How To Make The Perfect Iced Tea

For tea drinkers, a hot mug may not be the most appealing idea on a summer day, so there’s iced tea instead. How do you make the best iced tea?

Get a good tea

For great iced tea, you want great tea – no surprise there. If you are using tea bags, you want a high-quality brand, which usually means the tea leaves are larger. If you get one with really dusty tea, the flavor just won’t be there. The best choice, however, is loose-leaf tea.

Choose a brewing method

For the hot brew method, you make tea like normal. The temperature of the water depends on the kind of tea. Black teas can be brewed with boiling water, while more delicate ones like Japanese green teas like cooler water. The length of steep time also varies. If you steep certain teas too long, they become bitter. Black teas (both loose leaf and bags) steep for 3-5 minutes, while green only needs 2-4 minutes with loose leaf tea and 1-3 minutes with a tea bag. With loose leaf, pour through a strainer after steeping. Sweeten to your liking while the tea is still warm, let it get to room temperature, and then stick in the fridge to chill.

For a cold brew, tea to cold water, and then refrigerate. For black tea, steep for 6-10 hours. For more delicate teas, 2-6 hours is enough. To sweeten, you’ll need to use a simple syrup or honey before the cold steep, since granulated sugar won’t dissolve.

What are the best flavors for iced tea?

Technically, you can use any tea for iced tea, but there are flavors that are especially good cold. Peppermint is a really refreshing iced tea, while green teas are also great with add-ins like honey and mint. Hibiscus is a really popular choice, too, with a sweet-tart flavor. To make a classic peach iced tea, Cup & Leaf recommends bringing peaches, water, and sugar to a boil, and then simmering to really get an intense peach flavor. Cool, and then mix with chilled tea. Store in the fridge for 2 hours or so, so the peach infuses the tea.