Easy cold brewed green tea

A simple way to make green tea that makes its taste deliciously mild and refreshing while reducing its caffeine content

Cold brewed Japanese green tea in a big jar

Cold brewed green tea is the perfect refreshening drink for hot days, so no wonder it’s so popular in Japan during summer! On this post, you’ll not only learn about why it’s worth cold brewing green tea, but also the exact steps to make perfect green iced tea using two different methods. 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.

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:

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

What are some benefits of cold brewed green tea?

Green tea is quite well known as a healthy drink. But is cold green tea still good for you?
Luckily, it looks like cold steeping preserves the antioxidants of the tea (like EGCG).
And not only that; research suggests that brewing tea in cold or in room temperature may even increase the amount of catechins, flavonoids and tea polyphenols of your drink.

Why does cold brewed tea taste milder?

Japanese green tea prepared with cold water

Cold brewing your tea takes longer than steeping it in hot water. But while that might seem inconvenient, there is an upside: since the aroma and taste 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 each type of green tea differs and the caffeine content varies depending on how it’s prepared and the time spent steeping. But you can say that, on average, 100 ml (about 3 oz) of brewed green tea has about 15 grams (a third less than regular black coffee).
However, if you prepare it with cold or room temperature water instead, it will only have around 5 grams caffeine per every 100 ml: one-third as less caffeine as hot brewed tea.

Which tea is best for cold brew?

You can cold brew any type of tea (black tea, white tea, oolong tea, herbal tea, sunrouge…you name it!).
But Japanese green tea is specially great to cold brew because they require very little time to steep in cold water: so you can get a delicious cold tea in just 15-20 minutes, while other types of tea might take around 8 hours.
I often use tea bags when I want to cold brew quickly and with no fuss.
But it’s better to use loose tea leaves if ice brewing because that way, 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?

Yes, tea can be infused several times, and cold brew tea is no exception.

This is a summary of what you need to know if want reuse your favorite tea (both if using loose leaf or tea sachet):

  1. The better the quality of your tea leaves used for infusion, the more times you can infuse them; usually up to two or three time with good quality teas. 
  2. You might need less water or slightly longer time for the second or third steep
  3. Remove the excess of water but don’t squeeze the tea to avoid the tea getting bitter
  4. If not re-steeping right away, 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.

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 make cold green tea (Mizudashi)

Cold brewing green tea is so easy!
And when using Japanese green tea, you can already have a delicious cold brewed tea ready in as little as 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 a tea sachet for every cup of water.Pouring cold water into tea sachets

  2. Steep

    For best results, steep for 10-30 minutes*.
    But if you forget your tea and you let it cold-steep longer, don’t worry either; cold brewed green tea won’t get bitter even if steeped for a couple of hours longer.
    Cold brewing work both steeping the tea in the fridge or at room temperature.
    *When using other types of green tea other than Japanese varieties like sencha, you may need more time, up to 8 hours. On that case, 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 desiredGreen 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

Rather a visual learner? Check on this video how to make the easiest cold brewed iced tea:

How to ice brew green tea (Kooridashi)

There is also another way to cold brew method to make outstanding green tea: steeping it with ice cubes.

The Kooridahi method takes much more time because you have to wait until the ice is melted, but it’s so worth it! The results is an AMAZING cold brew iced tea.

Ice brewed green tea
5 from 2 votes

Ice brewed Japanese green tea

How to cold brew the mildest green 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
    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 trick, you can brew green tea with water instead of with ice cubes.
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: green tea, Japanese tea, low caffeine, vegan
Servings: 2 Glasses
Calories: 1kcal

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; iced 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! Give it a try: this ice tea recipe will probably become your next summertime favorite and your No.1 pick-me-up.

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