Summertime is the perfect season for sipping on this cold brew lemon iced tea. This refreshing beverage is a great tasting drink for cookouts or any summer celebration.
Iced tea is the quintessential Southern drink. It’s served at pretty much every meal.
Since I didn’t grow up here, it wasn’t something that I was used to drinking that often.
But I have always loved it as a refreshing alternative to lemonade in the summer. Especially at get togethers. (It’s pretty tasty mixed with vodka!)
This recipe is super easy to make. And the cold brew method results in a smoother, better tasting drink that has less caffeine than hot brew tea. Even non tea drinkers will love it.
Plus you can make it ahead of time. In a pitcher or as individual servings.
So it meets all of my criteria for the perfect party recipe.
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- tea – 5 tea bags of black tea or oolong tea (or 2 Tablespoons loose leaf tea). Quality tea is important since it is the main ingredient of the drink.
- sweetener – 2½ Tablespoons sugar
- fresh fruit – 1 or 2 lemons, plus an extra one or two for the garnish (if desired)
- fresh herbs – 1 bunch of fresh mint, for the garnish (if desired)
- For different flavors, try using herbal teas instead of the black tea. Depending on the flavor, you may want to leave the lemon juice out of the syrup.
- Increase the amount of sugar if you want sweet iced tea.
How to make Cold brew iced tea
This recipe makes about 8 glasses of iced tea.
Make the cold brew tea
Put the tea and 4 cups of cold water in a pitcher.
Cover the container and put it in the refrigerator to brew for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
The stronger you like your tea, the longer you’ll want to leave it.
When it has finished steeping, remove the tea bags or tea leaves from the container.
You may need to strain the tea, if there are any leaves remaining in it.
Make the lemon syrup
First we need to make a simple syrup.
To do this, boil 2 cups of water and 2½ Tablespoons sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from the heat and leave the sugar syrup to cool.
In the meantime, juice enough lemons for 1/3 cup lemon juice.
When the sugar syrup as cooled completely, stir in 1/3 cup squeezed lemon juice.
If you are making this in advance, store in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
Put it together
To make the tea in individual servings:
- Add ice to the glass.
- Fill it about 1/3 full with lemon syrup.
- Top with the brewed tea.
To make it in a pitcher:
- Add about 2 cups of ice to the pitcher.
- Pour in the lemon syrup and brewed tea.
- Mix to combine.
While garnish isn’t absolutely necessary, it does make the glasses look really pretty.
To do this, add a couple of lemon slices down the side of the glass. Then place a sprig of mint on the top.
Frequently asked questions
Cold brew tea has a smoother flavor since it is extracted over several hours. And doesn’t use the heat that can cause tea leaves to release a bitter taste.
Yes, you can use any kind of tea for cold brew.
While you can make iced tea with hot water, it usually tastes better when you use cold brew tea.
Other Drink Recipes you might like
Homemade Cold Brew Lemon Iced Tea
- 1 pitcher
- 1 medium saucepan
- 1 lemon juicer
- 1 strainer (optional)
- measuring cups and spoons
- 5 tea bags black tea or 2 Tablespoons loose tea leaves
- 4 cups cold water
- 2 cups water
- 2½ Tablespoons sugar
- ⅓ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 or 2 lemons sliced
- 1 bunch fresh mint
Brew the tea
- Put tea and water into a container or pitcher and cover it.
- Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, depending on how strong you want it to be.
- Remove the tea.
Make the lemon syrup
- In a saucepan, boil 2 cups water and 2½ Tablespoons sugar until the sugar has dissolved, stirring constantly.
- Remove from the heat and let it cool
- Stir in ⅓ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice.
- Fill each glass with ⅓ cup of lemonade and a generous portion of ice. Top with cold brew tea.
- Garnish with a lemon slice and a sprig of mint leaves.
- The cold brew tea and lemon syrup can be made ahead of time, and stored in air tight containers in the refrigerator for a day or two.
- To make a large batch of iced tea, combine the tea and lemon syrup in a pitcher.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
Have comments or questions about our cold brewed lemon iced tea? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on July 27, 2022 but was updated with new content on December 14, 2023.