to make a decent glass of iced tea. I like that I don’t have to figure out how long to steep the tea in hot water. I don’t have to debate how much cold water to use to cool off a boiling batch of tea.
It’s simple: toss some tea bags in a large jug or pitcher, add water, and wait for at least 8 hours. The result is perfect tea. It never gets bitter because there’s no hot water involved so you can store your tea bags in the tea and you’ll just end up with slightly stronger tea the longer it sits which isn’t a problem for me.
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The long seeming 8-hour brew time might test your patience, but pop a batch in the fridge before bed. Your iced tea will steep while you sleep.
For black tea, I steep 4 family size iced tea bags in a 2 quart mason jar filled with cold water. If you only have regular sized tea bags, use 8.
Tea to Use for Cold Brew Tea
I really like the Luzianne Family Size Iced Tea Bags which are ridiculously inexpensive on Amazon. The price comes out to just $0.32 per half gallon of tea. These tea bags aren’t corporate office priced (i.e., free), but it’s much cheaper than soda or seltzer!
Luzianne claims to be specially brewed for iced tea. I’m not sure what that means, but I do know that I had several boxes of this tea in my pantry for YEARS and the tea tasted great until the end. Now that I make iced tea more often, I go through them much faster, these days.
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I also like hibiscus tea as an alternative to black tea. It’s slightly fruity and floral tasting and reminds me of Koolaid in the best possible way. Starbucks sells this stuff as a refresher, but save your bucks and brew your own! I like Tazo Passion Tea and The Republic of Tea Hibiscus Sangria.
Iced Tea Sweeteners
I like to sweeten my tea by the glass instead of sweetening an entire batch. In a pinch, I like to use Splenda because it dissolves easily in cold liquid without leaving sugar granules at the bottom of my glass. But, it’s just as easy to make a quick simple syrup.
To whip up a batch of simple syrup, fill a mason jar up halfway with sugar. Then fill the rest of the jar up with hot water from a kettle. Stir to dissolve the sugar, cool, and refrigerate. It’s perfect for sweetening your tea, but is also great to have on hand for making cocktails!
For a more tropical flavor, I also often use passion fruit and guava nectars which I can easily find in my grocery store. They are fairly inexpensive and less than a dollar for a 10 oz can. I use about 1/4 of a cup for a pint of iced tea.
One final tip for flavoring your tea: keep a mason jar of cut lemons ready to go. I find that lemons cut and stored in the fridge last at least two weeks which is longer than they seem to last in the fruit basket uncut. Obviously, lemons are a natural iced tea enhancer and sometimes I like to squeeze many wedges in my tea to make an on-the-fly Arnold Palmer.
Watch: How To Make Cold Brew Iced Tea
How to Make Cold Brew Iced Tea with Tea Bags
Cold Brew Iced Tea
- 4 family size black tea bags like Luzianne or 8 regular size tea bags
- 8 cups water
Sweetener & Flavoring Options
- simple syrup
- tropical fruit nectar
- lemon wedges
- Add tea bags to a 2 quart mason jar or pitcher. Cover with water and fill your jar or pitcher. Cover. Steep in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. If you do this step before bed, you'll have iced tea waiting for you when you wake up!
- Sweeten with simple syrup, fruit nectar, or zero calorie sweetener. Serve with a lemon wedge if you'd like.
- I like using the Luzianne Family Size Iced Tea bags.
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