Iced tea doesn't have to made with loose tea leaves or some special blend. Any kind of tea can be made iced. Here are three recipes of iced tea from tea bags for you.
A cup of steaming hot tea may be perfect in the dead of winter, or if you live up north in a cold, snowy place. But what do you drink if you live in a warm climate or during the hottest part of the summer?
You make iced tea of course!
You don't need to buy special tea bags or loose tea leaves to enjoy fantastic iced tea. No matter how hot it is out, you should never have to spend the day without a glass of tea handy.
Here are 3 different recipes for you to try, all using the tea bags that you have in your cupboard.
Iced Tea Recipes
1. Traditional Iced Tea Concentrate Recipe
Making iced tea concentrate involves brewing really strong, sweet black tea, then chilling and diluting it. It's a common practice in southern restaurants that serve loads of iced tea all day long because it produces the drink in bulk.
No self-respecting Southern man or woman would be caught dead without a pitcher of this hanging out in their fridge, waiting for company.
Here is our recipe:
- Boil together 4 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar in a pot
- Once it has boiled and the sugar has completely dissolved, turn off the heat
- Add 10 or 12 bags of black tea and cover with a lid
- Let it steep for 8 and 10 minutes
- Remove the tea bags, squeezing out the excess water, and pour into a quart-size mason jar
- Cover with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate
This makes traditionally sweet southern-style tea. You can halve the sugar if you prefer your tea lightly sweetened, or leave it out entirely if you wish.
This recipe can be doubled or tripled if necessary; each batch will fill one quart-sized mason jar.
To make iced tea by the gallon: Add the entire jar to an extra-large pitcher and fill with 3 quarts of cold water. Float lemon slices on top and serve in tall glasses filled with ice.
To make iced tea by the glass: Add 1/4 cup of tea concentrate to a glass. Fill with cold water and ice, and top with a slice of lemon or fresh mint leaves.
2. Iced Green Tea Recipe
Did you know that green tea used to be widely drunk by American colonists?
Nearly a quarter of the tea chests that were thrown overboard by the Boston Tea Party in 1773 were filled with green tea. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson enjoyed drinking high-quality Hyson green tea rather than black.
Iced green tea was really common in America during the warm months, and that didn't change until the 20th Century when black tea imports became significantly cheaper than green. Unlike modern sweet tea, it had just a hint of sweetness to it.
If you'd like to try this old-fashioned style of iced tea, here's an easy recipe for you.
- Boil 4 cups of water and 1/2 cup of sugar or honey in a pot.
- Once it has boiled, shut off the heat and let it sit for 2 minutes to cool slightly.
- Add 4-5 green tea bags, cover, and let steep for 5 minutes.
- Remove the bags, squeeze the excess water out, and discard
- Pour the tea into a pitcher with 3 cups of ice and stir until chilled
You can add lemon slices or fresh mint leaves if you wish. Serve in tall glasses over ice.
3. Fruit Tea Recipe
Fruit teas are a great way to get your daily health boost. Both tea leaves and fresh fruit are filled with antioxidant compounds that help prevent cancer, lower your blood glucose, and generally keep you healthy.
If you're trying to avoid soda or stay hydrated, make iced tea from fruit and tea bags for an easy way to accomplish your health goals.
There are endless varieties you can make!
Here is a basic, adaptable recipe for any kind of iced fruit tea:
- Place 6 bags of tea into a large pitcher
- Add 1 cup of fresh fruit, cut into pieces
- Add 4 cups of cold or room temperature spring water
- Cover and place in the fridge overnight
- Once it's finished steeping, pull out the tea bags and discard
Herbal and green teas should be steeped for 6 to 8 hours; green and black tea for 8 to 12 hours. Any more than that and you'll over-steep them, making the finished drink bitter.
Serve over ice. Fruit in the glass looks lovely and can be eaten if you like.
Here are some tea and fruit combinations to try:
- Black tea with sliced watermelon or cantaloupe
- Green tea with blackberries and fresh mint leaves
- Hibiscus tea with apples and blueberries
- Chamomile tea with orange slices or passion fruit
- Mint tea with sliced peaches or raspberries
The Final Word On Making Iced Tea With Tea Bags
No matter what kind of tea bags you've got hiding in your cupboard, a pitcher of refreshing, ice-cold tea is achievable for any occasion: backyard weddings, children's birthday parties, or even just sitting on your back porch watching the sun go down. There is a recipe for every taste and any occasion.
Making iced tea with tea bags is easy and convenient; you don't need to buy loose tea. You can play with different teas and recipes until you find what you like the best. If you love cool, refreshing drinks, you might be interested in our explainer on Japanese iced coffee.
Don't be afraid to experiment!
Make Iced Tea With Tea Bags FAQ
Can you put tea bags in cold water?
Yes. Hot water tends to bring the tannins out in black and green tea, so if you prefer a really smooth, mellow cup, make tea using a cold brew process. It will simply take longer to steep–hours instead of minutes. Cover and set aside until it's steeped to your preferred strength.
How many tea bags does it take to make a gallon of iced tea?
It depends on what method you use to brew your tea and how strong you like it. Generally, you can use a ratio of one tea bag for every 8 ounces of the finished drink.