Mouthwatering Guide To Cold Brew Tea

cold brew tea

Boy, have we got a treat for you! Just when you least expect it, along comes something brand-spanking new to learn about and to enjoy. Cold brew tea is not what you may think it is. But it’s definitely one of the best ways to enjoy tea!

What Is Cold Brew Tea?

Cold brew tea is a method of brewing tea rather than a type of tea. Not to confuse it with sun tea, cold brewing occurs in the refrigerator. Many tea drinkers are not even aware of this method, and when hearing about it, they assume it is referring to iced tea.

Brewing Methods For Tea

There are different ways to brew tea. The most common (traditional) method is a hot water brew. This is done by placing a tea bag or loose-leaf tea (using an infuser) into the hot water, where it’s allowed to steep. 

The other method is cold brew. Unlike what many think, this method is not sun tea (made in a jar placed in the sun.) Cold brewing is done by filling a container with cold water, adding the tea (teabag or loose-leaf tea), and placing it in the refrigerator overnight or up to 12 hours. 

What Is In Cold Brew Tea?

A cold brew tea is nothing more than water or milk and a type of tea such as black, green, oolong, yellow, white. Or herbs if you want to make a tisane (herbal tea).

Whether you fancy a cold brew black tea or a cold brew green tea, the possibilities of creating something out of this world are endless! When the hot days of summer bear down hard, having a cold brew tea cools you off quickly. Picture in your mind taking that first sip of a chilly cold brew white tea with an infusion of fresh peach. Or perhaps a chilly chai? Are we making your mouth water?

Tea Bag vs. Loose-Leaf Tea: Which Is Better For Cold Brew Tea?

This is a tough one to answer because some will tell you to use tea bags designed for cold brew, while others claim any type of tea is just as good. Cold brew tea bags do offer a more convenient way to make the tea. However, loose-leaf tea is considered to be far superior in quality and taste. 

Can You Make Cold Brew Tea With Regular Tea Bags?

Again, you’ll hear some say regular tea bags are fine to use in cold brewing while others say no. It all comes down to a personal preference.

Can You Cold Brew Tea In Milk?

You sure can! In fact, this method of making a milky, creamy tea is one of the perks of using the cold brew method. You can add any tea you desire to a container with milk and allow it to sit in the refrigerator overnight for a luscious milky tea such as jasmine milk tea

There’s nothing better than making this milky tea to sip on on your way to work the next morning. Better yet, imagine yourself sitting out by the pool sipping away on this drink. We have featured a recipe on how to make it further down.

What Makes Cold Brew Tea Different?

cold brew tea taste

First and foremost, this tea is considered to be far better in the overall taste. Because cold brewing is a gentle, slow process, the tannins in the tea are not extracted into the water. When brewing tea using hot water, tannins are pulled from the tea leaves resulting in a more bitter, astringent flavor. 

Additionally, cold brewing seems to bathe the tea leaves, whereas hot water harshly shocks the tea leaves. The beneficial compounds in tea leaves suffer in the hostile environment of hot water. Likewise, cold brewing enables those same tea leaves to relax and unfold slowly as the beneficial compounds are released in a more controlled, conducive environment.

If you were offered a choice of a scalding bath or a nice warm bath, you would most likely opt for the warm one. After all, it’s a bit difficult to relax and enjoy a bath that literally cooks you. Get the picture?

Cold Brew vs. Hot Brew vs. Hot Brew+Ice

An intriguing research article (Effects of alternative steeping methods on composition, antioxidant property and colour of green, black, and oolong tea infusions) studied how cold brew, hot brew, and hot brew plus ice added affected levels of caffeine and beneficial compounds (phenols, catechins, etc.) The study examined black, green, and oolong teas.

Brewing methods significantly affect various types of tea. 

Cold Brew

Hot Brew

Hot Brew (plus ice)

Overall: provides the best in benefits (more phenols, highest antioxidants/gallic acid,) less caffeine, less bitterness, better aroma

Overall: the increase in water temperature breaks down beneficial compounds and yields higher levels of caffeine

Overall: provides the same quality and benefits as a hot brew

Infusion Time: very long

Infusion Time: shorter

Infusion Time: shorter

Benefits: higher

Benefits: lower

Benefits: lower

Approx. Caffeine (mg/6 oz.) 

