This is one of those little tricks that I think of as so simple that I often don’t remember to pass it along. When I worked at Leaf ‘n Bean Cafe and the temperatures rose to the high 90s we sold a lot of ice tea. Literally gallons of the stuff. It wasn’t the sun tea that you often read about at this time of year. Nor did we pour boiling water over the 25 or so tea bags we used for 4 gallons of tea. We just filled up giant containers with cold water, added the teabags, and popped them into the fridge with a lid on. That was it. The next morning there was a fresh batch of ice tea ready to serve.
The manager explained that when you use hot water (and to a lesser extent the sun) to make ice tea you release the tannins in tea, which can make tea bitter. Cold brewing means less tannins and a smoother brew. It doesn’t mean you can’t make a great glass of ice tea using hot water and then cooling it down, but when just stepping outside makes you perspire why not do things the cold way?
It took about an hour and a half to go from clear water to the brown on the bottom right. Another couple of hours and I’ll just need a tall glass, wedge of lemon and a straw.