Teabags or loose-leaf tea? What makes the perfect ice green tea? In this article, I go through easy peasy steps and the tips and tricks to making perfect iced green tea without any fuss.
Green tea comes from the same plant as black tea (Camellia sinensis).
How green tea differs to black tea is that it is unfermented (why they retain their green color) and is more astringent in flavor. It has many health benefits, which I cover further on. Here’s a glimpse…
Iced green tea is a refreshing, healthy drink that can help you lose weight because of the powerful properties in this drink and its ability to reduce insulin levels. It also contains antioxidants which are beneficial for the body!
The shelf life of green tea its on average 18 months. You need to store it away from direct sunlight. I write about the shelf life of teas in my article on how long does tea last? Does it expire?
How to make iced green tea with a teabag [STEP BY STEP]
Steps to making the perfect cup of ice green tea:
- Select your green tea bags and place these in a teapot or heat resistant pitcher
- Boil water for tea on the stove or in an electric kettle
- Pour the boiled water over the teabags
- Let them steep for 2-3 minutes, then jiggle the teabags and remove
- Add sweetener to taste, stir well with a spoon until fully dissolved. Let cool. Before serving, add a slice of lemon, sprig of mint, or other enhancement.
- Fill glasses with ice cubes and serve your now cooled green tea mixture
Note: For ice Matcha green tea, start at step 4, steeping the Matcha tea bag in cold water. Matcha tea is powdered and easily soluble. You don’t need to boil the water to bring out the flavor of this tea.
Step1: Select your green tea teabags
Here’s one I’m enjoying right now…
See Ito En Matcha Green Tea at Amazon
What kind of teabags? There are many different kinds available; you could pick up any brand at random for convenience, but keep in mind all brands taste slightly different and getting a quality green tea will make a difference.
Of the five categories of taste: Sweetness, Saltiness, Sourness, Bitterness, and Umami, there’s a tea type for all of these in the wide range of green tea varieties available (not all can be found locally). But, that’s a topic for another article.
Some good brands to try with green tea are Lipton, Celestial Seasonings, Bigelow, Stash, Bigelow, Tazo, and Twinings.
It comes down to a personal preference. A couple of popular quality green teabag varieties are Jasmine Green Tea and Assam Organic Green Tea.
You might have a taste for Sencha (from Japan) or Gunpowder Green Tea (a tea type popular in China). Both varieties have a light taste with a “grassy” flavor. I quite like Gunpowder green tea blend and it’s one green tea to which I’ll add milk. It is a type of tea with a certain smoky taste and flavor profile.
Then there’s the Japanese powdered green tea, Matcha!
At first glance, it may seem like the only difference is in the taste, but there are some other factors to consider when choosing a brand of teabags. These factors include the cost, the number of teabags included, how many times you need to steep one bag before it is exhausted, as well as where the company sources its ingredients.
The pros of bagged tea for all types of tea include its convenience. It’s already portioned and you don’t need to use strainers. But, look for loose leaf green tea if you are looking for a more authentic taste.
Or choose “organic” varieties, which will provide the health benefits of green tea without taking any potential nasty additives into your system.
- Lipton Decaf Green Tea Bags
- Tazo Organic
You can buy bagged or loose leafed green tea leaves in organic.
Step 2: Boil the water for ice green tea
Let’s start with the most important part: Boil your water for brewing the tea! You can do this on the stovetop. Some people prefer electric tea kettles. I use filtered tap water in an electric kettle.
You will need 10–12 fluid ounces of water (average cup size) plus a splash more for each serving (thus allowing for evaporative loss).
Here are my golden rules:
- Never use re-boiled water for tea making. It will affect the taste. The tea will taste duller as with each re-boil the water loses oxygen. So, fill the kettle with fresh water each time.
- Never use hot water from the tap when boiling water for tea. The correct temperature water is cold from the tap, or better still filtered tap water.
What can interfere with the flavor of your tea is water quality. If you have hard tap water, it can affect the tea flavor, making it less palatable.
Step 3: Pour boiled water over the teabag
The standard ratio is one teabag or teaspoon per 1 cup of water (about 10 fluid ounces of water) depending on how strong you like your tea. I’d probably put 2 teabags per cup.
Once the water is boiled, pour it over the teabags.
Step 4: Steep the tea
Let the tea steep for about 2–3 minutes. Once you have reached this time limit, remove the bag.
How long does green tea need to steep? The length of time that green tea needs to steep depends on the type of green leaf — however, most require about three minutes in hot water at 160° F (70° C). With some exceptions such as powdered green Matcha, which you can steep in cold water.
The perfect temperature and time as per the School of Tea concurs:
- Green Tea: 2-3 minutes at 158–176 ºF (70–80 ºC).
