For a tea lover, nothing welcomes summer better than a tall glass of homemade iced tea. Not that something as magical as cold brew tea needs a season dedicated to it! Refreshing, relaxing and ready to be paired with practically any meal, it’s perfect for year-round drinking. Pour yourself a glass when you need energy to tackle a long to-do list or a reminder to chill and take it easy. A delicious homemade iced tea will always, always do the trick.
The world of iced tea is exciting and diverse. From classic preparations to new and often unusual pairings of tea leaves, herbs, fruits and spices, there’s enough variety to keep you brewing through the summer.
We’ve picked out and reviewed a few amazing and must-try options at the end of this article.
But first, let’s look at a few basics about making a perfect glass of homemade iced tea.
how to make iced tea from scratch
While you can simply buy bottled iced tea from a store, it won’t come close to the fresh flavors and mouthfeel of homemade iced tea that you brew from scratch. Iced tea offers a lot of freedom to try things out in your own style. But even for beginners, a basic version is easy to make.
Making iced tea with premeasured iced tea pouches
By far the simplest way to make a delicious iced tea is to use a premeasured iced tea pouch. Many popular tea shops offer these pouches that are usually good for half a gallon of iced tea. You can simply follow the brewing instructions, and don’t have to measure or check the taste for every batch.
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2 QT Iced Tea Pouches – Classic Black Tea
Orchard Iced Teas
2 QT Iced Tea Pouches – Passionfruit Jasmine Tea
Making iced tea with tea bags
If you don’t have premeasured iced tea pouches, you can also use your regular tea bags. As a general rule of thumb, a small teabag will need about 8 ounces of water. You can easily use quite a lot of tea bags thorough the summer, buying tea in bulk can help you save money. A common practice is to brew it just like hot tea (3-5 minutes in filtered hot water). Let the brew cool down to room temperature, and then chill it in the refrigerator. You can also speed things up by directly pouring the brewed tea over ice.
Organic Breakfast Tea Bags
How to make cold brewed iced tea
However, if you really want to enhance the flavors of your homemade iced tea, all leading tea brands recommend cold brewing. A cold brew iced tea retains the signature notes and flavors of your favorite tea, without any of the bitterness associated with its tannins. Cold brew iced teas also last longer in the fridge.
To make a delightful cold brew tea, place the tea bags in a pitcher or large teapot. Pour cold or room temperature water over this (keeping in mind the thumb rule: 8 ounces of water per teabag). Let it steep overnight, strain, chill and serve with any add-on flavors or spices you like!
Iced ingenuiTEA Teapot
Making iced tea with black or green loose leaf tea
The process is similar to the one used for tea bags. You can either steep your loose leaf tea in hot water for 3-5 minutes, then chill or pour it over ice. But the best way is to cold brew it.
You can make cold brew iced tea using practically any kind of tea – white tea, black, green, oolong or rooibos. The ideal steeping time may vary a bit from tea to tea. Cold brewed white or green tea can be steeped for 6-8 hours. Black tea or oolong, on the other hand, may need 8-12 hours for the best flavor and strength.
Choosing a good quality tea is essential.
Daily Darjeeling Black Tea from Himalayas
Iced teas are often sweetened with honey as sugar can take a while to dissolve in cold water. For flavored teas, they can also be paired with a wide variety of herbs and fruity add-ons like lemon, peach, strawberries and mint.
If you aren’t sure what would work best, here are some great cold brew iced tea blends from leading tea brands that you can start with.
Combining light, fresh green tea with punchy, tart cranberries, this set of cold brew tea bags is the perfect addition to your summer collection. It makes a “crisp” yet “smooth” homemade iced tea that is “just sweet enough to not need any sweetener”. The aroma of this tea is “pure but not overpowering”, making it a “nice pick-me-up in the morning”.
Lychee Peach Tea
Black tea lovers will dig this fruity blend. “Very crisp”, with “subtle fruity undertones” that “don’t overpower the amazing taste”, this cold brew tea “pairs really well with breakfast”. Its “discreet peach flavor” does not come in the way of the “clean black tea base”. For the practically inclined, this tea “also goes a long way”, lasting for up to 3 rebrews.
Ayurvedic Rose Herbal Green Tea [3.5 oz]
This healthy tea has a green tea base and lots of healing herbs and spices like immunity boosting Holy Basil, rose petals, lemongrass, cinnamon, cloves and mint. “Delicious, spicy, herbal and floral”, this tea is “relaxing yet invigorating”. Tea drinkers love how “you can really taste the spices that went into making it”. Though “full-bodied and vitalizing”, it’s “not too strong” and has a “nice earthy taste”.
Lime in the Coconut
"You put the lime in the coconut and drink them both up." If you don't know it, look it up; especially the Muppets version on MP3. This 'Muppet' inspired blend turned out to be a keeper! Lime in the Coconut green tea is a ridiculously tasty blend of superior Indian Assam and fine Chinese green teas tossed with shredded coconut, lime juice and sunflower petals. You'll love this coconut tea so much you'll scream, "Doctor!" Try it with a little sugar and becomes a desert tea. Buy Lime In The Coconut loose leaf green tea with our 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Lime, coconut and green tea is a perfect combo for any time of the year. Add ice and a touch of honey and turn this into a great summer tea! A little bit of whiskey and it’s even better (I hear) 😉
Boulder Blues Iced Tea Pouches
A fine drink for refined tastes, this set of cold brew tea pouches brings together Japanese Sencha and Chinese Dragonwell teas, with hints of rhubarb and wild strawberries. The “subtle natural sweetness” and “almost creamy quality” of this green tea make it a beautiful “cold and fruity iced drink” that even “those who are pickier about tea” can enjoy.
A caffeine-free herbal blend of dried fruits on ice with a little bit of honey is very refreshing and brings out all the floral and fruit tastes. Can be steeped alone or in combination with any black or green tea.
Peach Oolong Iced Tea
Taiwanese oolong tea with its fresh floral notes meets a perfect match in ripened peach. Tea drinkers call it “summer in a glass”. This tea “smells heavenly when brewing”, has a “nice and toasty” flavor that is “just peachy enough”, and tastes “great without sugar” even though it’s “not super sweet”. Cold steeping is the most popular way to brew this “smooth and delicious” iced tea.