Why You Should Start Brewing Iced Tea With Cold Water

If you're having guests over for a party on a sweltering summer day, then we can bet that refreshing homemade iced tea will feature on your menu. This classic drink is so simple yet so tasty and probably the number one weapon to survive any unbearable heat. To ensure you make the smoothest, sweetest, most irresistible tea that won't end up bitter, cold brewing is the way to go. 

Unlike hot water, using cold water to prepare your tea results in fewer tannins, which leads to a smoother flavor, says Steve Schwartz, Art of Tea's master tea blender (via Today). Tea tannins are also known for their astringency, so with fewer of them in the cold brew, you won't need to worry about the uncomfortable puckering sensation from overly concentrated tea. Also, since your cold brew tea sits in the fridge overnight, you'll end up with an already-cooled pitcher, so no need to add too many ice cubes to chill it further; hence you can avoid diluting your perfectly made iced tea.

How to brew iced tea with cold water

Cold brew tea is simple to make; just remember to factor in the hours it takes until it's adequately steeped. So, whichever day you choose to serve the iced tea, we recommend starting to prep the day before. The first step is to fill a glass jar with cold water and tea — 1 tea bag or 1 ½ teaspoons of loose tea for every cup of water (6 to 8 ounces). Next, cover and place the jar in the refrigerator and let it steep overnight. Note that the exact number of hours required to steep depends on the kind of tea you're using. White or green tea takes 6 to 8 hours, while oolong or black tea needs a good 8 to 12 hours.

After steeping, remove the tea bags or sachets from the water or sieve out the loose tea leaves. Now the only step that remains is sweetening the tea (if you prefer sweet tea), and that's pretty easy to do using a liquid sweetener like honey, agave nectar, or simple syrup. Garnish with a lemon slice and some mint leaves, and voilà! Your cold brew iced tea is ready to serve.