Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jul 15, 2010 12:27 PM

Cold Brewed Iced Tea

My sister gave me some cold brew Iced Tea bags. We've been using them and find the tea to be good, and easy to make.

Have never made cold brew before this, always have started with hot. Am wondering do you need to use the cold brew bags? Would any tea work? Is labeling them cold brew a marketing gimmick of some sort?

We have tons of different teas on hand we normally used for iced - bags and loose. Would like to try some of these for cold brew unless there is something to be aware of? Am assuming bacteria is not an issue as in sun tea so any other concern?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I can't tell you what the scientific method is for creating cold brew iced tea bags, and I don't think it's a gimmick; apparently they're very popular with consumers, and a number of tea packers have put them on the market. From what reviews I've read, the resulting tea is not very full flavored, but very quick to make, compared to iced made from hot brewed tea. I don't think regular tea bags or loose tea will work at all for cold brewing, especially not in 5 minutes or even in an afternoon. Try it overnight.

    According to posters on the Cook's Illustrated Bulletin Board, many of them have resorted to hot brewing the cold brew bags, by various methods, or even double brewing for better flavor. One poster referred to the bags as " ice tea blasphemy to me." But if you like it, go for it. Bacteria wuld not be an issue, as it can be with sun tea.

    Personally, give me my Luzianne family sized hot brew tea bags any day.

    1. I used to use the Liptons huge cold brew bags. It's just generic black tea chopped up very fine. Not bad for tea served cold where it's hard to appreciate the notes.

      These days I am putting my own whole leaves in large empty tea bags and heat sealing them with my iron. I like half jasmine and half a good black tea -- about 2 large spoonfuls per bag. I boil a full water kettle of water at night before bed. I steep the bag for 5-10 minutes, remove the bag and let the kettle sit overnight to cool. In the morning I transfer it to a pitcher in the fridge.

      I drink a ton of iced tea so I keep 2 pitchers in my fridge at any given time and vary the black teas in my blend. I also use my bags twice.

      4 Replies
      1. re: rainey

        Please tell me about the bacteria issue that is being mentioned? I ask because I made some sun tea last week (eight tea bags in a gallon of water left in the sun for four hours) and kept the jar on the counter which I never do. Two days later the tea tasted bad so I tossed it. Could it have been bacteria? I was slightly ill coincidentally.

        1. re: SIMIHOUND

          Goggle this PDF, "CDC - Memo on Bacterial Contamination of Iced Tea" for the full story.

          Here are some further comments from Food Safety News:

          1. re: SIMIHOUND

            I've written elsewhere about being a person who likes to walk on the wild side where food is concerned. I take what seem like reasonable risks in my kitchen. letting tea sit on the counter to cool.

            If you have taa that doesn't taste good I think that's a good indication that it's time to dump it. When it comes to those finely chopped commercial tea bags, it may be that they're more subject to bacterial activity. Those very fine leaves are known as "sweepings" in the industry because they're actually the bits that fly off and fall to the floor and get swept up. Something to think about!

            OTOH, my tea bags are made from whole leaves that have been carefully (I expect) handled. They may begin with less noxious flora and fauna and be able to take 6 hours in a cool nighttime kitchen. ::shrug:: In any case, works for me and tastes fresh so I carry on with what floats my boat. ;>

        2. i've been making cold-brewed tea with loose tea,. 3 tablespoons/2 quarts in a glass jar. into the fridge: 4 days for black teas; for greens, no more than one day. strain and serve. clear enough to read a newspaper through.

          best ice tea ever.

          1. I have been using the large cold brew tea bags off and on for a couple of years, usually by putting a gallon jug out in the sun. I agree it is quick, but rather bland tasting, and often added another herbal tea bag like Rooibos (sp?) to liven it up a bit. Still better than the powdery ice tea mixes. No health problems so far, but if your tea tastes bad, just throw it out.

            1. I've been doing some research on the CDC's supposed 'memo' and it's all nonsense - the CDC has issued nothing about sun tea. If you go to any of the articles quoting the CDC, they're just referencing other articles, not the actual CDC. And that memo doesn't make sense - it's not on the CDC website, it's not written on letter head, it doesn't look like any of the other documents posted on the CDC site, no one's name is on it, and none of the phone numbers actually work or are listed on the different government agencies' sites. That sun-tea is bad for you is a myth!

              4 Replies
              1. re: clevelandmick

       says it's "true". That's usually my first stop for verification. But I still drink sun tea ;-)

                1. re: Niki in Dayton

                  Yeah, I usually believe, too, but the sources for that particular article - - are just other newspaper articles, not the CDC. And if you go to the articles referenced by Snopes (some of them are available online and some are not), those articles just reference other articles. None of the articles I've found on this issue reference any primary sources. It's a big self-perpetuating myth...

                  1. re: clevelandmick

                    I didn't investigate further than reading snopes, but like I said, I'm also still drinking sun tea - had a glass yesterday and I'm still fine ;-)

                    1. re: Niki in Dayton

                      Dangerous or not, it certainly always tasted putrid to me.