>>>For the steeping of tea temperature for several kinds of teas, see my article covering how to make the perfect cup of tea.
It also helps to jiggle the tea bag to get the full flavor before removing.
The general rule is to steep your teabag for 2–3 minutes.
If you want a stronger (more bitter) taste, you can let it steep longer.
You can steep overnight, if you wish, but I don’t recommend this. It’s best that any type of steeping is done just before serving and drinking.
For an average mug-sized container (10-12 ounces of water), allow the tea bag steep for about two to three minutes. Make sure your mug is clean, without tea stains, which can affect the flavor.
Some like to squeeze the tea bag for a stronger flavor. If it’s a quality green tea (without the dregs) I see no reason against squeezing the tea bag. Go right ahead! It’s a personal preference. I squeeze my Matcha tea bags because I want more of the goodness it offers.
Use porcelain, ceramic or glass teapots as options in which to steep loose leaf tea or teabags.
- Green tea is best steeped for only a few minutes, about two to three.
- The longer it steeps, the more bitter and astringent it will taste.
The taste of tea is due to the combination of three main substances found in tea leaves (catechins, flavonols, and flavones).
Step 5: Adding sweet flavor and other tastes and aromas
Pour the tea into a pyrex, porcelain, or ceramic jug or pitcher, if you’re making more than one serve of green tea at once. Add granulated sugar or other sweetener to enhance the otherwise bitter taste. Some options for sweetening include cane sugar, raw sugar, honey, maple syrup, rice syrup, and stevia.
(I’m a no sugar person myself.)
Give it a good stir before serving. Then add other ingredients, to personal taste, such as a couple of mint leaves or lemon slices, as desired!
Chill it in the refrigerator.
Some people prefer to refrigerate their mixture overnight. In this case, I’d wait till just before serving to add a slice of lemon, sprig of mint, or other enhancements.
You’ll find plenty of ice green tea recipes online for enhancements to your brew. Here are some of the ideas for ice green teas with refreshing flavors…
Ideas for ice green tea recipes
- Strawberry Kiwi Mint Iced Green Tea: “Combine brewed green tea with frozen strawberries (or your favorite fruit), honey or sugar to taste, fresh mint leaves, lemon juice if desired for flavor. Serve in glasses filled half way up with crushed ice.”
- Green iced tea with lime juice: “Brew the tea as usual until strong and brewed enough (the more teabags you use the stronger your brew will be). Add fresh limes slices then let cool.”
- Green iced tea with mint leaves: “Brew a pot of green tea as usual but add mint leaves to steep in the pot. Let cool then pour over ice.”
As you can see there are many different ways you can make an ice green tea! If you want to, check out the recipes online and try some out for yourself.
Test Kitchen Tip: When making green tea, use a heaped teaspoon of loose leaf or two teabags to make one decent cup of iced green tea. For stronger flavor let steep up to five minutes, but no more than ten minutes.
Step 6: Pour the tea over ice
Once the green tea has finished steeping and cooling, and you’ve added the extras and chilled it, it’s ready to go.
Pour it over ice cubes in your favorite glass or cup!
The best and most appealing way to serve tea over ice is in glass tumblers, I think. Not only do they look great, but glass, like porcelain or ceramic, won’t interfere with the taste unlike metal, plastic, or wood.
“The best time to add ice is when you’re ready to pour your brewed tea over it.” “Adding too much ice can dilute the flavors in your drink!” So keep that in mind when adding your ice!
Now onto benefits: the benefits of green tea are plentiful especially healthwise.
Benefits of green tea
Green Tea is rich in antioxidants, which may provide protection against heart disease1,2 and certain cancers by preventing cell damage. It also contains vitamins A and C – both antioxidant powerhouses!
Green Tea is also a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E – an essential nutrient that helps keep skin healthy and protects cells from oxidative stress causing premature aging.
Antioxidants help maintain a healthy immune system. They can also help combat the aging process by keeping cells from degenerating.
The health benefits of green tea are due to a class of natural compounds called polyphenols. Research has confirmed that green tea can help protect the body against cancer, as well as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
It has been shown that some compounds in green tea may be beneficial against obesity. Green Tea Extract Supplements have helped people lose weight without changing their diet or exercise habits (though regular consumption as part of an appropriate diet and lifestyle should always still be taken into consideration).
Is iced green tea good for you?
Try a morning routine of green tea. Yes, it is actually a great way to start your day. Studies indicate that drinking iced green tea before eating breakfast can help you lose weight because of the powerful properties in this drink and its ability to reduce insulin levels. It also contains antioxidants which are beneficial for the body!
Tip and tricks for ice tea drinkers
- The best time to steep your teabag is just before it’s ready to be served.
