Iced Tea Basics

Because iced tea is such a versatile drink, it appeals to a wide range of customers, from those who want a sweet treat to those seeking a healthy and hydrating beverage.  It’s also easy to doll up with other ingredients such as fresh herbs or fruit slices to create one-of-a-kind seasonal specials.  Iced tea offers a unique way for tea shops and cafes to cater to customers looking for something cool and refreshing while boosting tea sales.

There are two main ways to brew iced tea: cold brewing and the hybrid method. Cold brewing creates a naturally sweeter tea since it lacks the tannins and polyphenols that can make tea bitter. The hybrid method is faster and is necessary for properly infusing spices. Both methods have their benefits, so it's important to choose the right one for your needs. Cold brewing is ideal for those who want a sweet, delicious, iced tea without any bitterness. The hybrid method is perfect for those who want a faster brew or if your iced tea includes spices. No matter which method you choose, you'll be sure to enjoy a refreshing cup of iced tea.

Cold Brew
     •  Use approximately 1/2 cup of loose tea per gallon of cold water. 
     •  Simply mix and put in the refrigerator for 10-12 hours.  

Hybrid Hot Brew
     •  Put a scant 1/2 cup of loose tea in a 1-gallon, heat-resistant pitcher. 
     •  Add just enough hot water (check label for correct temperature) to cover the tea leaves.  Steep for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
     •  After steeping, fill pitcher with cold water and let steep in refrigerator for an additional 2-4 hours. 

So, which to choose? It depends on the tea and also how much time you have.  Cold brew iced tea will taste sweet and will have no astringency or bitterness.  For some teas, like our house Iced Tea Blend, this is a great method.  Other teas need a bit of hot steeping to bring more flavor out of the leaf.


  • Teas with hard spices (cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, etc.) require the hybrid method to soften the spices.
  • Green teas are best cold-brewed so they don't turn bitter.  If you do hot brew them, however, use the water temperature and time listed on the label, don't use boiling water!
  • If you want to make tea mixed drinks with other strong flavors, make a concentrate by doubling the amount of tea you use.
  • Garnishes!  Lemon is a classic, but any citrus will work.  Also try thinly sliced pears or whole berries.  Unexpected herbs like basil, rosemary and thyme also make a statement.