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6 Alternative Ways to Make Cold Tea

Read time: 5 mins
Round ice.
Christopher C. Jun 20, 2023

It's summer, baby! Pools are filled, the grills are grilled, and the drinks are chilled. Set your fridge's icemaker to high because we're making enough iced tea to get us through the dog days coming up fast. Not just any iced tea, though. It's 2023! We can be more inventive than pouring hot tea over a mountain of ice. Plus, iced tea can be unpleasantly acidic and watery. We want to get the most out of our summer, so why wouldn't we try to get the most out of our tea? Here are six alternative ways to make iced tea this summer.

  • For the Iced Tea Dad


    Image of round ice on a mesh gradient background.

    We all know an iced tea dad—the 40-something amateur landscaper in once-white New Balances whose perpetual sunburn turns shades darker as summer lingers on. After a long day of mowing the lawn or grilling hot dogs, there's nothing as rewarding as a tall glass of iced tea. Not even a crisp light beer compares. Kōridashi is perfect for iced tea dads. Instead of hot water, Kōridashi uses slowly melting ice cubes to extract mellow, sweet tea. Just sprinkle 1 tbsp. loose-leaf for every six ice cubes and let it melt while you're out back deciding which window to put an A/C unit in. By the time you're done (about 2 hours), there'll be a smooth cup of tea waiting for you. Just strain the leaves out. Try Tropical Earl Grey for a fruity and floral yet bold brew. If you're a dad's dad, Lapsang Souchong is smoky as brisket.

  • For the Road Tripper


    Image of cold brew tea being poured into a glass on a mesh gradient background.

    You take your summer on the open road. Johnny Cash's “I've Been Everywhere” isn't just a jam, it's your life. Your plans can be summarized in a single word: go. Driving is thirsty work, though, and no gas station serves Positively Tea. Don't settle for a bitter, iced bev batch brewed in a tank taller than your house—take your own homemade tea on the run. Cold brew tea is your copilot for the miles ahead. Brewing with cold water over the course of 2 – 24 hours, depending on your desired strength, extracts the best of a tea, leaving astringency and bitterness behind. Though we prefer more portable vessels like the Ka-Ku, another benefit of cold brewing is you can brew in anything that seals. Brew before you shove off for locales unknown or steep on the road if it's not too hot out, you'll never be without your tea. Go for Very Berry Citrus for a fruit explosion or energizing Yerba Mate.

    Speaking of brewing without hot water, you may have heard about sun tea, which uses direct sunlight to extract the tea over the course of 3 – 4 hours. We do not recommend making sun tea, as the mixture can get warm enough to foster bacterial growth but not hot enough to kill that bacteria.

  • For the Party Animal


    Image of a flora mate daiquiri on a mesh gradient background.

    Take your go-to cocktails to the next level by pre-infusing your mixers (and/or spirits) with tea. Tea purists can get hung up on water being tea's only conduit, but the truth is you can steep in just about anything. Imagine Blood Orange Vanilla lemon-lime soda. Wow. Anyone can make a simple vodka soda, but a true mixologist knows there's plenty of room to improve upon the classics. Make your Moscow Mule bray with Blueberry Bliss-infused vodka. Spice up your summer with a Chocolate Chai mimosa. We suggest going with an herbal tisane or rooibos, as their flavors will present best and most dynamically in your drink.

  • For the Poolside Babes


    Image of an infused tea ice ball on a mesh gradient background.

    Long, hot days by the pool call for bevs that can stand the heat. Better yet, bevs that evolve with the heat. Nothing's worse than fixing yourself a drink, only to have the sun turn it into a watery shell of its former self. Weak drinks suck. Since you can't stop the sun, get the best of it with tea concentrate cubes. Simply brew very strong tea and freeze it. Toss some cubes in a glass, top with seltzer, soda, juice, water, a different tea, whatever, and let the sun do the rest. Unlike lame, flavorless ice, tea concentrate cubes can only make your drink tastier as the day wears on. Get Hibiscus and Lychee Green in the freezer STAT.

  • For the Picnic Peeps


    Image of a matcha shakerato on a mesh gradient background.

    A checkered blanket on a grassy hill in the breezy shade of a lush sugar maple is your happy place. Add a stocked picnic basket and a good thriller and you're set. What's in that picnic basket, you ask? Only the makings of the zippiest, earthiest drink you can think of: a matcha shakerato. Maybe there's a local sub shop 6” in there, but we're here to talk about tea. While matcha is traditionally (and ceremonially) brewed hot, it works just as well, if not better, shaken with ice, cold water, and oat milk. Add a little maple syrup and vanilla extract for kicks, sprawl out, and dive into that whodunit you've been reading. If you throw everything together beforehand and shake as you're running up that hill, you won't have anything to throw away. Leave no trace, my friend.

  • For the Sweet-Toothed


    Image of sorbet in martini glasses on a mesh gradient background.

    You know it's summer when the ice cream trucks are out in earnest, their tinny chimes sending neighbors running. And while it's tempting to see if the SpongeBob pop's eyes are where they should be, you can make a tastier (and less haunting) dessert at home. For tea sorbet, combine 2 cups cold brew tea (we've got recommendations), ¾ cup sugar, ¾ cup lemon juice, and 1 cup ice water. Chill it an hour, scoop, and freeze 1 more hour. We recommend Root Beer Rooibos, Green Tangerine, and Choco Coco Joy.


You've got a lot you want to do this summer. With all the rushing around or lack thereof, your undying love of tea can take the backseat sometimes (literally if you're cold brewing on the road), but it doesn't have to. Tea is so versatile, not only in how it's brewed but also how it can enhance the flavors of things you're already planning on making. Tea can go where you go and be what you want it to be. Let it go, shake it, freeze it, cold brew it, infuse it, harness its energy—whatever you do, we hope it's delicious.

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