Staying hydrated is essential to a functioning body and mind, but not all of us love the taste of water alone. For a jazzed up glass of H20, without sugar or sweeteners, why not pop a cold infusion tea bag in your water bottle?
Twinings, Lipton and Teapigs all offer great options for home made iced tea, and in this article we've ranked our top 10 favourites on Asda, Tesco and Amazon to infuse water with fresh and fruity flavours. From green tea to strawberry lemonade, read our tips to help you choose tea bags that really make a splash!
Want a few tips on shopping for cold brew tea? This section has that very goal in mind. We'll help you think about how to get good value for money, which flavours you can choose from and whether teabag shape really makes a difference. Spoiler: it does!
Once upon a time, tea bags were rectangular and no one asked questions. Now there are a few different options, designed to improve the way the tea leaves infuse the water. Flavour takes a little longer to mix through cold water than boiling water, so keep this in mind while you shop.
When water is added to dried tea leaves, the solids preserved in the drying process begin to dissolve, infusing the water with flavour. In hot water this happens fast, since the water molecules are energised and move quickly.
However, in cold water, molecules move more slowly, so it takes a little longer for the tea leaf solids to break down. This means that, just as with hot tea, the shape of the tea bag has an effect on cold infusion.
The pyramid shaped teabag - sometimes referred to as a tea temple or infuser - allows more space for the tea leaves to move. This transfers flavour more effectively, even in cold water. In fact, pyramid tea bags infuse water almost as effectively as loose-leaf tea. They cost a few more pence on average, but if you can afford it, it's worth it for delicious, sugar free flavoured water!
Classic round and rectangular teabags are flat, rather than fully three-dimensional. This means the leaves inside have a little bit less room for manoeuvre. While in 2014 the UK advertising watchdog officially ruled that flat tea bags don't allow tea to infuse as effectively, they do have some key benefits.
The principal bonus of flat tea bags is that they are usually slightly more affordable than pyramids. Another potential appeal is that they sometimes come individually wrapped. While this isn't the best news for anyone keen to reduce the amount of packaging they rack up, it's super helpful if you want to pop a couple of teabags in your pocket or bag for an emergency cold-brew on the go!
Paper teabags use a light filter paper through which the flavour of the leaves can be diffused into your water jug or bottle gradually. They are cheap to make, which is ideal if you're on a budget, but the paper is so fine it may tear and disintegrate - not good if you plan to leave the bag in the bottle and refill it throughout the day.
Another potential drawback of paper teabags is the use of bleach to keep them white. Plus, any glue or staples used to hold them together, neither of which anyone really wants to discover in their glass of iced tea! To save you time, we've made sure that none of the products on our list contain bleach, staples or a glue sealant.
For a really effective infusion, particularly in cold water, we recommend muslin or cornstarch tea bags. The exceptionally fine fabric allows tea leaves to infuse water with an intensity similar to loose-leaf brewing, but with all the convenience of a tea bag.
Cold infusion tea bags made from muslin or cornstarch are much more durable than ones made of filter paper, so you can happily leave them in your bottle through a few re-fills without fear of them breaking and letting bitter tea leaves loose. The potential for multi-use alone, justifies the slightly higher price.
The flavours you choose all depends on how you want to feel. Different blends of fruits and florals will evoke different vibes, and also have varied health benefits. Choose peach or rose lemonade for a classic ice tea, or try watermelon, strawberry, passion fruit or mango to infuse your water bottle with the flavours of summer.
For a sharper flavour to lift spirits and aid concentration, consider adding a cold infusion tea bag flavoured with lemon, lime or mint to your glass of iced water. Cranberry teas are high in anti-oxidants, as is green tea, especially if you opt for Matcha.
To boost your metabolism, consider a tea that blends green tea leaves with hydrating, water-rich fruits like apple and watermelon. Vanilla adds sweetness and blends well with fruit, whereas lychee and mandarin offer complex, delicate flavours. The choice is yours!
It's important to check the number of teabags included in each pack, so you can see what you're getting in return for your cash.
If it's just for you, and you're happy to re-use a teabag throughout the day, between 7 and 12 bags is the perfect amount for a week or two of cold infusion treats. If you have kids who need incentives to drink more water, or you're planning on preparing a jug of iced tea to share, look for multi-packs with 15 or more teabags.
