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Let's talk iced tea

What are your favorite iced teas and what is your method in making them? I am also looking for pitcher recommendations (glass, plastic, specific for tea). Thanks!

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  1. Bigelow English Breakfast or Trader Joes English Breakfast tea made in a Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker. About 4 or 5 bags per pitcher.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Antilope

      In the past, I used LIpton Tea, but I noticed a sour, off taste when the iced tea was kept until the next day (in the fridge). That doesn't happen with the teas I now use.

    2. Mine is quite pedestrian...2 regular size black tea (very inexpensive box of 100 tagless bags for 99 cents at Wal-Mart) bags in 16 ounces of boiling water...let it cool to room temp and I keep the bags in there the entire time for stronger flavor...I add 1 teaspoon of sugar, ice and big lemon wedge and am very happy.

      1. Well, this is sweet tea, so it may not be your thing, but here's what I do. I just use a Rubbermaid plastic pitcher.
        -10 to 12 crushed cardamom pods, 2-3 inch cinnamon stick: put them in a pot with half a gallon of cold water and bring to a boil.
        -Add four family-sized Luzianne tea bags to the water and take it off the heat
        -Wait 5 minutes
        -Remove tea bags and spices
        -Pour into one-gallon pitcher with 25g Splenda (= 75g sugar, I think)
        -Fill pitcher the rest of the way with cold water, chill.

        2 Replies
        1. re: eliah

          That sounds really good. I'll have to try it - thanks!

          1. re: jeanmarieok

            Luzianne!!!! I make my sweet tea in a glass pitcher, 2 quarts at a time. I get people to bring Luzianne with them from the east coast.

            Sometimes I make half back tea and half peach herb tea or raspberry or mint. Add the sugar when it's hot! Like a scant 1/3 cup per quart.

        2. About 15 years ago at the Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, I had some amazing concoction called rose mint tea. It is my favorite iced tea, even though I haven't had it since, and haven't figured out how to duplicate it. If anyone has the recipe, please post it, pretty please!

          Other than that, I love making sun tea, especially with Republic of Tea's Blackberry and Sage tea. That sage is sooooo refreshing on a hot summer day. And sun tea is so amazingly simple to do.

          9 Replies
          1. re: charlesbois

            Ah, Rose mint tea! A dear friend of mine is a regular at the NO festival, raves about the iced tea, and one year brought home a jar so we could experiment as none of the vendors were giving away trade secrets. We tried lots of things, including rose hips, lemon grass, etc. -- don't know if we can duplicate it but the KEY was HIBISCUS for the slightly sweet tart flavor (go to www.uptontea.com if you want to order some at reasonable rates), with some spearmint tea also purchased from Upton Tea.

            1. re: Avid Rita

              celestial seasonings red zinger has dominant hibiscus notes. from their site:

              "The trademark “zing” comes from a combination of tart and tangy Chinese hibiscus and fruity Thai hibiscus, while lemongrass provides a lemony sweetness that helps balance the tartness."


              add some fresh mint leaves and voila!

              1. re: alkapal

                Celestial Seasonings also has Wild Berry Zinger, which is fantastic iced. Nice if you have little folk around who may crave kool-aid, but your higher intellect wins out! No sweetening needed, as it's a well-rounded fruity herbal tea.


                1. re: cayjohan

                  I agree this makes a great ice tea. Some in my fridge with now.

              2. re: Avid Rita

                ooooooh THANK YOU SO MUCH for your reply. I never even though of hibiscus being in it. I MUST try that toute suite.

                1. re: charlesbois

                  This is why old posts are the best! I just bought some dried hibiscus but had no idea what to do with it, meanwhile I've been making a gallon of iced tea at least once a week to keep in the fridge. Finally I have a plan!

                  I make my tea in a glass gallon jug, I save them from the restaurant size B&G pickled products....just like most delis around here do. BTW it is illegal to make iced tea at room temp,or god forbid, actually in the sun, in these parts. I did it anyway and saw what they claim, a lot of cloudy junk floating on top which is claimed to be bacteria colonies. So I just make room in the fridge, it takes the same amount of time (24 hours or so).

                  1. re: coll

                    You'd think people would find something better to do than dictate the temperature at which tea can be brewed (and to think I was under the impression I woke up in America today).

                    1. re: MacGuffin

                      Well we another thread on if it's a "sin" to freeze beef. So there ya go.

                      1. re: rasputina

                        Hmm. But does it carry some sort of bureaucratic weight?

            2. I love iced jasmine tea -- perfect for the summer. It's really refreshing. And glass pitchers all the way. It makes a difference.

