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Cloudy Tea Made Clear

By Cook's Illustrated Published July 2016

We recently came across a different approach for producing clear tea. Here's how to do it.

In the past, we’ve found that cold-brewing iced tea is an effective way to avoid cloudiness, which is caused by caffeine and tannins bonding with each other and precipitating out of the solution when the hot tea is then chilled. We recently came across a different approach for producing clear tea: Brew the tea the traditional way with hot water and then chill it. Before serving, add boiling water to the chilled tea to break the bonds between the tannins and caffeine. The key, we found, is to add enough water: Most online sources call for only a splash, but we found that we needed a full ¼ cup of boiling water per cup of cloudy tea to make it clear again. To allow for the dilution, we simply brewed extra-strong tea, upping the standard 5 tea bags called for per quart of water to 8.

Here’s how: Steep 8 tea bags in 4 cups hot water for 5 minutes. Refrigerate tea until thoroughly chilled. Add 1 cup boiling water to chilled tea and stir, then pour over ice and serve. (Note that rechilling the tea will cause cloudiness.)