What Is Tea Concentrate, And Can It Be Made At Home?

If you're hosting friends for a get-together and need to have a lot of tea ready for a crowd, then you need to be making tea concentrate. Tea concentrate is an extra strong batch of tea that is prepared ahead of time, and added to warm or cool water later on when serving. Typically, the concentrate is twice as strong as your usual cup of tea.

Tea concentrates are a favorite of busy cafes like Starbucks, which use concentrates for most of their teas (and lemonades) so that they can prepare them ahead of time. This saves employees the hassle of making tea fresh for every order. Instead, they just add the concentrate to water to dilute the flavor.

If you like drinking tea, but hate the hassle of cleaning out spent tea leaves every time, or just want a quick iced tea any time of the day, then making a tea concentrate is a great habit to start.

How to make tea concentrates

Popular tea brands like Tazo Tea make their own concentrate for sale, but making your own at home is as easy as making any other cup of tea. This process of making a tea concentrate works for any kind of tea, whether it's black, green, or herbal. The primary difference is in the ratio of tea to water because you want to concentrate the flavors into the appropriate amount of liquid.

Using roughly two to three times the amount of tea you normally would is a good starting point for your concentrate. Just boil the water and steep the tea and transfer the filtered tea to a jar or other sealable container to cool. Your concentrate will be good for up to 5 days if kept sealed tight and in the refrigerator. 

When you're ready to serve, just add one part concentrate to one part cold or boiling water. Depending on the strength of your concentrate, this might be too much, but it's a good starting point until you find your preferred balance. If you prefer your tea stronger, just increase the tea ratio by a teaspoon at a time until you're happy.

Tea concentrate works well in cocktails

Tea concentrate is obviously great to help quickly satisfy a craving for tea, but it is also great for making tea cocktails.

Teas make a great cocktail ingredient because they have a naturally complex flavor and there are a wide variety of teas to choose from. They also give you tons of room to play around with different combinations of flavors, making them extremely versatile. Using a tea concentrate for cocktails allows you to add tons of flavor without diluting your drink too much.

Strong and bright fruit tea flavors also work well as the base for flavored syrups. Just heat them over a low temperature with sugar until melted and you've got a sweet, flavored syrup to add to any drink or cocktail. The bottom line: Brew a plethora of different tea concentrates and they'll take you from your morning cuppa to cocktail hour with ease.