  • Black Tea: 16 mg
  • Green Tea: 28 mg
  • Oolong Tea: 20 mg

Approx. Caffeine (mg/6 oz.)

  • Black Tea: 30 mg
  • Green Tea: 42 mg
  • Oolong Tea: 18 mg

Approx. Caffeine (mg/6 oz.)

  • Black Tea: 75 mg
  • Green Tea: 120 mg
  • Oolong Tea: 23 mg

Flavor: clean, pure, smooth, less bitter

Flavor: slightly more astringent, more robust

Flavor: same as hot brew

Cold brew tea was found to have less caffeine, less of a bitter bite, and a better aroma.

Additionally, cold brewing preserves the integrity of polyphenols (resulting in higher levels) and antioxidant bioactivity in tea. The amount of caffeine increases with the temperature of the brewing water. Although cold brew yields a healthier tea, it begins to degrade.

Hot brewing causes immediate degradation of tea’s beneficial compounds. The infusion rate of these compounds and caffeine was lower because of the shorter brewing time. In comparison, cold brewing infusion takes much longer, which allows higher infusion rates of caffeine and beneficial compounds.

Tea drinkers who enjoy drinking their tea cold may like to brew hot tea and then add ice to cool it down. This method is quicker than a cold brew. Just as hot brewing, it also reduces beneficial compounds and has higher caffeine compared to cold brew.

Does Cold Brew Tea Taste Different Than Hot Tea?

Cold brew tea has a better flavor compared to hot tea because it is less astringent/bitter. The long fusion period allows the tea and water to marry slowly and evenly. The research study on brewing methods we mentioned earlier explains why cold and hot brews taste differently.

Reagents known as FRAP (ferric reducing antioxidant power) and Folin (a total reducing power procedure known as Folin’s phenol reagent) have different reactions at different rates when an infusion contains varying antioxidant compounds. In layman’s terms, different brewing methods cause a particular type of tea to have a unique color and taste. 

Long brews at reduced temperatures (cold brew) yield a pure, clean-tasting tea with less astringency. Short brews at increased temperatures (hot brew) cause a breakdown in flavor with more astringency.

Does Cold Brew Tea Contain The Same Amount Of Caffeine As Hot Tea?

Teas brewed at higher temperatures for extended periods will contain more caffeine. A published study (Caffeine Content of Brewed Teas) states that tea brewed longer (using hot water steeping) will have more caffeine. 

How Do You Make Cold-Brewed Tea?

So, let’s look at how to cold brew tea. It’s important to use the correct cold brew tea ratio to produce the best tea possible. That ratio is about 1 ½ to 2 times the tea (i.e., 1 teaspoon equals 1 ½ – 2 teaspoons.)

Cold Brew Tea Recipe


  • 4 cups of cold water
  • 6-8 teaspoons of your favorite loose-leaf tea
  • Ice


  1. Place the loose-leaf tea into a tea infuser.
  2. Pour the water into a container.
  3. Drop the infuser into a container full of water.
  4. Place the lid onto the container.
  5. Refrigerate for 12 hours.
  6. Remove the infuser.
  7. Pour the tea into a glass filled with ice and enjoy!

“The Chilly Lady” Cold Brew Creamy Tea Recipe


  • 4 cups of almond milk
  • 6 teaspoons of Lady Grey loose-leaf tea
  • Ice
  • 1 slice of orange


  1. Place the loose-leaf tea into a tea infuser.
  2. Pour the milk into a container.
  3. Drop the infuser into a container full of milk.
  4. Place the lid onto the container.
  5. Refrigerate for 12 hours.
  6. Remove the infuser.
  7. Pour the creamy tea into a glass filled with ice.
  8. Garnish with a slice of orange and enjoy!

Tip: Instead of using ice cubes, try using crushed or shaved ice for a slushy treat!

This yummy tea pairs perfectly with a piece of chocolate cake, brownie, or chocolate truffle.

Cold Never Got This Good

Cold brew tea has so much going for it. Not only is this form of brewing tea healthier, but it exceedingly tastes wonderful. A tea made this way is like having a popsicle or ice cream bar served up in a glass. It’s so refreshing.

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