Can You Use Tea Bags In Cold Water? (I Tried It: My Report)

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Want to brew tea using tea bags. But don’t want to use hot water? Then you are most likely thinking about using the cold water. Or maybe, you are just curious about the idea of using cold water for this purpose. But is it really possible? Can you use tea bags in cold water?

As a general rule, you can use tea bags in cold water to prepare your cup of tea. However, since no hot water will be used, the extraction of tea leaves will take time, and you will get a lighter tea with a less bitter and smooth taste.

Read on to learn about the use of tea bags in cold water, the best procedure for making a cold water tea, and more!

Hot Water Tea vs Cold Water Tea: Overview

Hot Water TeaCold Water Tea
Takes less timeTakes more time
Relatively more bitterRelatively less bitter
Relatively less smoothRelatively smoother
Tastes relatively less subtleTastes relatively more subtle

What Happens If You Put A Tea Bag In Cold Water?

The primary way of making tea in cold water and hot water is almost similar. In the cup of water, you dip the tea bag, let it steep (soak) for some time, and finally, enjoy sipping your cup of tea. Simple!

However, what makes the difference is the time it takes for the tea content present inside the tea bag to diffuse into the water. Usually, at higher temperatures, the particles tend to move faster. These faster movements allow faster diffusion as a result. But this is not the case in cold water.

Will Tea Steep In Cold Water?

Tea will steep in cold water because chemical reactions and the tea components’ diffusion in the water do happen even in cold water. However, you will observe less caffeine and astringency as the tea tannins won’t steep out just like they would in hot water.

The chemical reaction between the particles will continue, but the rate will be much slower.

So while brewing a hot water tea, you may expect it to be ready within a few minutes (roughly within 5 minutes). Whereas with cold water, you can roughly predict the timing to be a couple of hours (it can be from 2 hours to even up to 12 or 16 hours long).

How To Use Tea Bags In Cold Water

  • Here’s how you can use tea bags in cold water to make cold water tea:
  • First, take cold water and put it in a cup or pitcher (usually, as a rough guideline, for one teabag, you would require 200 ml/6.7 oz of water.)
  • Cover it and put it in a refrigerator
  • Leave it there for about 8-12 hours (you can choose to leave it overnight)
  • Enjoy your cup of cold water tea

Can You Put A Tea Bag In Room Temperature Water?

You can put tea bags in room temperature water, and you will still get to enjoy the tea. The main difference is the steeping process will take considerable time, but you will get a balanced and smooth-tasting tea in return.

When you decide to make cold water tea, you have basically two options. Either you can prepare chilled and icy cold tea. Or, you can brew the tea using the water at normal room temperature.

You can also try out the sun tea – brewing tea using the heat of the sun! Instead of using a refrigerator, you can simply put a cup of tea in the sun and let nature do its course.

Since the sun’s heat is present, the steeping time is drastically reduced from what you would expect in regular cold water tea. Therefore, you can expect your sun tea to be ready within two to three hours as a rule of thumb.

Is There Any Benefit of Drinking Cold Water Tea?

Yes, there are indeed many benefits of drinking cold water tea as follows:

  • The cold brew tea has relatively less caffeine content than the hot water.
  • In addition, tea made using the cold brew method maintains the greatest amount of antioxidant properties.
  • When tea is made using the cold brew method, it tastes less bitter than usual. So you would require less or probably no addition of additional sweeteners. This turns out to be a great benefit, especially if you are trying to manage sugar and calorie consumption.

Final Thoughts

If you don’t enjoy the process of making hot water tea, then cold water tea can be a good alternative.

You may not enjoy the traditional taste of hot water tea. But you will surely enjoy something a bit different, lighter and smoother.

However, be prepared to save some time beforehand if you plan to use tea bags in cold water. It will take hours until you can get the first sip of your tea. But, overall, it seems like an interesting idea and probably an experiment worth trying to taste something different than usual!