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Over the four years, I’ve been selling fine quality teas at craft shows, I’ve discovered most of my customers are fairly uncertain of their ability to brew their own tea at home. And with good reason! Go online and search for information on “how to brew tea” and you’ll find hundreds of articles by tea connoisseurs riddled with tips on what NOT to do to mess up your ever-precious limited supply of quality tea leaves. If you don’t have a “tea ball”, or know what “pu-ehr” is, then the exotic technical jargon of tea-snobs probably sends you running scared.
But fear not! Tea leaves no longer cost $2600 a pound as they did in 17th century Europe, so even if you DO mess up a pot of brew, you’re only out about 30 cents. And you don’t need to learn a new language or pay for pricey equipment to enjoy your own home-brewed iced tea. If you have water and tea, you can brew. By using a drip coffee maker and some bags of tea from your cupboard, brewing your own iced tea has never been easier! And after you realize that all-natural, no preservative Arizona Iced Tea you’ve been buying from the store has high-fructose corn syrup as it’s a most abundant ingredient (next to the water, of course), you’ll be refreshingly surprised at what you’ve been missing from a real glass of unadulterated iced tea—and your body will thank you for it!
My mom made sun tea when I was little. She would fill up the same clear plastic pitcher with Lipton tea bags and water and set it out in the sun to steep. I’d go out there and marvel at the process. As an experiment, I filled cans with water and macaroni noodles and set them next to her sun tea to “cook.” Never worked, no matter how long I left them out there. Fast forward a few years, and my mom let up on her soda-once-a-week rule. I started guzzling Dr. Pepper like she guzzled unsweetened iced tea, and I squealed every time I grabbed the wrong cup from the cup holder. Yuck!
Nowadays, I’ve given up the soda in favor of good clean water. I’ve always wanted to understand my mom’s iced tea thing, and I’ve finally found a way to really, truly enjoy it—cold brew! The cold brew method reminds me of sun tea since you’re just steeping tea in water for hours, but cold brew takes place in the refrigerator instead of the back porch. Heat brings out the tannic, bitter flavors in tea. In the absence of heat, you’re left with perfectly refreshing, super-smooth tea for slow summer sipping. It isn’t bitter in the slightest. The same is true for coffee, which is why I love cold brew coffee so much.
How To Make Iced Tea In A Coffee Maker
The method itself is incredibly simple. Just combine loose-leaf tea or whole tea bags and water in a pitcher and let the tea infuse the water for 6 to 12 hours in the refrigerator (see instructions below for specifics). Strain and you have cold-brew tea that will taste great for days! Bon Appetit suggested that they have the best results with loose-leaf tea, so I used loose-leaf here, but I’ve since been making lazy cold-brew tea by soaking whole bags in water, which tastes almost as good and is much easier to make. Another option? Steep your loose-leaf tea in a clean French press—just press down the filter to remove those loose tea leaves and pour!
Instruction to make cold tea with Coffee Maker
- Place tea bags in the basket of the coffee maker. You do not need to line the basket with a coffee filter, just throw them in with the tags hanging out.
- Pour water into the coffee maker. Start the coffee maker and let it do its thing.
- Once all the tea is in the coffee pot, turn off the coffee maker. Allow the tea to cool enough that it won’t melt your pitcher if you’re using a plastic pitcher or jug.
- For a stronger tea, take tea bags from the coffee maker basket and place them in the freshly-brewed tea at this time.
- Once the tea is cool enough to handle, wring out tea bags into tea and pour tea into a pitcher. Add sugar and ice. You may also want to try adding lemon slices, orange slices, or spearmint to liven up your brew.
- Refrigerate until you’re ready to enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I use my Keurig to brew tea? After strolling down the coffee aisle at my local grocery superstore last week, I found the answer to this is a resounding yes! Many tea companies have jumped on the Keurig bandwagon and now offer their teas in K-cups for you to brew at home. Although to make sure your tea is organic and top quality for freshest flavor (and in the case of many herbal teas, for maximum medicinal effect) I recommend ordering from a reputable organic and fair-trade certified loose-leaf tea supplier and brewing your own.
- Can I brew green tea in my drip coffee maker? Yes! The water temperature and 3–5 minute steep time from your drip coffee maker are sufficient for brewing both black and green teas. Not optimal, but sufficient.
- What about herbal tea? Mostly, yes. The steep time and water temperature from your coffee maker are sufficient for brewing herbal teas made of the leaves, flowers, or buds of the plant-like chamomile, lavender, and mint teas. The steep time and water temperature are not adequate for reaping all the medicinal benefits from an herbal tea made of the root, stems, or bark of the plant-like valerian root and willow bark.
- Which loose-leaf tea makes the best tea? For your classic black iced tea, I like to use an organic and fair-trade certified Ceylon Tea.
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