How to cold brew green tea

Master the tricks to make deliciously mild and refreshing green tea

Cold brewed Japanese green tea in a big jar

Cold green tea is the perfect refreshening drink for hot days.
And the good news is, you can make delicious iced green tea without heating any water!
On this article, you’ll learn two different methods to make delicious green iced tea.
If you are a Japanese tea lover, you’ll be amazed at the nuances of cold brewed green tea; if you’re a newbie, you’ll be surprised at how light tea can taste.

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Reasons to cold brew green tea

Drinking iced green tea is one of the best ways to quench your thirst and beat heat exhaustion. 
And cold brewing tea is also one of those life hacks that is both easy and delicious – yay!

You’ll love cold brewed green tea because:

  1. it preserves all the good stuff of green tea
  2. it tastes very mild
  3. it has less caffeine than hot brewed tea 
  4. you will save energy because you won’t need boiling water

Choosing the best green tea for cold brewing

Japanese green tea prepared with cold water

You can cold brew any type of tea (black tea, white tea, oolong tea, herbal tea, sunrouge…you name it!).
But in this recipe we are using Japanese green tea because it requires very little time to cold brew: while most tea types might take around 8 hours to cold brew, cold brewing Japanese green tea usually only takes 10-20 minutes.

I personally prefer Japanese green tea bags to cold brew quickly and with no fuss (this is my favorite tea brand for this recipe).
But it’s better to use loose tea leaves when ice brewing so the melting water from the ice can take contact with the tea leaf more evenly.

Can I re-use the tea leaves or tea bag when cold brewing?

Tea can be infused several times, and cold brewed tea is no exception.

This is a summary of what you need to know if want reuse your tea:

  1. The better the quality of your tea leaves used for infusion, the more times you can infuse them:
    • Up to two or three times with good quality loose leave teas
    • Up to once with good quality teabags
  2. You might need less water or slightly longer time for the second or third steep
  3. When removing the tea from the liquid, remove the excess of water but don’t squeeze the tea to avoid your tea getting bitter
  4. If not re-steeping right away, it’s best to keep the tea in the fridge.
    However, don’t use tea leaves from the day before. You can read why right below.

Why you shouldn’t reuse tea from the day before 

Most catechins, a type of antioxidants present in green tea, come out on the first steep.
These catechins serve as a natural antibacterial protection, so after the first steeping session, the tea is more susceptible to get some harmful microorganisms.
The longer time goes, the more susceptible; that’s why you shouldn’t re-steep tea hours after the first steep.

Frequently asked questions about cold brewing green tea

Why does cold brewed tea taste milder?

Since the aroma and taste of the tea are extracted slowly and without any heat, less tannins are released.
The result is smoother flavor with less bitterness; an almost “sweet tea” without the need of any syrup or honey.

How much caffeine is in cold brewed green tea?

It’s difficult to give exact figures because caffeine content varies depending on many factor like the exact type of tea, time of harvest, how it’s prepared and the time spent steeping.
But you can say that, on average, cold brewed green tea only has around 5 grams caffeine per every 100 ml (3oz), which is one-third as less caffeine as hot brewed tea (the same amount of green tea brewed with hot water has about 15 gr.; coffee has 40).

How long is cold brewed tea good?

While you shouldn’t reuse tea leaves or sachets from the day before (ideally, avoid also tea that was steeped more than a couple of hours ago), once brewed, the cold tea has a shelf life of roughly 2 days in the fridge.
You can store your cold steeped green tea in an airtight container and put it on the fridge.
After that, it will begin to oxidate: the color will change and it will not taste so well.

How to cold brew green tea

You can make cold brewed iced green tea either with water (mizudashi) or with ice cubes (kōridashi).
Follow these steps to make green tea with cold water (there is also a VIDEO) after the instructions:

Time needed: 15 minutes.

How to cold brew green tea

  1. Gather the ingredients

    Put the tea in a container and pour water (cold or room temperature).
    You will need roughly 1 tea sachet or 1 teaspoon green tea for every cup of water.Pouring cold water into tea sachets

  2. Steep

    Let rest your Japanese green tea in the water for 10-30 minutes*.
    But if you forget your tea don’t worry either; cold brewed green tea doesn’t get bitter even if steeped for a little longer.
    Cold brewing works both steeping the tea in the fridge or at room temperature.
    *Other green tea may types need more time, up to 8 hours.
    On these cases, I find it the easiest steeping the tea in the fridge overnight.
    Cold steeping green tea

  3. Strain

    Remove tea. You can re-steep it if desired.Green tea to re steep

  4. Enjoy

    You can add some ice cubes or drink it at room temperature, depending on your preferences.Pouring cold brewed green tea into glass

You can also watch in this video how to cold steep Japanese green tea (mizudashi ryokucha):

There is also another way to make cold brew tea iced tea: steeping it in ice cubes (kooridashi).

This method takes more time because you have to wait until the ice is melted, but the results are outstanding!
By letting the green tea slowly steep in the iced water that comes from the melting ice, you get an AMAZING iced tea.
Ice brewed green tea has an intense taste but without any unpleasant bitterness:

Ice brewed green tea
5 from 4 votes

How to ice brew green tea

A recipe to get the most exquisite cold brewed tea
Print Recipe
Prep Time:1 min
Resting time:2 hrs
Total Time:2 hrs

Equipment

  • Teapot or similar (like a mason jar)
  • Strainer

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp green tea Aprox. 5 grams
  • 2 cups ice cubes Aprox. 150 grams

Instructions

  • Put tea in the container and cover with the ice cubes. Some people put the tea leaves over the ice.
    Green tea leaves and ice cubes
  • The ice will melt more quickly or slow depending on the room temperature
  • Once the ice is melt, strain the loose tea leaves and enjoy your tea with or without additional ice cubes.
    Ice brewed green tea

Notes

If you prefer a quicker way to cold brew your tea, check above in this article how to cold brew green tea with water (instead of with ice cubes).

Nutrition

Calories: 2kcal
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: green tea, Japanese tea, low caffeine, vegan
Servings: 2 Glasses
Calories: 2kcal

Summary

  • Cold brewed green tea tastes milder and maintains all the good stuff of hot brewed green tea while providing less caffeine.
  • You can cold brew green tea bags or loose tea.
  • When brewing Japanese green tea in room temperature or cold water, you only need about 15 minutes
  • Ice brewed green tea takes a little bit longer (until the ice melts), but it’s a specially delicate experience.

Cold brewed green tea tastes amazing and it’s so easy you will wonder why you haven’t made it sooner!
So you should give this ice tea recipe a try: it will probably become your next summertime favorite and your No.1 pick-me-up.

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4 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      Excellent recipe! I love green tea and have never tried it cold brewed before now. The flavor is so delicate and refreshing. I think the stated caffeine content was probably supposed to have been in milligrams rather that grams. 1000mg per gram or about 5mg per 100 ml (3oz) of cold brewed green tea. Just in case anyone may have been confused. 40,000mg would be one hell of a cup of coffee! Thank you for the excellent recipe, Cheers!

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