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How To Make Iced Tea With Loose Tea Leaves

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Switching from fast and convenient to nuanced and deep-flavored doesn’t have to be overwhelming by default. Ditching your tea bags and going richer-in-taste loose-leaf may require an extra dash of work, but it really is a simple infusion.

Unbroken loose leaf tea packs a lot more flavor and aroma and is therefore almost-mandatory for brewing your iced-cold, help-me-survive-these-hot-days tea. To learn how to make the ultimate iced tea with loose leaf tea and enjoy the best-tasting summer refreshment, keep on reading!

Why You Should Use Loose Leaf Tea for Iced Tea

There are many reasons you should commit to an unprocessed, loose-leaf tea-sipping, and we’ll go over those in a second. But before we start exploring the benefits of steeping the whole tea leaves, let’s see why this type of brewing is better for your iced tea.

When you think of iced tea, the first thing that comes to mind is cold, sweet, fruity, maybe zesty, drink that will quench your thirst on a hot day. But beneath all the layers of fruitiness, sweetness, and acidity lies the real flavor of the tea.

The actual taste of the tea in your regular iced tea is barely recognizable, which is a real shame. Tea can be loaded with flavor and aroma that will only boost the taste of your iced cold drink. And that’s what loose leaves bring to the pitcher. A deep flavor that transforms this summer staple, and not to mention, makes it a healthier beverage.

Reasons to Brew Loose Leaf Tea

Still not sure whether brewing loose leaf tea is a better choice? Well, let these benefits convince you, then:

Loose Leaf Tea Is High In Quality

This shouldn’t even be explained, really. Loose leaf tea is whole and unbroken, meaning that you always know what you’re getting. A teaspoon of leaves is a teaspoon of tea, without any fannings, dust, or other unwanted particles.

Loose Leaf Tea Is Healthier

Being unprocessed, loose leaf tea makes one healthy cuppa. Steeping whole leaves means extracting more of the tea’s healthy oils and compounds, which is what everyone is looking for in a nourishing cup.

Loose Leaf Tea Is Diverse and Allows for Combos

Loose leaf tea is not only black or green. The fresh leaf-tea options are pretty endless, and the best thing of all is that you can mix them up as you see fit. Making your own blends and finding a unique taste is only possible if using loose leaf tea.

How to Make Iced Tea Using Loose Leaves

Brewing Iced Tea with loose leaf tea may sound like a daunting process, but while it does take a bit longer than the quick and convenient tea bag steeping, the process is quite simple.
There are two different ways in which you can prepare iced tea with loose leaf tea:

Recipe #1: Cold Brew

Cold brewing your iced tea will add a nice body to your beverage and enhance the leaves’ natural flavor and sweetness. This will give you a subtle taste and lasting finish that is much more refreshing and enjoyable than the quick, hot-brew method.

And yes, this is our favorite way to brew iced tea. Here is how you can do it:

  1. Start by adding about 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea to a clean mason jar. Our golden ratio is 1 teaspoon of tea per every 8 ounces of water, so if you are brewing a larger batch, feel free to double or triple the amount.
  2. Next, cover the tea with water (8 ounces per 1 teaspoon). It is best to use tap or room temperature water.
  3. Then, put the lid on, seal, and place the mason jar in the refrigerator, allowing it to steep naturally, for at least 4 hours, but the best taste is extracted after 8-12 hours.
  4. Strain and serve with ice, lemon slices, and other favorite add-ins.

Recipe #2: Hot Brew

This is a somewhat quicker version of the previous method.

  1. Place 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea inside your cup or strainer.
  2. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, then pour the boiling water over the tea.
  3. Allow it to steep for 5 minutes, then strain and discard the leaves.
  4. Let the tea sit at room temperature for about half an hour, then transfer it to your jar/pitcher, and place it in the fridge to cool for a couple of hours.
  5. Serve with ice and preferred add-ins.

While both methods will generally brew you a delicious iced tea, the first recipe definitely delivers a more satisfying flavor. Besides, there is no need to worry about over-extraction or bitter taste with cold brewing since the cold water can only bring out the natural sweetness.

How Long Does Loose Leaf Tea Last?

If stored properly, you can expect your loose leaf tea to last for up to 18 to 24 months. But to maximize its lifespan, your loose tea should be stored in airtight containers, away from light, moisture, or direct heat.

Keep in mind, though, that your loose leaf tea will not spoil (unless introduced to moisture). Tea is perfectly safe to consume even after the expiration date; however, it will be way less potent. To get the most out of your leaves, brew while still fresh.

Loose Leaf Tea vs. Tea Bags

Brew a teaspoon of loose leaf tea and one tea bag of the same type of tea, and you will notice the difference after the first sip. The loose tea will be more aromatic, richer in flavor, and will provide a better-tasting aftertaste.

It is no secret that the traditional tea bags prevent the tea from infusing its full potential. But the potency, quality, freshness, and taste are not the only difference.

Another thing that makes us loose-leaf fans for life is their zero waste use. While tea bags are hard to recycle, loose leaves are an eco-friendly option. You can store them in your glass jars, without having a bag to throw after each brew.


As you can see, the solution is simple. To revel in a refreshing, wholesome, and super flavorful glass of iced tea, use loose leaves. Think you’re satisfied with your tea bags? Trust us, you don’t know what you are missing out on. Make your loose iced tea batch today, and explore the benefits of whole leaf brewing yourself.

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