If you are concerned about the planet, paper tea bags are the way to go. They can be chucked onto your compost heap and will break down super easily, adding nutrients back into the soil. Muslin and cornstarch teabags are another story, although some brands will degrade in local authority composting.
Sadly, not only are many of us without access to large-scale composting sites, but the reality is that these materials simply do not degrade quickly enough to be of real benefit to the planet, taking around a decade to decompose. Any gardener with their own compost heap will tell you the same, so if the planet is more important to you than flavour, pick paper teabags.
Even if you've chosen paper teabags, check to see whether they're wrapped in foil. Foil wrapping improves taste by keeping the bags fresh, as tea is surprisingly susceptible to having its flavour tainted if it touches surfaces or is exposed to oxygen for too long. However, if you're worried about excessive packaging, a recyclable cardboard box will keep bags protected and avoids additional waste.
Now it's time to reveal our top ten favourite cold infusion teas. We've got sets and singles, with a wide range of flavours from household brands including Tetley, Lipton and Twinings. We hope you love our selections!
|Flavour||Lychee and rose|
|Number of Cups||10|
|Flavour||Mandarin and rosemary|
|Number of Cups||12|
|Flavour||Strawberry and watermelon|
|Number of Cups||20|
|Foil Wrapped||Yes - Foil lid|
|Flavour||Peach with green tea|
|Number of Cups||15|
|Flavour||Watermelon, apple and matcha|
|Number of Bags||12|
|Flavour||Matcha green tea|
|Number of Cups||7|
|Flavour||Lemon and mint|
|Number of Cups||20|
|Flavour||Passion fruit and mango|
|Number of Cups||12|
|Flavour||Green tea, mango and vanilla|
|Number of Cups||15|
|Flavour||Blueberry, apple and blackcurrant, Rose lemonade, Watermelon, strawberry and mint|
|Number of Cups||3 x 12 bags|
Cold In'Fuse Selection
Cold Brew Individual Real Iced Teabags
Cold Infusion Passionfruit & Mango Teabags
Cold Brew Ice Tea
Cold Brew Matcha Green Tea Infusion Pods
Cold Infuse Metabolism
Cold Brew Peach Flavour Teabags
Cranberry and Raspberry Flavour Instant Tea
Cold Infusion Clarity Teabags
Cold Brew Lychee & Rose Tea
Multi Pack of Fragrant, Fruit-Flavoured Teas
Add a Caffeine Pick-Me-up to Chilled Water
Fresh Chilled Tea With a Tropical Taste
Mint and Lemon Tea Leaves for a Refreshing Cold Brew
Boost Hydration and Support Healthy Weight Loss
Light-Tasting Cold Brew Tea to Boost Metabolism and Zinc Levels
Lipton's Classic Peach Ice Tea With None of the Calories
Instant Powder for a Refreshing Jug of Tea
Clarity and Calm With Added Vitamin C
Delicately Flavoured Biodegradable Tea Pyramids With Plastic-Free Packaging
|Material||Cornstarch||Filter paper||Filter paper||Paper||Cornstarch||Cornstarch||Cornstarch||-||Cornstarch||Cornstarch|
|Flavour||Blueberry, apple and blackcurrant, Rose lemonade, Watermelon, strawberry and mint||Green tea, mango and vanilla||Passion fruit and mango||Lemon and mint||Matcha green tea||Watermelon, apple and matcha||Peach with green tea||Strawberry and watermelon||Mandarin and rosemary||Lychee and rose|
|Number of Cups||3 x 12 bags||15||12||20||7||12||15||20||12||10|
|Foil Wrapped||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes - Foil lid||No||No|
For more ways to help get yourself and your family excited about H20, why not click the links below? We've included a few more top 10 countdowns of the best water bottles, filters and fruit squashes that will make drinking water a joyful part of your daily routine!
Cold infusion teabags make drinking your daily two litres a doddle. They provide an excellent sugar-free alternative to squashes and flavoured waters that allow even those bored by water to stay happily hydrated. We hope you've found an option that tickles your fancy!
Author: Annie Hopkins
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