How to Make the Best Iced Tea: Cold Brew

April 11, 2020

cold brew, cold brew tea, tea, iced tea, black tea
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At this point, the amount of coffee and tea making apparatuses in my kitchen cabinet is almost laughable.

I’m not sure when I grew out of Yo-hoo and IBC Black Cherry in a glass bottle (honestly, I have yet to). But, at some point, the adults decided it was OK that I start drinking my Grandaddy’s black Maxwell House coffee. He methodically set it up to brew the night before and made sure to tell me about how during the Great Depression instead of dessert they had stale bread covered in sugar and drenched with black coffee.

My Grammy, on the other hand, was always a fan of tea and at some point became borderline obsessed with green tea and its antioxidants. To say that tea and coffee have been staples throughout my life is obvious.

Unfortunately, this blog isn’t a recipe for Depression inspired coffee toast (Maybe on…another blog?). It’s a blog about my favorite way to brew delicious iced tea using one of the many beverage accouterments I’ve acquired over the years – thanks to my own fascination with food, beverages, recipe development, and a coffee snob ex-boyfriend or two over the years: the French Press.

cold brew, cold brew tea, tea, iced tea, black tea

Here’s why I’m so sold on cold-brewing iced tea:

It tastes way better

Cold-brew tea tastes smoother, naturally sweeter, and less harsh. When you introduce tea to piping hot water, astringent little molecules called Tannins are released. When you cold brew, they aren’t released as readily.

No boiling water required

This is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s no-fuss and ideal for warm seasons and climates.

It’s less caffeinated

Due to similar principals that make this tea less acidic and bitter – it’s also less caffeinated. This is a win for me. I’ve been on decaf coffee for months now and have no intent on going back.

cold brew, iced tea, cold brew tea, black tea

More Tips:

  • If you’d like to sweeten cold brew tea, I recommend using a liquid sweetener such as simple syrup (just mix equal parts sugar and hot water until it’s dissolved. You could also use Just Date Syrup (a personal fav of mine) or other liquid sweeteners.
  • If you use something other than a french press – try to make sure it’s glass. Plastic tends to stain and can make the tea taste weird.
  • You can use tea bags in place of the loose leaf tea mentioned. Know that it may not taste as good because of tea quality. This method would need to be about 1 cup of water per bag of tea.
  • As you’ll see, I recommend using filtered water. Quality water = quality and tasty tea. My favorite filtration system is this Berkey.
cold brew, iced tea, cold brew tea, black tea

Cold Brew Tea

Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours


  • Filtered Water
  • Loose-leaf tea
  • sweetener (optional)


  1. The amount of filtered water and loose leaf tea that you use will depend on how much tea you'd like to make, and how big your container is. You'll need about 1.5-2 tsp of tea per 1 cup of water.

  2. Add tea and water to your container, cover (don't push the plunger of the french press down yet), and refrigerate for about 12 hours.

  3. Once the tea is done brewing, press down to strain or utilize whatever straining method you've decided to go with. If you're using a french press, go ahead and transfer the brewed tea to other containers if you aren't drinking it all right away. Much like coffee, if you leave cold brew tea in a french press it can get bitter.

  4. Pour the tea into a cup with or without ice depending on your preference and sweeten as desired.

Recipe Notes

  • This method works with most kinds of teas, aside from tea that requires boiling and cooking traditionally such as chai. I love using black tea, but this method is also delicious with green tea, herbal teas, and oolong.
  • Play with infusing other flavors in your tea – in the batch pictured I threw a sprig of mint from my family mint plant into the tea while it brewed and it turned out delicious.

If you use this method, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram and let me know how it worked out! I’d love to see what variations you all come up with 😍

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