              1. Green Tea with a quarter (the coin) size peice of ginger. Steep for 20 min, remove the tea nad ginger stir in one tblsp of honey ( I currently have macadamia honey) for about a liter and a half of tea. YUM

                Earl Grey and Blackcurrant mixed is also good

                1. I start by toasting a couple cinnamon sticks in a large pot. I use a mix of black tea and flavored green tea (my favorite so far has been mango green). I also add about 3/4 a cup of sugar for a gallon of tea.

                  1. I like black tea, sometimes a lightly flavored one like Earl Grey. I make it by brewing it double strength and then pouring it (still hot) over ice in a glass or pitcher. Quick, easy, no special equipment needed. I've even done this in restaurants that didn't have ice tea available (or that only had something pre-sweetened and/or mango). Hot tea, glass full of ice. Done.

                    1. Last summer I discovered the celestial seasoning cold brew raspberry tea - would throw a few bags in a plastic pitcher, fill with cold water and leave in the frig. Serve with ice and a splash of pomegranate juice - very refreshing.

                      1. I make sun tea with 5 large tea bags(Lipton, etc) in 1 gallon of filtered water in a glass jar. It brews for 8-12 hours in the sun during the summer. I know it is not supposed to be safe, but I have been making it this way for 15 years and I have he yet to get sick.

                        Ive made it with different teas on occasion(Earl Grey, jasmine, green herbals), but regular black tea is my favorite.

                        1. I would recommend cold brewing your tea. The process is simple. Use 15-20 grams of tea per liter of water and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Strain and enjoy.

                          Cooling hot green or even black tea can create a lot of bitterness. Refrigerating the hot tea can cause the particles to come out of suspension and become cloudy. This method eliminates both problems and creates a perfect cup. No need to worry about the bacterial problems that sun tea can cause.

                          The Japanese prepare cold tea this way. Check online for Hario Iced Pitchers. They are quite inexpensive, made out of glass, and strain the leaves for you.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: cheapertrick

                            I have heard if you add a pinch of baking soda in the brewing process any bitterness will be removed. I think it may also help keep the tea clear if refrigerated???

                            1. re: cheapertrick

                              I like your style, cheapertrick. Absolutely agree that cold brew is essential for clean tea flavors, as well as a clear (non-cloudy) beverage. Thanks for the lead on the Hario pitchers, I've been a long time looking for something like this.

                              1. re: Avid Rita

                                My buddy liu and I are having fun talking about Hario pitchers for iced tea; stick to the simple ones (I'm a little afraid of the "Tornado" model). Amazon has the "Pure" model quite cheap and even though I'm not crazy about the handle, I couldn't pass up the price and free shipping (I'm replacing one that I broke and seems to have been discontinued). I get excellent results with 7 g tea/liter, though, although you could go up to 10 g. You can use any variety of tea and that ratio will give you a nice result with no bitterness.

                                1. re: MacGuffin

                                  MacGuffin, we ARE having fun, huh!
                                  You have such a good eye.

                                  It is such a joy to look at beautiful wares with you...it's window shopping for us. But it is also important to have good tools for the job; a good tea brewing pitcher for the fridge makes the chilling process so easy. AND, if the container is pretty or cool in design, then the pleasure is multiplied.

                              2. re: cheapertrick

                                I've been brewing iced tea this way for several years, and drinking it daily year 'round. I almost always use some blend of green tea. I've found that a lot of people don't know about the bacterial problems of "sun tea." To be completely safe, if the water is not going to be boiled, the tea must be steeped in the refrigerator. I use a glass pitcher.

                              3. I like fairly strong tea, so I use PG Tips for iced tea. This recipe gives you almost instant iced tea -- no need to wait for it to cool. I put 2 quarts of cold water in a saucepan and add 10 PG Tips teabags. Heat over medium heat till close to boiling -- smoke starts to look like it's filling the pan and tiny bubbles appear on surface. Remove from heat and let stand 3 minutes. Remove teabags and pour tea over 2 quarts of ice cubes or 1 quart ice cubes mixed with 1 quart cold water.

                                1 Reply
                                1. 3-4 bags of Red Rose Tea hung in my old Melita glass coffee pot. Pour boiling water in it. Just let it sit on the counter usually since it gets drank with 2 days or so. Sometimes, especially since the ice maker is broke I will put it in the frig in a pitcher.

