The Blend

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Blog

holding a refreshing cup of iced tea

How to Make the Perfect Iced Tea


Make some hot tea, pour it over some ice, throw in some sugar, and you’re enjoying a refreshing glass of iced tea in no time, right? Not exactly. Unless you want watered-down, bitter, or synthetically-sweet iced tea you should follow our guide below to make iced tea that is loaded with flavor and properly chilled. 


Hot-Brewed or Cold-Brewed Iced Tea?


Much like coffee, cold-brewing iced tea is becoming more popular. This time-intensive method involves fewer steps, but requires planning and patience. Regarding flavor, cold-brewed iced tea is extremely smooth and contains almost no astringency. We’ll include the steps for both methods so you can decide which one packs the flavor you prefer.


What You’ll Need


In order to make iced tea at home you only need a few basic pieces of kitchenware:

  • Your favorite tea bags or loose leaf tea

  • Kettle

  • Large heatproof bowl

  • Sieve

  • Pitcher

  • Filtered water, if possible 


How to Make Iced Tea


For hot-brewed iced tea:


  • Use about one tea bag per 8 ounces of water. If you want to make a pitcher of iced tea that will hold eight glasses, use 8 tea bags.

  • Place any aromatics you plan to use (like lemon peels, orange peels, or herbs) into your heatproof bowl.

  • Boil your water in a kettle and then pour the hot water into the heatproof bowl. Add your tea bags. Depending on the strength of tea you prefer, allow the tea bags to steep for 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Remove the tea bags from the bowl and let the tea completely cool. Pour your tea into the pitcher through a sieve to remove the aromatics. Cover the pitcher and store it in the refrigerator to chill.

For cold-brewed iced tea:


  • Place any aromatics you want to use in the bottom of your pitcher.

  • Use a few more tea bags than you would for hot-brewed iced tea. For example, if you plan to fill your pitcher with 8 glasses of cold water use 10 tea bags instead of 8.

  • Pour cold filtered water into your pitcher through the tea bags. Secure the top of your pitcher and store it in the refrigerator.

  • Allow your tea to steep for 12 to 36 hours.

    The first time you make cold-brewed iced tea, check the strength of the tea after 12 hours of steeping. Continue to steep the tea based on your preferences. Check the tea every 8 to 12 hours to test it. Most teas will be bitter after 36 hours of steeping.

  • Once the tea has reached your desired strength, pour the tea into a bowl or another pitcher through a sieve to remove any aromatics you used. 


How to Make Sweet Tea


Don’t add raw sugar to your iced tea when you serve it — if you want authentic and smooth Southern sweet tea you should make a simple syrup at home to add to your iced tea.

To do this, combine 3/4 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add one infuser if you like — options include a cinnamon stick, fresh peaches, lavender, or vanilla beans. Remove the simple syrup from heat and allow it to cool. Finally, strain it through a fine sieve to produce liquid syrup that will make any cup of iced tea a delectable treat. 


Use Tea Designed to Be Iced


Any standard black or green tea will produce drinkable iced tea, but for an elevated taste choose a tea sourced from around the world that is meant to be iced. Orchard Peach Iced Tea from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® provides cool refreshment with the sweet, succulent flavor of fresh orchard peaches that complements the grassy essence of Sri Lankan green tea. It's also packed in ready-to-brew pouches so only 1 pouch is needed for a pitcher. 


Follow these guidelines to brew the perfect pitcher of iced tea that will make any sweltering summer day instantly more enjoyable.