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In a world obsessed with coffee, tea connoiseurs can feel left out in the cold. Iced tea requires an infusion of hot liquid at just the right temperature for just the right time before chilling, or it can be cold-brewed, but it’s far more complex than sticking a bag in some water. The best iced tea makers offer quality filters for everything from delicate sencha to smoky Lapsang souchong, or make it easy to keep your pitcher filled with enough Southern sweet tea for a day’s worth of summer sun. Here are our favorites.
This single-serve 16-ounce tumbler made of strong BPA-free plastic is similar to a French press, with an inner chamber you remove while brewing. Steep your loose leaf tea of choice in hot water filled to a clearly marked line in the tumbler, and when it’s ready add ice to the inner chamber and press it through your infusion. You can even add fruit or spices for a custom treat. The flip-top lid makes it easy to sip without spilling.
If you love to have a pitcher of ice-cold tea at your elbow on the back patio or at the ready after a workout, this no-fuss tea making machine is a one-stop solution. You can’t control the temperature the machine heats the water, so it’s best used for traditional black teas and simplest when used with tea bags, though you can use loose leaf tea with a filter. Throw your Earl Grey or Orange Pekoe bags into the brew basket, add water, fill your pitcher with ice, and push the start button. The machine shuts off when through, unlike your tea kettle.
If you like to experiment with different types of tea and prefer whole leaf infusions, the fine mesh filter of this sleek model is a great choice. The pitcher’s body is made from BPA-free plastic, and the lid is designed to prevent leaks when the pitcher is shaken, or even stored on its side in a crowded fridge. Add your leaves to the filter, fill halfway with water heated to the perfect temperature for the delicacy of your tea, and steep. Then take out the infuser, add ice, and shake the mixture to flash-chill your beverage with a minimum of melting.
Let’s face it, most iced-tea packaging isn’t nearly as classy and refined as a shapely wine bottle. This eye-catching glass cold brew bottle looks so beautiful you might forget about wine altogether when thinking of all the ways you can turn tea drinking into an art. A filter basket is cleverly built-into the silicone top to separate out the leaves when you pour, so all you have to do is add tea leaves and water to the bottle and let time do the rest. Fresh fruit, herbs, and botanicals like chrysanthemum and chamomile can turn any brew into a delightful elixir.