- You should let the finished steeping liquid cool before adding ice.
- Chill your glass tumblers before serving your ice green tea. This keeps the tea iced longer and stops the ice melting and making the tea watery.
- Ice green tea tastes best when served chilled over ice cubes, but never add cold water to your brew as this dilutes natural flavors and nutrient potency.
Sip on ice green tea throughout the day– this can help maintain healthy levels in serum glucose — also known, with diabetes type II, to improve energy levels, supporting cardiovascular health, and fighting free radicals that cause skin aging.
The key to making great-tasting ice green tea is patience: let it steep for at least three minutes so all those nutrients are released.
You can also enjoy ice green tea in the evening: it is often considered to be a good nightcap.
- Add one bag with your favorite flavor, like Jasmine Green Tea – they have minimal caffeine so it will not interfere with sleep.
- Let steep at least three minutes to extract all those nutrients from the leaves; drink throughout the day for maximum health benefits.
What are the best tea bags for iced tea?
There are several popular brands of green tea that make a great base for iced tea. Apart from those already mentioned, some of these brands are:
- Numi Organic Tea – this is one of the more popular green teas that you can find in most grocery stores and they have an organic variety which has less caffeine content than other varieties
- Yogi LifeTea – another popular brand choice, they offer six different flavors to choose from like Blackberry Zinger and Lemon Green Ginger; their teabags contain no artificial ingredients or preservatives
- Republic of Tea’ offers four different kinds but only gives them seasonal availability as part of their “tea club.” These include Royal English Breakfast with Mint, Indian Spiced Chai, White Tip Jasmine (seasonal), and Peppermint Stick (seasonal).
Is it better to drink green tea hot or cold?
It is best to drink green tea the way you like it, either hot or cold. That way you’re sure to gain the green tea health benefits, which are beneficial for your body.
What kind of teabags should I use?
There are many different tea types available on the market in teabag form; each have their benefits and drawbacks. Some people prefer no bags. They make their own blend with loose leaf tea leaves instead and use a tea infuser. This is a healthy option as you avoid the additives in the paper or wrapping of the teabag.
Can you put a tea bag in ice water?
You can put a tea bag in ice water, but putting a tea bag straight into ice water won’t make you the perfect ice tea. It won’t give you the full flavor and goodness potential.
The most popular technique is to boil water and then pour it over the tea bag or loose leaf green teas. Once the desired strength has been reached, remove the teabag or tea leaf infuser.
Powdered Matcha is an exception! You can place a Matcha green tea bag, of the Ito En Traditional Matcha Green Tea brand, into a 6-8 ounce glass of cold water and let steep for 2-3 minutes for a refreshing healthy drink. Then add the ice as you wish.
What type of ice tea container should I use?
The best containers are made of ceramic, porcelain, or glass because these won’t impart flavors onto your tea as metal containers tend to do. Plastic cups also work, but be sure not to burn yourself as these tend to be flimsy.
Do you make iced tea with hot or cold water?
I boil the water and use it after it’s gone off the boil while it’s at the perfect temperature for the best tasting beverage. Use hot water at the right tea temperature, instead of cold. It gives the most flavorsome tasting tea with more antioxidants released from the leaves.
Is it better with boiling water? Boiling the water first before pouring over the tea, is Yes, best for iced teas. They are best steeped, this way.
Can you make iced tea without boiling water?
You can try to make ice tea without boiling water, but it won’t have as much flavor nor the benefits you get from tea brewed at the right temperature. I cover the right temperatures for brewing teas in my article on making the perfect cup of tea. An exception, however are Matcha tea bags (see above).
Can you leave a teabag in overnight?
You can, but leaving a teabag to steep overnight will cause your tea to be over-extracted, or overly bitter and strong.
Iced green tea is the perfect choice for those hot days. It’s refreshing and has been shown to have a variety of health benefits that are supported by science (1). So don’t wait until summer hits; make it now! There’s no need to go out and buy expensive ingredients or equipment, too – I’ve shown you how easy it can be to brew your own at home with teabags or loose-leaf. All you need is water, sugar, some time cooling, and a few simple steps. I hope this blog post has given you all the knowledge needed to create your own cup of ice green tea without any fuss.
How to make green tea in minutes
- Boil water and pour over the tea bag or infuser of loose green tea leaves. Allow steeping for three to five minutes. Cool then pour over ice cubes into a glass.
- Nakachi K, Matsuyama S, Miyake S, Suganuma M, Imai K. 2000. Preventive effects of drinking green tea on cancer and cardiovascular disease: epidemiological evidence for multiple targeting prevention. Biofactors. 13(1-4):49-54. doi: 10.1002/biof.5520130109. PMID: 11237198.