When the sun is shining on those sweltering days, you’re sweating, and the only thing that sounds good is a big glass of cold and refreshing iced tea, this quick brew tea is your answer. In just 5 minutes you’ll be putting your feet up, sitting back, and relaxing with summer’s favorite drink.
Quick Brew vs. Cold Brew Iced Tea
When it comes to making iced tea, there are a lot of methods. It’s a delicate balance of extracting the flavors and nuances from the tea while making sure the result isn’t too bitter.
Cold brew tea is made without any hot water; instead, the tea is extracted overnight in the fridge. This results in a smooth, tannin-free glass of tea because it isn’t made with hot water.
If you don’t have time to let tea steep overnight, you can absolutely make just as delicious of tea quickly, using this quick brew method, it just takes a little more care to make sure you don’t over brew it. This process involves brewing a concentrated hot tea and then it gets poured over ice to quickly chill.
What You’ll Need
You don’t need much to make this easy iced tea recipe. I do recommend having a large pitcher handy or a vessel with a lid.
- Tea Bags: many will tell you that loose-leaf tea is the way to go, there are many benefits to using tea bags. It’s easy to find in the grocery store and they make clean-up extra easy. Sachets are great options because they allow the tea to expand for the best flavor.
- The type of tea will determine the temperature of the water and brew time.
- Filtered Water: this will give you the best-tasting iced tea.
How to Make Iced Tea From Tea Bags
It’s really easy to make quick iced tea from tea bags, and even better is that you can easily adjust the serving size for one or many. Make a large batch and enjoy it for several days to come, or share a pitcher with friends.
I take a similar approach when I make pour-over iced coffee, brewing tea that’s stronger and pouring it over ice to dilute it, instead of adding water. This method is not only easy and quick, but quite frankly I have found that the flavor is the same as if I were to take the alternate route and let it sit for several hours to cool off. This way, though, I don’t have to wait around to enjoy a glass of iced tea. WIN!
Start by steeping tea bags in hot water. This will be similar to a tea concentrate, because the ratio of tea bags to water is much higher, resulting in a very strong brew.
It’s important to only steep the tea for 3-5 minutes; any longer and you run the risk of a bitter tea. Then, pour the hot tea over the ice. Be sure to stir somewhat vigorously to ensure that all the tea is chilled, and this will help the ice to melt. Alternatively, if you have a vessel that has a tight lid, you can simply close and shake it until the ice has melted.
Tea Tip: if the tea tastes too bitter, stir in 1/4 teaspoon baking soda until dissolved; this helps reduce the tannins.
As the ice melts, it dilutes the tea to the perfect strength, while simultaneously chilling the tea, so it’s ready to enjoy right away!
I recommend pouring over ice in a tall glass to serve, then garnish with lemon slices and enjoy!
Flavored Iced Tea
Once you have iced tea made, there are so many variations of tea-based drinks to make! You can easily turn it into flavored iced tea using a fruit or herb simple syrup or combining it with other flavors. Take a look at some of these ideas:
- Make sweet tea by adding simple syrup.
- Strawberry or raspberry syrup to make a fruity iced tea. Give blackberry a try, too!
- Ginger syrup is delicious and pairs well with lemon (try this with green tea, too!).
- Of course, a little mint syrup for sweetness or fresh mint leaves is delicious.
- Rosemary syrup or lavender honey syrup would add a unique herby twist.
- Mix half with lemonade for an Arnold Palmer.
- Or turn that A.P. into a cocktail using this strawberry lemonade vodka recipe as a base.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe 5-Minute Quick Brew Iced Tea
- 32 ounces filtered water, (4 cups)
- 2-3 large tea bags*
- 32 ounces ice, (4 cups), plus more for serving
- Lemon slices, for garnish
- 2-Quart Pitcher with lid
- Bring water to a simmer and add tea bags; let them steep for no longer than 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, add the ice to a large pitcher that can hold at least 2 quarts.
- Remove the tea bags from the pot (don't squeeze – this will result in bitter tea) and pour the hot tea over the ice. Stir vigorously for a few minutes until most of the ice has melted.
- Serve immediately over ice, as desired, with fresh lemon. Store remaining tea in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- *Large Tea Bags: marketed specifically for iced tea, however, you can use regular black tea bags (or another variety). The large tea bags I use have 6 grams of tea per bag.
- If using tea bags with tags, snip them off before placing in the pitcher.
- 3 regular tea bags = 1 large tea bag (generally)
- *Adjust: add an extra tea bag for stronger tea, and reduce by 1 bag for weaker tea.
- Make sweet tea by adding simple syrup or a sweetener of choice.