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How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Iced Tea

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

No Hot Water Needed!

Before Owl’s Brew, there was Brew Lab. Jennie Ripps, our founder, crafted all the iced and hot tea flavors for restaurants like Sweetgreen, Dig Inn, Momofuku, Soho House, Upland, Quality Eats and others.

In her career as a tea somm, Jennie has found that nine out of ten people think that tea needs to be brewed hot. That’s just not true! (And that’s a really good thing to know if you’re trying to make iced tea a pinch).

Here’s Jennie’s recipe for the perfect cold-brewed iced tea, and below that are a few of her favorite warm weather blends.

How to cold brew tea:

  • Start with ambient (room temperature) water

  • 2-3 teaspoons or tea bags of tea per 6-8oz water (for larger format, 1oz tea brews to 1 gallon

    • this is the main trick - it’s more than you would use with hot brew

  • Leave tea in water in a covered container (pitcher, glass, whatever) for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally

  • Remove teabags and/or strain out tea

  • Presto! Iced Tea

A few additional notes & tips:

  • In a hurry? Use MORE tea, or agitate more often. You can brew iced tea really quickly (15 minutes) if you up the tea amount or shake it up!

  • Hate the way tea tastes better when it overbrews? Cold brewing does not really activate tannins, so you’re much “safer”

  • Want to naturally sweeten up your iced tea? Brew dried tea leaves, and toss in fresh fruit or berries. Yum!

  • For better or worse: less caffeine is released when you cold brew than when you hot brew!

A few of Jennie’s favorited cold brew combos:


Black Raspberry

  • Any black tea (English Breakfast, Assam, Darjeeling)

  • Fresh Raspberries, slightly muddled

  • Follow cold brew instructions

Meyer Green

  • Any green tea (sencha, pan-fired green, genmaicha, etc)

  • Slice Meyer Lemons into wheels and let float while you brew


Floral Hibiscus

  • 2 parts Hibiscus flowers

  • 1 part Add any floral you want - rose petals, chamomile, jasmine

  • This is tart, delicious, and great for kids — sweeten as desired!

Lemon Verbena Peppermint

**caffeine free**

  • Half Lemon Verbena or Vervain

  • Half Mint


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