                                  1. I like Yorkshire tea, brewed and stored in glass or ceramic only. I brew it triple strength, and then dilute with water, and pour over ice. Plastic makes it...plastic. I happen to prefer it without sugar or lemon. Occasionally, when it's hot, I'll put some mint leaves in. Delicious.

                                    1. For approximately 8 cups of iced tea...I have in my mind perfected the recipe. I serve in a glass pitcher..I will get a picture tomorrow. I find using cold water means there is no bitter taste, if I use hot water, I only leave it a short time and make sure not to squish the bags when I take them out.
                                      in the morning before I start craving it, I place 10 or twelve tea bags of a good but not overly expensive tea in a four cup measuring cup, I add 3 cups cold water and let it sit till afternoon, I then take out the bags and add 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup sugar, I then add enough water and ice for it to make 8 cups total and after stirring it well, it is ready to serve, I make a pitcher of this everyday...it is much sought out by my nieces and nephews and I love serving it to them!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Richelle

                                        I grew up on Red Rose tea brewed in glass jars in the summer sun, and darn it, I still love the stuff. Now I use whatever interesting black tea samples I have from SpecialTeas (.com) and kind of enjoy seeing what happens.

                                        I like iced jasmine green too. A local bakery sweetens theirs with pineapple juice, and it makes a very interesting drink.

                                      2. Try Charleston Tea Plantation tea. It's the only tea grown in the US. I really like it's rich, smooth, caramel-y flavor. Great for strong Southern iced tea.

                                          1. re: javaandjazz

                                            I have one, and it does the job well -- but it's far too small for iced tea. Really only makes a couple of glasses.

                                          2. I'm allergic to caffeine, so I mostly do just herbal iced teas, which I think are great. I recycle a cranberry juice container. I just fill it to the near top, insert tea bags and stick it in the fridge.

                                            Combos I like:
                                            TJ's Mint Medley
                                            Regular peppermint tea too
                                            Any fruit tea, mixed with a bit of a mint tea is a nice blend
                                            Mint tea, plus a few ginger slices
                                            Wild Berry Zinger (Celestial Seasonings)
                                            Mango Passionfruit (Stash)
                                            Mint with lemon is great (I stuff peels in from adding juice to something else)

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: scuzzo

                                              Hey fellow tea hounds, thank you all for spelling iced tea and not ice tea. It's a peeve of mine that Americans have lost the D in words like iceD tea.
                                              I, like Vetter, use flavored black tea from specialteas.com (just got a new shipment this morning). I have a dedicated Mr. Coffee type machine that I brew the tea in using an unbleached paper filter (from Trader Joe). I pour the strong brew into a container I use just for tea (hence it's lovely brown stained interior) over ice. For iced tea I like fruity flavors like peach and lemon but I will use just about any flavor. This morning I had hot chai with soy milk and this afternoon I had the leftover chai without milk on ice.

                                              1. re: lucyis

                                                Ooo, I didn't know there was a test! Glad I passed. ;)

                                                Yes, peach iceD tea is great too.

                                                Does anyone really know if brewing vs. cold method affects flavor? I used to brew, but I'm lazy now and I'm happy with the results, but haven't really tested.

                                                Anyone tried herbs with iced teas, other than the obvious mint? Maybe rosemary and mint tea?

                                                1. re: scuzzo

                                                  Cold brewing tea will produce a sweeter cup with less astringency and bitterness. The resulting tea is weaker in flavor but I would use less (or no) ice.

                                                  1. re: scuzzo

                                                    I LOVE cold-brewed tea. Unless you're using a dan cong oolong, you won't get any bitterness as long as you use the right proportion of tea to water. It's exceptionally delicious (I don't find the flavor weaker at all) and is a great way to use up loose tea that's past its prime and is no longer a candidate for hot-brewing. And BTW, tea that's been brewed and has ice added to it really is "iced," but one can brew tea by combining loose tea with ice cubes and letting them melt (at which point the tea is ready to serve). That really would be "ice tea." :))

                                              2. After reading through a thread on lemonade preparation, a CH mentioned adding dried lavender buds. So I have it a try. Delicious! Yesterday, I steeped a full cup of lavender buds and added it to mango tea (bags). Even better!

                                                1. I usually make it the same way my mom did - 5 lipton regular size tea bags in a little boiling water for 5 minutes, then pour into a 2 liter glass pitcher, add water and chill in the fridge.
                                                  Any lightly fruit flavored tea bags (apricot and mango are my favorites) make a lovely substitute. If I use a flavored tea bag with a strong flavor (like mint), I just sub out 2 - 3 of the lipton bags for the flavored ones instead of all of them.
                                                  I used to have a mint plant and would add some fresh mint. I remember it was really good, but I tried both steeping the mint leaves with the tea bags and adding them to the cooled tea and I can't remember which way yielded the better results.

