All About Iced Tea

Winnie Tsang - March 5, 2017

Iced TeaThe iced tea you find in stores is often full of sugar and preservatives (and low quality tea). Making your own is simple, healthy and cost effective. Plus there’s tons of room to explore and try new combinations with fruit juice, alternative sweeteners and even alcohol. Learn more about basic brewing methods (Cold Infusion or Hot Brew & Chill), and then take your home-made iced teas to the next level!


Basic Brewing Methods Cold Infusion:

Some teas can be steeped in cold water and produce beautiful results. Libre tea glasses are a great accessory for cold-brewing tea! As a basic principle, start with one teaspoon of tea per cup of water, and modify to your taste. Mix the tea and water in a glass or pitcher and refrigerate for about 2 hours. Some teas may need less time; others can take up to 24 hours to provide best results. Recommended teas: Green Teas are great when steeped cold because they give their flavour without becoming bitter (but don’t steep for more than a couple hours). Fun, fruity green teas are great on the go, while top shelf green teas can reveal a completely new set of flavour and aroma notes when steeped cold:


  • Mango Green (30 minutes – 1 hour)
  • Japanese Sencha Supreme (2 hours): rich and vegetal


Some herbal / fruit tisanes are also delicious when steeped cold:


  • Pink Lemonade (30-45 minutes)
  • Peppermint (1-2 hours)


Black teas and rooibos infusions are not recommended for cold infusion methods as the cold water does not draw enough flavour out of the tea leaves.

Hot Brew and Chill:

For teas that don’t respond well to cold water, or when you’re limited by time, make hot tea and pour it over ice. Be sure to make the hot tea about twice as strong as you normally would, because the ice will dilute it by about half. One benefit of steeping hot is that if you plan on sweetening your iced tea with honey, sugar or agave, the hot water will help dissolve and mix your sweetener. Great teas for brewing and icing:


  • Black tea: Murchie’s go-to tea for iced tea is Lemon Spice. It has a full-bodied black tea base and sweet-tangy lemon flavouring. For a twist, try Canadian Breakfast or Earl Grey.
  • No. 10 Blend or Waterfront: these green-black blends are summery and refreshing when iced, as the floral jasmine notes float to the top of the palate.
  • Rooibos: steep hot for 6-8 minutes to get extra strength before you add to ice.
    • Cozy Caramel
    • Lemon Ginger
  • Oolong: this is a light, refreshing beverage. Hot brew and chill method is recommended because the delicate oolong notes do not come through with the cold-brew method.


If you’re brewing your green tea hot to ice it, make sure that you use water that is not quite at a full boil unless you’re planning to add sugar! Boiling hot water can make green tea bitter and very strong.

Next Level:

Now that you’ve mastered two methods for brewing iced tea, it’s time to take it to the next level by adding other flavours and ingredients.


  • Add some fresh fruit to your chilled iced tea pitcher for a burst of colour and pop of flavour. Try strawberries in your Pink Lemonade, sliced citrus fruits in your Lemon Spice, or try a fruity tea sangria.
  • Steep your tea in fruit juice. The best recipe I’ve tried was a lemonade (lemon juice, water, sugar) made to taste, with some Oolong leaves added. I steeped it overnight and the resulting beverage was astoundingly delicious.
  • Moroccan Mint Mojito: add rum, lime, sugar and soda water to your Moroccan Mint green tea for a sweet summer escape. Or go virgin without the rum… but why would you?
  • Try an iced tea latte: brew your tea extra strong, pour it over ice, add the sweetener of your choice and top it up with milk. Try it with Sugar Maple, Rooibos Coconut Chai or make an icy London Fog with Earl Grey or Lavender black tea.
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