How to Make Delicious Unsweetened Iced Tea


My last post, a review of the Sugar Coated documentary, emphasized that demonizing sugar is not going to solve our obesity and health problems.

But, drinking sugar-laden beverages (slurpees, frappuccinos, pop, fruit cocktail …) to quench our thirst all summer is not the answer either. Of course, enjoying these beverages on occasion is perfectly acceptable — but not everyday!

As plain water can get pretty boring, unsweetened iced-tea is a perfect go-to summer beverage! There are so many awesome flavours to choose from.  Plus, it is so easy and inexpensive to make!

How to make unsweetened iced tea

iced tea

All you need is some loose leaf tea/tisane, a pitcher with a snug-ish lid and a Nut Milk Bag (or a piece of  cheese cloth). Or, if you want to be fancy you can buy a pitcher designed for making iced tea, like this: Takeya Tea Maker. (You could also use plain ol’ tea bags of course, but I prefer loose leaf tea.)

I love many of DAVIDsTEAs as iced tea. I was very excited that they just launched their summer tea collection, which has some great “Teas to Ice.”

My favourites so far are Hot Tropic (steeped with ~3/4 tbsp per cup freeze dried ginger!), Midsummer Night’s Dream and Honey, I Dew. I also really love Strawberry Lemonade and Strawberry Cream iced tea from Teavanna.

Iced tea — Overnight steep

If you are using a tisane or herbal tea, I prefer an overnight, cold steep because it is so simple. Just fill your pitcher with water and add the desired amount of tea to your nut milk bag (use the same amount per cup as you normally would). Then place the nut milk bag in the pitcher and fold the opening over the top of the pitcher.

Secure the bag in place with the pitcher lid (or an elastic if the lid isn’t snug enough). Place it in the fridge and steep over night! Remove the tea leaves in the morning.

iced tea pitcher

Iced tea — Fast

Doing an overnight, cold steep with green, white or black tea can result in a bitter taste. Although, I have done it with some teas and I haven’t noticed a huge difference.

But, I recommend making these types of ice teas with hot water as you normally would (I use a little extra tea leaves) if you plan to refrigerate the tea to cool it.

Or, if you plan to drink the tea right away, brew it about 1.5-2 times as strong as normal. After it has steeped, pour the hot brewed tea over ice. (The ice melts to dilute the stronger tea.)


sugar-free iced tea

If a tea’s brewing instructions give a range of time for steeping, go with the longer time. Cool hot tea before refrigerating it to prevent the tea from going cloudy.

Lastly, make sure you always follow each tea’s brewing instructions (including water temperature, especially for caffeinated teas), as this can have a big effect on flavour. Also, if you want to brew a stronger tea, add more leaves vs steeping the tea for longer for optimal flavour.

Fun additions to iced tea:

  • Fresh herbs: I love mint or try adding freeze dried ginger (if it goes with the flavour)!
  • Frozen fruit: grapes and watermelon ice cubes are my favourite
  • Liquor: iced tea can make for a great, low calorie mix for cocktails
  • Citrus rounds: grapefruit is delicous


10 Comments || How to Make Delicious Unsweetened Iced Tea

    • Hi Caroline, Thank you! No I have not tried it. It sounds great though! Thanks for reading :)

  1. I’m in love with unsweetened iced tea. It’s hard to find in Canada but whenever I’m in the U.S. that’s all I order at restaurants. You’ve inspired me to make a batch this weekend! Thanks.

    • Awesome Jennifer! Yes, I wish more restaurants in Canada had it. Enjoy your tea :)

  2. We live off of ice tea in this household. I usually through it in a big jar, seal it and then put it in the sun for several hours to brew making “sun tea”. I honestly don’t know where that name came from lol I may be making a trip to David’s Tea this weekend, thank you!

    • I love that — “sun tea”! So great. Have a fun visit to David’s, I spend way too much time there! :)

  3. Thanks for this rundown – love your cold brew method. I typically use my lazy method (leave a Mason jar full of filtered water with a couple of tea bags outside to steep) but I may try it!

    • Thanks for reading Sarah! I think my cold brew method could also be called my “lazy” method. It is so easy! I am so addicted to putting ginger in there now too. It is the best.

  4. This is such a great post! I never add sugar to my ice tea & find it deliciously refreshing. If you like Midsummer Nights Dream you must try Magic Dragon sooo good :)

    • I actually just tried Magic Dragon yesterday Meaghan! It was fantastic. I will have to buy some. Thanks for reading!

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