                                                  1. For iced tea, my favorite is Luzanne and Constant Comment. I use 1 large or 3 small Luzanne bags and 1 Constant Comment. Water must be boiling. I use a 2 qt. ceramic pitcher or a 2 qt. plastic jug.
                                                    I have switched to iced tea from soft drinks and the 2 qt pitcher last about 1 1/2 days. I don't refrigerate. Just leave it covered on the kitchen counter.

                                                    1. red zinger makes a great iced tea. i love earl gray, too.

                                                      1. I am a dedicated Luzianne user for iced tea. I don't like anything in my iced tea other maybe a squeeze of lemon or a sprig of mint. No other flavorings. Luzianne is my favorite because it has great flavor and will not get cloudy, even in the fridge.

                                                        1. I am an Iced Tea Addict..
                                                          I use several things..
                                                          Sun Tea Container..glass from Target with a spout..
                                                          I use either Red Zinger and makes a fab red hibiscus tea which is so good and for you too..
                                                          I also use the Tejava from Trader Joes and get orange and lemon slices and water it down just a bit..excellent taste..also, the lemon juice from tj's for 99cents is excellent for iced tea..

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Beach Chick

                                                            I found this recipe somewhere on the internet a few years ago and make it often. It is a little sweet, but not cloying. Very refreshing. I substitute lime juice for the lemon juice because I can't usually get regular lemons where I live...Hope someone likes it as much as we do.

                                                            DAVE'S WORLD FAMOUS TROPICAL ICED TEA (also makes a good drink mixer)

                                                            2 cups water
                                                            2 cups sugar
                                                            1 quart hot water
                                                            8 tea bags (any black tea)
                                                            2 quarts iced water
                                                            2 cups fresh orange juice (about four 3" oranges)
                                                            3/4 cup lemon juice (about four lemons)

                                                            sprigs of mint
                                                            slices of lime
                                                            slices of orange

                                                            Combine 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar in a large saucepan.
                                                            Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
                                                            Add 1 quart hot water and tea bags.
                                                            Steep tea bags for 3-5 minutes, according to strength desired.

                                                            Discard tea bags and add hot brew to 2 quarts of iced water.

                                                            Add orange and lemon juices to iced water. Strain to remove pulp.
                                                            Stir well and refrigerate, or serve immediately over ice.

                                                            To serve with ice: In a tall glass filled half way with ice cubes (not
                                                            crushed), add a slice of lime, then fill rest of way with ice. Pour in tea.
                                                            Garnish glass with a slice of orange and a sprig of fresh mint.

                                                            Yield: 1 gallon.

                                                            1. re: MexicoKaren

                                                              Outstanding MexicoKaren!
                                                              Thank you..
                                                              I will make it sometime this week..

                                                          2. I do an asian inspired iced tea myself, usually with black tea, oolong, green tea, korean ginseng and jasmine. I try to use loose tea whenever I can, I feel the flavours infuse much better. I also add some grated ginger to the steeping process, and garnish/season with some honey, lime and basil.

                                                            1. Hojicha (roasted green tea) is a beloved addiction for me, especially iced. From what I've read, the roasting does also drop the caffeine concentration, if that's an issue for some.


                                                              1. I drink iced tea year round. Always in the fridge.

                                                                As to containers, I was using a glass pitcher, and just recently switched to a Ball dispenser with a tap. The pitcher was a faster pour, but the nostalgia of the Ball dispenser is holding sway for now.

                                                                As to my brewing method: I boil just enough water to maybe twice cover the amount of tea bags (extrapolate out for loose tea), add bags and steep as needed. Pour into container and add water to make up the diff on the amount of tea. (so maybe steep 4 bags in a cup of water and add 2 cups after- allow for ice dilution)

                                                                What tea to use: as others have shared there is so much out there.Currently drinking a white tea/pomogranate blend which is tart but less than a Red Zinger. Like to mix peach flavored with black teas. Jasmine tea is good. Well the list could go on and on. Just experiment.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: torty

                                                                  I have always been a big fan of the pre-sweetened ice tea mixes, but after visiting Memphis earlier this spring, I can't wait for the warm weather so I can make Sweet Tea!

