Making Cold Brewed Tea
Many teas can be brewed very successfully in cold water. Cold infusion is ideal for making iced teas. Teas that would normally be cloudy when brewed hot and then chilled, like most Assams for example, will produce a beautiful clear brew in cold water.
This recipe will make 2 quarts of tea at a light and refreshing strength.
- 2 qt. iced tea pitcher (glass or polycarbonate preferred)
- Room temperature filtered or spring water
- 1 #4 size t-sac
- 1 t-sac clip
- 15 grams or 0.5 ounce premium loose leaf tea*
- Long handled tongs
* Between 6 and 8 tablespoons of loose tea – 6 tablespoons of finely cut black tea, 8 tablespoons of full leaf teas or herbals. If you prefer strong iced tea, increase the amount of tea to 24 grams (10 to 12 tablespoons).
- measure the loose tea and pour into a t-sac. (For larger quantities of tea, use one t-sac for each 0.5 ounce or 1/4 cup.)
- fold the long flap of the t-sac down to close the top of the t-sac. Secure this with the clip. (if you don’t have a clip, a staple will work.) Leave plenty of room for the tea to expand.
- place the filled and closed t-sac into a pitcher and add 2 quarts of filtered water.
- refrigerate for 4 – 6 hours (or overnight).
- remove spent t-sac and clip with tongs.
- Pour over ice and enjoy!
Be sure to write down your results. You may find that some teas are best strong, while others are best diluted.
How much iced tea in a 4 oz. bag? Using the 15 gram (0.5 ounce) formula above you will get 8 two quart pitchers or 4 gallons. If you make the tea 1 gallon at a time be sure to use multiple t-sacs ( one for every two quarts). Put no more than 15 grams of loose leaf tea in each #4 t-sac. Loose tea expands as it infuses. If it is packed too tightly it will not infuse properly. This will result in a weak infusion and/or wasted tea.
How about making Sun Tea? In a word, Don’t! A closed jug of water sitting in sunlight will quickly reach a temperature over 100 degrees F. At that temperature, and with the organic matter in the water (the tea leaves), you have created a nearly perfect environment to growing a jar full of bacteria. Play it safe! The tea doesn’t need the heat to infuse, it just needs time. So plan ahead and keep it safe to drink by keeping it in the refrigerator.
Can I use teabags? Of course! Although you won’t have the range of flavors available in loose teas, Most good teabag brands will also produce a good iced tea. To keep it economical, it is best to buy good quality teas in larger packages. For example many British teas come in 80 count boxes, and PG Tips is frequently available in 160 or 240 count boxes. Follow the same method described above, but use 4 – 5 teabags for 2 quarts (8 – 10 teabags per gallon). Since teabag tea is cut much more finely than loose tea, it will infuse in about one half the time allowed above for loose tea.