Detoxifying Cold-Brewed Citrus Green Tea

Cold-brewing tea is my new obsession. I was surprised to learn that you don’t need hot water to brew tea, you just need time. Add 1 teaspoon of tea to a cup of water, stick it in the fridge and wait a few hours. You’ll have fully brewed tea with all the gorgeous tea flavors and none of the tannins (the bitter compounds that make your cheeks pucker when drinking tea or red wine). Plus, as the video at the bottom of this page shows, cold-brewed tea has way more antioxidants than hot tea. Go figure.

This beverage is a combination of cold-brewed green tea and a detoxing citrus drink inspired by @FullyRawKristina. You simply add sliced citrus fruits, green tea, and herbs to a large pitcher of filtered water and let time do all the work. In the morning, you can forget about coffee. You’ll have a delicious, refreshing, inspiring beverage that flushes out toxins and helps build energy to start your day on the right foot.

Citrus Green Tea


Citrus Green Tea Ingredients

Step One

Slice 1 orange, 2 lemons, and 2 limes. Wash and tear up a small handful of mint and basil leaves (not too many or it will become bitter). Measure 4 teaspoons of green tea*. Add all these ingredients to a large pitcher with 6 cups of water. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

* If you don’t have loose-leaf tea, you can use 3 green tea teabags instead. Also, if you look closely, you’ll see that I’m actually not using green tea. I made my version with a Ti Quan Yin oolong tea which is like halfway between green and black tea. You don’t have to use green, feel free to experiment with any of your favorite tea varieties in this recipe.

Step Two

After everything has had a few hours to mingle, the tea is ready to drink. The exciting part is that you can simply refill this pitcher with fresh water to make a new batch. The tea will rebrew several times and the citrus still has plenty of flavor left. I like to drink half the pitcher and top off with more water. You can get about 2-3 refills before it becomes too weak/bitter and you’ll need to make a new batch.

Video: Antioxidants in Cold-Steeped Green Tea

Dr. Greger’s website, is one of the greatest health resources online. He publishes daily videos that highlight scientific research and I have learned so much about health and nutrition from his work. This was the video that first got me thinking about cold-brewing tea:

Citrus Green Tea


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  1. Wow, I had no idea you could do that. My dad loves tea and trying out different flavors and mixing them. I think he would love to know this tip!

  2. Great info. I did not know this. I drink green tea all day long and sometimes wait for it to turn cold for more of a refreshing drink. I can’t wait to start some cold-brewing now.

      • Ultimate drink !
        Cold club Soda and Green Tea with moroccon Mint (Twinnings) Tea Bags

        Toss in the Tea bag into a nice glass (maybe a wine goblet) place a heavy spoon on the bag to hold it down. Pour in the cold club Soda. Wait, and if the glass is closeby, mint fragrance will waft via the sods bubbles. Use the Spoon to gently press the Tea bag so that it release more flavour and air too, do this about 5 times ! Drink !

  3. What’s the best way to pour out of the pitcher that has loose leaf tea? How do you always prevent the tea particles entering your glass?

    • Well, the tea ‘particles’ are whole leaves so it isn’t a huge deal. Most of them get stuck under the citrus slices, or stay in the pitcher. But if you have problems with that, simply pour it through a strainer into the glasses.

  4. I made a batch of this yesterday and I’m enjoying it right now. Delicious. Do you think it could be made with herbal teas like sage or nettle as well?

    • Perfect! I suspect it would work really well with herbals as well… and there’s only one way to find out! 🙂

  5. It’s really cold now.. But will save this recipe for summers! Me and my mom are green tea lovers! Mom loves it cold better! Thanks to you! I think she’s gonna enjoy the flavours in your recipe. The pictures on your page are really lovely, btw 🙂

  6. This sounds fantastic!! Just made a batch!
    Does it help you lose weight? I have heard green tea help boost your metabolism, but does it REALLY work?

    • Hi Kaia! I can’t speak to that, specifically… I think a healthy diet with plenty of physical activity is probably much more effective, but green tea is really, really good for you in many ways. It may boots metabolism as well.

  7. If I brew the tea cold using green tea bags would I leave the bags in the jar the entire time and refill with water to rebrew? I love this idea

  8. Can I make a couple gallons of cold brewed tea on Sunday and then drink it throughout the week, or does it lose nutritive value or become unsafe after a day?

    • Hey Alex, I don’t think brewed tea loses any nutrients over the first few days… It should keep for a while in the fridge (just remove the fresh fruit and herbs after a day or two)

  9. i just started cold brewing (or “cold steeping” as the video calls it) my green tea and felt compelled to google if it’s healthy, and was lead directly to this blog post. I didn’t expect to find a study published by Elsevier, so thank you for the video referencing this study. But according to the study and video, green tea doesn’t make a difference if it’s cold or hot brewed…but black, oolong and white are much better cold brewed apparently. i wish i could get marriage proposals making a great post, thanks

  10. I read the recipe went out to buy fresh fruit and a safe pitcher-bph free-
    to make this in.Drinking my first glass this am,soo refreshing!
    just one question-if I want a hot cup of tea,will this affect the antioxidant,by heating?

      • Dr Jason Fung recommends to preserve catechins (bioflavinoid antioxidants), avoid heat over 170 degrees. Now they make Pique tea to go with fasting regimens. Excited to try your recipe – thanks!

  11. I have many Chinese clients and get given Chinese tea often can I assume it’s always the same green tea are there different types and are they all so healthy?? They all seem to have a bitter taste

    • No there are many different types of Chinese green teas, and bitterness tends to be the result of incorrect brewing. Generally 175º F water for 45-60 seconds is the sweet spot.

  12. No tannins?
    I don’t think so.
    It naturally leaches out of organic matter left to soak, you may get less tannins with a cold brew.

  13. We drink a LOT of tea. Can I used a large jar to make my tea and then add to a large pitcher with water? It seems that would be the best way to have a gallon brewing all the time – brew in a large mason jar and transfer to the gallon pitcher as needed and add water.

  14. Hello! I’d like to know if it is important to put the tea into the fridge to brew, or if it can all be done at room temperature (or little more than normal room temperature)? It’s hot in Sri Lanka and I have no fridge. Thank you and blessings.

    • No, but I wouldn’t want to leave the fresh fruit at room temperature for too long, you might better off brewing the tea alone at room temperature and moving to the fridge when adding the citrus and everything else.

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