How To Make Iced Tea With Loose Leaf Tea

When the sun comes out, iced tea is a must. Enjoy it southern sweet; with honey, agave, stevia; or perfectly unsweet, however you like. The better quality tea, the better it will taste, but really, any tea will do.

Once you get get started, you'll find that making iced tea at home is actually pretty easyand most definitely worth the effort. Below we offer three methods to make iced tea, all beginner-level easy, with example recipes using loose leaf tea.


Yes! Using loose leaf tea instead of tea bags isn't as hard is it sounds. You are simply measuring the tea instead of it being pre-apportioned out. You can follow the same measurements for hot tea as for iced tea. If the directions on your loose leaf tea say to use 1 tsp per cup of hot tea, that holds true for iced tea: use 1 tsp per cup of iced tea.
Additionally, a benefit of using loose leaf tea is you can adjust your steeping ratios to just the way you like it. Want it a little lighter? Use a touch less tea. Want it a little stronger? Just add a bit more.


This is the quickest way to make iced tea. And it's easy too. Simply brew your tea in half the amount of hot water as recommended by the directions on your tea packaging. Let sit for 5 to 6 minutes, uncovered. Strain into a pitcher, then add the other half of liquid as ice water and stir. Now your tea is ready to go!

Note: This method recommends brewing the hot tea in one (heat-safe!) container and then transfer the tea into a second container with the ice water. Even if your pitcher is heat-safe, you don't want to brew directly into it because of heat transfer science-y stuff: basically your pitcher is going to retain heat and keep your iced tea from being, well, iced. 

Recipe 1: Classic Lemon Black Iced Tea
This refreshing summer classic is made with our Dockside iced tea blend.

Directions (makes one 64-oz pitcher): 
1. In a small pot, steep 4 tablespoons of lemon black tea in 4 cups hot water just below boiling (200°F) for 6 minutes.
2. If desired, add honey or sugar while tea is steeping, 1/4 cup for lightly sweet, to 1/2 cup for truly sweet.
3. Strain into pitcher and stir in 4 cups ice water. Serve with fresh sliced lemons and enjoy!

making hibiscus iced tea


This is a great no-fuss option if you want to make some tea to have around and aren’t in a hurry. It's similar to Method 1 above, except it extends the steep in the fridge to deepen and set the flavors. You still steep tea in heat-safe contain using half the amount of hot water for approx. 5 minutes. Then add the other half of the liquid as cold water or ice water to cool off the tea and let it sit for another 10 minutes. This is an important step as it cools off the pot and you don't want to bring up the temperature in your fridge. Then place pot in fridge, covered, and let it sit for 2 to 4 hours. Once that time is up, you can strain and enjoy your iced tea. Compare it to the first method and see which one you prefer! 

Recipe 2:  Lavender & Hibiscus Herbal Iced Tea
This recipe is made with our delightfully summery Farmhouse Lavender herbal blend.

Directions (makes one 64-oz pitcher):
1. In a heatsafe pot, steep 4 tablespoons of lavender-hibiscus tea in 4 cups hot water just below boiling (200°F) for 6 minutes.
2. Sweeten if desired, with 1/4 to 1/2 C of honey or agave. stir in 4 cups of cold water.
3. Cover the pot and put it in the fridge for four hours. This will allow the tea to chill and the flavors to set.
4. Strain into pitcher and serve over ice.


If you have the patience for it, it’s definitely worth cold-steeping (aka cold-brewing) your tea to experience the difference. A cold-steeped tea will yield a slightly different flavor profile and a different mouthfeel, in large part because there is no heat to draw out the tannins and astringency. Instead, the flavors develop slowly and more fully over many hours. This method works especially well for greens and oolongs, which impart an array of subtle flavors. It’s easy enough to prep this tea in the evening, let it steep overnight– then drink it all the next day. Because this tea doesn’t start out hot, if you want it sweet you’ll need to use a liquid sweetener for it to dissolve. You can use the recommended serving size ratios given in the packaging directions for a cold-steep (e.g. 1 tsp per cup). However we recommend trying 1.5x to 2x the amount of tea for richer flavor (e.g. if the directions say 1 tsp per cup, try 1.5 tsp or 2 tsp per cup).

Recipe 3: Jasmine Green Iced Tea
This recipe is made with our Serenity jasmine green tea.

Directions (makes one 64-oz pitcher):
1. Add 6 tablespoons of jasmine tea and 8 cups room temperature water in a pot with a lid.
2. Place in the fridge, covered, for 12 to 16 hours.
3. Strain into pitcher and serve. Enjoy over ice, chilled straight up, or with simple syrup to taste.

cold-steeped iced tea
And when it's all said and done, steeped and drank, what do you do with those spent tea leaves? Why not compost.