“Can you make green tea with cold water?” you might wonder if the kettle is broken.
Green tea is a light, mild tea made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis.
Unlike oolong and black tea — both of which come from the same leaves as green tea — the leaves for the green variety don’t have the time to wither and oxidize.
The result is a tea that makes for a pleasant, gentle liquid with a leafy taste.
Traditionally people brew it as a hot tea, and many enjoy the drink in its original form today, but iced green tea is also a popular choice, especially on hot summer days.
Iced green tea is usually brewed in boiling water and then cooled and served over ice.
Like cold brew coffee, you can make green tea with cold water. Green tea, in particular, lends itself to being an iced tea thanks to its mild, refreshing flavor that can pair with other flavors like vanilla, raspberry, or mint.
If you want to make iced green tea, there are a couple of ways to brew the iced form from green tea leaves.
To make iced green tea, you can either brew hot green tea and serve it chilled or cold brew it using cold water.
Method 1: Hot Brew Green Tea
Perhaps the most common way to make iced green tea is to prepare it normally with hot water, then serve it chilled over ice.
Brewing green tea in this way gives you the same green tea flavor you get from a cup of hot tea without all the heat.
To make iced green tea from hot tea, start with boiling water.
Decide how much iced green tea you want to make, then divide that in half to determine how much water to boil.
For example, if you want to make a gallon of iced green tea, boil half a gallon of water.
Next, measure out your green tea. The general rule of thumb is to use double the amount of tea you usually would for the amount of water boiled.
If you’re using tea bags, this means you should use two tea bags per cup of boiled water.
If you’re using loose leaf tea, use 2 to 4 teaspoons of tea per cup of boiled water.
Tip: The reason for making the tea strong is that as you pour the brewed tea over the ice, the ice will melt and dilute the tea.
In the end, you should have a perfect ratio of tea to water.
Pour the hot boiled water over your measured tea leaves or tea bags, then cover the container and let it steep for three to five minutes, depending on how strong you want your tea.
Once it’s finished steeping, remove the tea bags or strain the tea leaves and pour the strained tea over a container filled with ice.
Tip: You can store this hot brewed, iced green tea in the fridge for up to three days.
Compared to cold brewed green tea, hot brewing the tea first makes the resulting iced tea a little more bitter.
Brew the tea with hot water for extra caffeine.
Hot brewing also extracts more caffeine from the tea leaves than cold brewing, which is a huge bonus if you’re prone to a mid-afternoon energy slump.
Method 2: Cold-Brewed Green Tea
Cold-brewed green tea is undoubtedly the easiest to make and will create a more mellow array of flavors than the hot brew method.
It will also extract less caffeine from the tea leaves and be less bitter than a hot brew.
It does, however, take several hours to produce, so you’ll have to plan ahead to have fresh, cold-brewed green tea whenever you want.
All you need to cold brew green tea is loose leaf green tea, green tea bags, matcha (powdered green tea), and cold water. You can use ice if you wish, but it is not necessary.
As a general rule of thumb, use two teaspoons of loose green tea leaves, one teaspoon of matcha, or one teabag per 8 oz of water.
Add your tea bags, loose leaf tea, or matcha to a large pitcher or jar. Fill the container with the desired amount of cold water, stir, cover, and place it in the fridge.
Allow the tea to steep in the fridge for four to six hours, stirring or turning the jar occasionally for even brewing.
If you prefer a lighter flavor, cold brewed green tea leaves and tea bags will be ready to drink in as little as fifteen minutes.
If you’re using matcha, your tea will be prepared right away.
Stirring and Straining
If you’re using matcha or loose tea leaves, you may want to give your tea a little stir or swirl before straining.
Matcha and tea leaves tend to settle to the bottom if left alone, and stirring at the end of the steeping process will help you get maximum flavor out of your cold brewed green tea.
If using tea leaves, either keep them in a tea ball or use a strainer when pouring out the tea to avoid getting an unpleasant texture in your beverage.
Some containers have a filter built into the lid to keep individual leaves from getting into your drink.
Cold brewing green tea in this way results in a highly concentrated beverage that can be served over ice without tasting watered down, much like the hot brewed recipe above.
Note: Your cold brewed green tea will stay fresh in the fridge for approximately three days.
Cold-brewed green tea tends to have a lighter, less bitter flavor compared to green tea that has been brewed with boiling water.
Many people enjoy cold brewed green tea straight, with no added flavors or sweeteners.
However, there are many creative ways to serve your cold brewed green tea for added flavor.
If you like your green tea sweet, you can add honey or simple syrup.
Tip: To make a simple syrup, dissolve two cups of sugar in one cup of water on the stovetop. Simple syrup can be stirred into a cold drink, unlike sugar, which settles to the bottom.
Some people enjoy a splash of lemon juice in their iced green tea. For a unique, flavorful twist, add a tablespoon (or more) of sweetened condensed milk.
No matter how you drink it, cold brewed green tea is a refreshing take on a traditional tea beverage.
Here are some additional questions you may have about cold brewed green tea.
Are There Benefits to Cold Brewing Green Tea?
Yes, steeping green tea at a lower temperature actually results in higher levels of antioxidants in the tea.
Cold-brewed green tea also contains less caffeine than green tea steeped in boiled water, which is a bonus for people who are sensitive to the effects of caffeine.
How Long Can I Keep Cold Brewed Green Tea in the Fridge?
Cold-brewed green tea should steep in the fridge for four to six hours before it goes bad, depending on how strong you like your tea.
Once prepared, your tea should stay fresh and flavorful in the fridge for about three days.
Can you make green tea with cold water? You certainly can.
This article not only outlined how to make green tea in this way but also all the wonderful reasons why you might want to drink iced green tea.
Not only is it a refreshing drink, but it also comes packed with health benefits that no one can ignore.
If you’re looking to add a twist to your iced teas, then don’t forget that green tea has a mild flavor that you can pair well with fruits and other flavors.