                                                                2. i love the good earth's sweet and spicy tea made into iced tea. i just follow the recipe on the box. you can get it at trader joe's. here's their website:


                                                                  1. I like Mighty Leaf's organic black tea -- they make a kind specifically for iced tea that comes in a big pouch; if you catch it on sale, the cost works out to be comparable to buying a two-liter bottle of soda. I boil two quarts of water, turn off the heat, drop in the pouch, cover, and let steep for twenty minutes. That's way longer than the package directions say, but to me it seems about right (not bitter as you might expect). I add sweetener and refrigerate it.

                                                                    1. It is a pet peeve of mine that people call herbal infusions "tea". Tea is only made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Mint, hibiscus, various herbs and flowers, etc., are NOT tea. They might make lovely beverages, but still...not tea! I have actually ordered hot tea in restaurants where they have brought out a beautiful wooden box of expensive "teas", yet there has been NO actual tea included in the selection! Don't get me started on the lukewarm water they expect me to brew it in!

                                                                      Rant over. Carry on. :-)

                                                                      18 Replies
                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                        I agree with you (and would point out the existence of C. sinensis var. assamica which, until recently, was thought to be a separate species) but I figure that as long as it's okay to make "milks" from things like grains, legumes, and nuts, I can live with herbal "tea" although I'm always quick to refer to them myself as "tisanes" or "botanicals." I usually, however, feel like I'm beating a dead horse. :(

                                                                        1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                          Yeah. Sigh. Similar to calling margarine "butter."

                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                            I never hear that one, only nut butter, cocoa butter, and such.

                                                                          2. re: MacGuffin

                                                                            Calling non dairy beverages milk is another pet peeve of mine, and I'm an ex vegan. Same thing with fake "meats".

                                                                            My favorite tea for iced tea is Luzianne.

                                                                              1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                                                I keep hoping someone in NYC like Fairway will start to stock Luzianne, if only for those who want to make sweet tea. I've never had it but would love to taste what all the fuss is about.

                                                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                                                    That's good to know but I'd just like to pick up a box to sample. Usually these Amazon offerings are for more than one unit and are geared to those who are looking to stock up on an item.

                                                                              2. re: rasputina

                                                                                I don't have a problem with that; those things have been called "milk" since time immemorial and there are cosmetic "cleansing milks" as well. In fact, the verb "to milk" need not apply to real milk. I think as long as they're qualified with the proper adjectives, there's no fraud intended and they meet the criteria for "accurate reporting." :) And all of the aforementioned ARE "milky," so no harm at all.
                                                                                On the other hand, and this is OT (as is the turn this has taken), but what DOES bother me is that there's no longer a distinction between "ice milk" and "ice cream." "Reduced-fat ice cream" or some such is just culinary Newspeak to me, along the lines of substituting "cooked" for "fried." Very annoying.

                                                                                1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                                  But mainstream iced tea brewing should get special or different treatment? Unless I'm attending a tea ceremony, course or work-related tea venture the "art" of public home consumption and preparation is pretty much up for grabs.

                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                    What does that have to do with milk?

                                                                                    1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                                      along the lines of substituting "cooked" for "fried." Very annoying.
                                                                                      I suppose the same could be asked of your comparison.

                                                                                      I also suppose I was referring to the purist idea of how tea should be brewed or what qualifies as tea.

                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                        I'm still confused. The thread took a turn about "tea" vs. "herbal tea," then made its way to annoyance with calling anything but animal milk "milk," IOW inexact terminology (I also noted that this part of the thread had become OT). You responded to my response to this (note "re: MacGuffin"), which had nothing to do with mainstream tea brewing. Hence my confusion.

                                                                                        1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                                          Sounds like a good reason for me to brew a cup of rooibos and ponder....

                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                            LOL I'm looking to get some Tick Tock one of these days; I keep forgetting to ask my UK buddy to shop on my behalf. If you want to try something interesting and delicious, look into "red espresso" http://www.redespresso.com/ . Also, Rishi has some really nice rooibos chais that are worth investigating (again we're OT here, especially since I haven't tried them iced).

                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                              Again, not tea. Herbal infusion, yes. :-)

                                                                                                1. re: MacGuffin

                                                                                                  No question there! I happen to love red teas iced with basil or cilantro leaves.

                                                                            1. I like Trader Joes English Breakfast Tea for making iced tea. It also tastes good the next day when kept in the fridge. I just use a Mr Coffee Iced Tea Maker.

                                                                              1. Celestial Seasonings decaf Constant Comet. I can drink it all day. Hence the decaf. No special technique, 4 bags in large plastic pitcher,fill half way with boiled water. Let it steep for about 20minutes, then top it off with cold water, and into the fridge.