Want to make iced tea? The easiest way to think of it is you are replacing steeping water with ice. For example, to make a 16 oz cup of iced tea, use the amount of tea leaves you would need for making a 16 oz hot cup of tea - 8 grams or about 2 tbsp - but use half the hot water you would typically use to steep the tea leaves - so roughly 8 ounces. Steeping the 8 grams of tea in 8 ounces of hot water then creates a tea concentrate. Then, you can simply pour your hot concentrate slowly over a full 16 oz cup of ice. Much of the ice will melt, cooling the tea and diluting the tea concentrate to the perfect flavor. Voila! Iced tea.
Step by Step: How to Brew Iced Tea
Heat your water.
To make iced tea, you still need to start with hot water. Heat your water to your desired water temperature. We highly recommend investing in an electric variable temperature kettle so you can get your temperature precise. If you don’t want to invest extra in a variable temperature kettle, we highly recommend at least considering a basic electric kettle that makes boiling water and not a stovetop kettle. Electric kettles heat much more rapidly and are more precise then stovetop kettles. We do not recommend microwaving your water. For those that love their Keurig, your water temperature out of the Keurig is typically only 185 degrees Fahrenheit, so your tea may be a little weak for teas that require 195 or above. Also, filtered water is best here, but tap works as well. Just remember if you use tap water, the flavor of the infusion may be changed.
Quick Water Temperature Cheat Method:
If your electric kettle only heats to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, you can mix with cool water to create other temperatures. For 205 degrees Fahrenheit, use the water boiling straight out of your kettle, it will cool slightly when hitting your room temperature brewing vessel. To get approximately 195 degrees Fahrenheit, use 4 parts boiling water to 1 part cool water. To get approximately 185 degrees Fahrenheit, use 3 parts boiling water to 1 part cool water.
Add leaves to brewing vessel.
Place your infuser in your brewing vessel (cup, teapot, etc.). Measure out your tea and add into your infuser. If you are using a Simple Brew Teapot, add leaves directly to the pot (the lid will strain your leaves). The amount of tablespoons for a hot brew will be listed on the front of your bag per 8 ounces. From our discussion above, remember that you want to use the same amount of tea you would for a hot brew, just cut the water in half to make it iced. Alternatively you can think about it as doubling the amount of tea for the decreased amount of water you use for making iced tea. For example, if you are making a 16 ounce cup of iced tea, you will want to use 8 ounces of water and 8 grams of tea (about 2 tablespoons). If you would like to be precise, feel free to weigh your tea using a small digital food scale, but tablespoon measurements will work perfectly. Just remember to check the specific tablespoon measurements for the tea you want to brew as these measurements can vary tea to tea due to the fluffiness or denseness of the leaves.
Note: If you are using the Quick Water Temperature Cheat Method, add your infuser of leaves after you have added the cool water, pouring boiling water over leaves that require 185-195 degrees Fahrenheit will burn the leaves and create a bitter cup.
Let the leaves steep for the amount of time listed on the bag of tea. After the allotted time, remove the leaves. Leaving the leaves in the cup will create a bitter cup of tea. If you are looking to brew a stronger cup, always add more leaves. Do not steep longer. If you are using the Simple Brew Teapot, you will pour out all the liquid, slowly over a full cup of ice, leaving the leaves strained behind in the Teapot. If you have used a cup infuser, carefully add ice to your cup to dilute and cool your tea concentrate.
When you ice a tea, certain characteristics will be highlighted more, and some less, than when the tea is hot. We have found that fruity teas get fruitier and spices are a bit muted. Also, the flavor will develop more as the tea concentrate adjusts to its new temperature. Enjoy!
Need specific instructions for one of our teas? Check out our Brew Calculator on the Brew Guide.