How to Make a Pitcher of Iced Tea

How to Make a Pitcher of Iced Tea

As all of my family gathers at my grandmother’s house for any gathering, my cousin adds the final touch by preparing…(drumroll please)...sweet tea and lemonade!  Now, my family traditionally prepares prebagged tea and sweetens it with sugar, which is the most glorious beverage to add to a cup at a gathering. I have tried time and time again to prepare a full pitcher of sweet tea to no avail. Most times I totally burn the tea and make it way to strong for my liking. Each time this has happened, I just give up until I feel like trying again (which has only been like two or three times during my adult life). 

So, as Mother’s Day quickly approaches, I became quite determined to learn how to make a large quantity of any type of tea. 

And guess what?!?!?!

How to Make a Pitcher of Iced Tea

I figured it out! There are two ways to make a large batch of sweet tea using loose leaf tea. 

  1. Cold Brew
  2. Stovetop Method

Cold Brew

Cold brewing tea is when you add the loose leaf tea to water and steep it in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. The length of time depends on the type of tea you are preparing. If you want to prepare a large quantity of tea (eight cups or so), simply follow the cold brew method and double the ingredients, but keep the steep time the same, and voila! You will have enough to fill a ten-cup pitcher which is perfect for sharing with your kids, family, or mom-friends during a backyard Mother’s Day brunch, or whenever. 


Stovetop Method 

The stovetop method requires a bit more attention, is still quite simple to use, and takes way less steeping time to finish. With this method, you will be able to enjoy your tea within 10 minutes or less (just know it will be warm). For the stovetop method, you will need loose leaf tea, an open-faced pot, wooden spoon, 10 cup pitcher (or larger), granulated sugar (I actually use turbinado), and water. 

The steps for this are very easy to follow. 

  1. Make a tea concentrate
  2. Add sweetener
  3. Pour into a pitcher
  4. Refrigerate 
  5. Enjoy 


4 tablespoons of loose leaf tea

1- 1½ cup of sugar

8 cups of water divided

Any garnish you like (lemon, mint leaves, berries, etc.)


1. Bring four cups of water to the approximate temperature on the package
2. Remove from heat and add loose leaf tea (no need to bag it or jam it into the steeper)

3. Steep for the amount of time indicated on the package 

Stovetop Method Steeping Times for Loose Leaf Tea

4. Strain leaves and pour tea into the desired pitcher
5. Stir in 1 cup of sugar until dissolved
6. Add 4 cups of water to the tea concentrate.
7. Taste and add more sugar if needed. If the tea is too strong, add an additional ½ cup of water.
    8. Let tea sit until at room temperature. Then refrigerate until cool (3+ hours)
      9. Add ice, any garnish if you desire, and enjoy!

        Tip:  When preparing sweetened tea, you may want it to be slightly sweeter than normal if you are going to add ice to your tea. The additional water from the ice will make it less sweet. 

        Making a large amount of tea is perfect if you are making it to share with family, friends, or even yourself. I love to have a pitcher of tea in the refrigerator for my family to enjoy as tea is a much healthier choice than some juices, kool-aid, soda, etc. 

        You are now on your way and will have the perfect pitcher of tea for your home. Be sure to let me know how it turns out for you and tag @motheringtea on Instagram or Facebook so we can see what you are brewing up. 

        If you are having a small socially distanced gathering, I recommend you check out the Mother's Day Brunch Kit which includes  the two Mother's Day blends (enough loose leaf tea for two pitchers of each blend), party favors for your guests, and a free downloadable recipe book.

        Happy Early Mother's Day and Happy Steeping!!

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        1 comment

        I’ve never made iced tea this way, but I’ll have to try it out this summer! I usually just make some tea, put in the fridge for a few hours then pour it over ice.


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