Here’s how to make cold brew tea: the easiest iced tea! This recipe takes only 1 minute of hands on time and has a beautifully smooth flavor.

Cold brew tea

Craving an ice cold glass of iced tea? Us too. Here’s the easiest way to make it: Cold Brew Tea! It takes just 1 minute of hands on time: then let the pitcher brew in the refrigerator. After 6 hours, you’ve got a cold pitcher of iced tea! The flavor is even smoother than the standard method, with no hint of bitterness at all. Add a sweet of lemon and you’ve got one refreshing drink: perfect for afternoons with about half the caffeine of a cup of coffee. Here’s how to do it!

What you need for cold brew tea

You might be surprised at how easy it is to make cold brew tea at home! It’s much easier than cold brew coffee. There are only two ingredients required to make large pitcher of 8 servings. It’s a refreshing healthy drink that’s very low in calories! Alex and I have been drinking it in the afternoon slump time instead of coffee. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • 1 half gallon jar or 2 quart pitcher
  • Black tea bags: You’ll need 12 bags. Black tea is the best type of tea to use. While it does have caffeine, it’s only about half the caffeine level that’s in a cup of coffee.
  • Water: You’ll need 8 cups of water.
How to make cold brew tea

How to make cold brew tea: basic steps

The instructions for cold brew tea are almost too simple to call a recipe! It takes 1 minute to put together, then 6 hours to steep. Here are the basic steps of how to make cold brew at home:

  • Place tea & water in the pitcher. Use cold water here.
  • Refrigerate 6 hours, or overnight: Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or up to overnight. We found there was a slight improvement in flavor overnight, but it’s very slight. So you can go ahead and enjoy at the 6 hour mark.
Cold brew tea

Cold brew vs iced tea

How is the process for cold brew tea different from the standard iced tea? Here are the major differences:

  • Iced tea is more hands on, but quicker (2.5 hours). For iced tea you bring water to a simmer and then steep the tea for 5 minutes. Then you’ll add cold water, bring to room temp, and then refrigerate for 2 hours. It’s a little more hands, on but quicker overall. Use this
  • Cold brew is easier and smoother flavor. Cold brew tea is simpler but takes a few more hours in the fridge (6 hours). You’ll notice a slight difference in flavor where cold brew is smoother.
Cold brew iced tea

Variation: cold brew sweet tea!

Want to make sweet tea? Sweet tea is a popular style of iced tea with sweetener added. It’s very popular in the Southern US and other countries like Indonesia. You can also use this cold brew tea method to make sweet tea: even though you don’t heat it! Here’s one step to add to the process:

  • Stir in sugar: Add ⅓ cup sugar and stir until it dissolves.

This amount of sugar sweetens the tea just enough so that it accentuates the bold flavor of black tea, but not so much that it’s syrupy sweet. It’s sweetened just enough (less than most sweet tea recipes).

Cold brew tea

Best way to serve cold brew iced tea

Of course, you can drink cold brew tea straight up! If you’re serving it for entertaining, we like to serve it in with a few extras to make it pop. To make it look its best, add the following to the pitcher or serving glass:

  • Ice (use clear ice for a stunning presentation)
  • Lemon slices or wedges (or squeeze a bit in)
  • Fresh mint leaves

Or to get fancy, add lemonade and make it an Arnold Palmer! And that’s it: all you need to know about cold brew tea. Let us know if you make it in the comments below.

This cold brew tea recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, sugar-free (base version), and gluten-free.

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Cold brew tea

Cold Brew Tea Recipe

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 minute
  • Yield: 8 drinks 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Here’s how to make cold brew tea: the easiest iced tea! This recipe takes only 1 minute of hands on time and has a beautifully smooth flavor. 


  • 12 bags black tea
  • 8 cups cold water


  1. Add the tea bags to a half gallon jar or 2 quart pitcher, then fill it with the water.
  2. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Keeps for about 4 days refrigerated.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Tea
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Cold Brew Tea, Iced Tea, How to make cold brew tea

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About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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